15 generations…

Day 697:

A new ramen shop, Jyugodaime Tetsu-men (十五代目 哲麺), opened in Higashi-Matsubara near Bassanova. You know what that means…competition!!

Uuuh…nvmd. 十五代目 means 15 generations of handing down this ramen, but they should have stopped at maybe 1. Aside from being cheap, there’s no competition here.

Basa is 1000x better.

Chili dog agrees.

Now this…is love.


Now this is homemade chili. Yeah man, you better watch out with what I do with this.

Thanks Laris for the recipe! With the available ingredients, this is the best I could do…

Exact change…

Day 696:

“For those that pay with a 10,000 yen note or 5,000 yen note, I DON’T HAVE ANY CHANGE!”

We all love Jake-san. Recently, his tiny little shop has been featured on ads in the Keio line trains and things seemed to have gotten crazy busy.

But it’s cool…we VIP!

And Jake-san finally realized that we give him a free egg when he comes to basa so today he gave me a free egg in return. Or did he?…hmm.

He is a clever man. But aren’t we all?

The ramen you see above looks like all the others, but it’s new…and it’s good. And there are only two bowls left.

Lost in the bush…

Day 695:

The assistant has never been to Kusamura aka The Bush. But that all changes today.

For I introduced her to Mr. Bush himself. The real Mr. Bush (Dick would be working the night shift). Anyway, the old man is a classic ramen chef, grunts and all.

And his ramen can only be described as good. Good for your appetite, good for your love, and good for your soul.

The gyoza are good too but the ramen is what makes magic happen.

Speaking of magic…


Night pic…

Day 694:

With the weather cooling somen is getting out of style, but it’s easy and good.

Just like this microwave guratan (gratin).

And they both taste better with this wasabi salt I picked up in Izu.

Anyway, off to the night pic!

Oops, I got distracted on the way.

I didn’t take any pics of this night pic-nic, but if you live in Tokyo and want to meet new people there’s a gathering almost every Tuesday night in Yoyogi park.

The pic-nic is fun, but I always look forward to the after pic.


Why does this feel like so long ago?


Day 693:

The only thing better than waking up to this…is waking up and jumping into this.

Yo Paul, you need to bring Sarah to one of these!

Breakfast was…


But all good things come to an end to get replaced by other good things.

We had a pretty tight schedule to follow and I spent over an hour trying to figure out how to fit a ramen shop in on our way home. When we arrived in Atami I had about 20 min to spare so I ran to Amakara Honpo (雨風本舗) and downed a bowl in 5.

The shop was small with only 7 I’m-almost-sitting-on-the-next-guys-lap seats and the master was hard at work cranking out bowl after bowl.

The Shoyu Ramen was dark, deep, and effing good. Just the way I like it.

I couldn’t confirm if the noodles were homemade but they sure tasted like it. There’s gotta be some Shirakawa roots here.

Anyway, we made it back to Tokyo just in time. いいね!Can you believe this billboard in Ginza? (fyi, the likes are supposed to represent what the girls are wearing and not the actual girls.)

Dinner with the president! Kumamoto-style!


The chicken wings and satsuma-age were my fave.

And you know we had to close things off with noodles.

As always, thank you mister president.

Onsen in Izukogen…

Day 692:

Without a typhoon in sight, the assistant and I headed back to Izu for a day at the onsen. But first we needed to fuel up.


Then we got to ride on the coolest train ever.

But I still couldn’t figure out why everyone was taking my picture.

Haha, jk. Doraemon train!!

Four hours later we finally made it to Izukogen and our ryokan was only a short taxi ride away.

At check-in, we were greeted with some fresh green tea.

And then…we melted.

I cannot walk in these.

For dinner there was a 14-course meal awaiting.

Here are some of the highlights.

Time for bed.

Scratch that…time to get drunk in the hot tub onsen!

Sengoku she…

Day 691:

The lunch shift was chill today. I even had time to eat before I opened.

And look what I found at Family Mart. Cup Gunpla!! I know you want one!

Sen goku shi!!

Here’s a few of the things that the assistant missed while in France.

Mabo Ramen!

Aside from some dude at the next table passing out and getting a concussion, this was a great reunion.

As always, thanks mum!

Dai Tsukemen Haku 2011 Pre-Stage…

Day 690:

Ahh the memories… It seems like only yesterday that I was working at this event. Anyway, Tsukehaku is back! And it’s opening day!!

The “Pre-Stage” features brand new tsukemen from 8 popular shops. No, I’m not gonna try all eight…at least not today.

Hiroshi, the tsukemen beast, joined me on this historic day. For there was only one “dream collabo tsukemen” that we were after.

But why come for just one bowl? I think we can do at least two.

For the record, this was the shortest line.

Houkiboshi (ほうきぼし) is a relative newcomer to the ramen scene. Known for their Tantanmen, the most famous thing about Houkiboshi is….

…the 18-year-old female manager. Yeah dudes, stop drooling. Anyway, I’m not sure how much of the management she actually does, but Houkiboshi seems to have got our attention.

And the Tantan Tsukemen wasn’t bad either.

In fact, it’s spiciness was just right and the handmade noodles were mochee-mochee.

Alright, enough stalling. Let’s get down to business.

The real reason we came was because of this Ganja X Rokurinsha X Tomita (頑者X六厘舎Xとみ田) collaboration–A Dream Tsukemen Collabo!

Wait a minute…3 hour wait?!!

la di da di daa…

hum ho hummm… Look! It’s Ohashi-san, Mita-san, and Tomita-san!

Almost there!

After waiting 3 hours you bet I’m paying an extra 300yen for all the toppings.

Let the dream collabo begin.

The noodles are from Ganja. Firm, crisp, slippery and slurpable.

The shrimp wonton was a welcome surprise.

The egg was average, but after 3 hours it hit the spot.

The dream collabo did not disappoint. Although I may not wait 3 hours to try it again, it was definitely worth it.

Tsukehaku lasts until 10/16 with new participants interchanging weekly. If you like tsukemen, then you should definitely go.

Zero plus…

Day 688:

The typhoon was long gone, but what started out as a lovely day suddenly became another wet one. So we headed for the hills.

Wa..what happened to Mist? Ramen Zero Plus? Plus what? Apparently, Mist had shut down earlier this year and Ramen Zero Plus (ラーメンゼロ PLUS) swooped in and opened in April.

While still blending in with the uber-fashionable Omotesando Hills, Ramen Zero Plus makes you feel a little less uptight.

The assistant ordered the tsukemen.

And really seemed to enjoy it.

I ordered the PLUS Deluxe. Okay so let me explain what the plus is all about. If you recall, the original Ramen Zero is located in Meguro and they specialize in a ramen without tare (a necessary part of most ramen). You can still get that Zero ramen here, but the main attraction is this ramen PLUS shoyu tare.

True to its name, this ramen was a huge PLUS! HUGE PLUS!

The curry was good too.

Maejima-san, thank you!

And then…

It was time for some chicken and beer. Thanks heller!

And somehow we decided to hit the slopes.

What happens in Shinjuku Alps, stays in Shinjuku Alps…

Typhoon 15…

Day 687:

2 days ago…
assistant: when should we go to the onsen in Izu?
me: wednesday!
assistant: but there’s a typhoon coming that day.
me: yeah, but it’ll arrive in the afternoon and as long as we cant get to Izu before the trains stop we’ll be fine.
assistant: are u sure?
me: yeahhh. it’s moving fast too so by evening we’ll be able to just chill in the onsen all night. don’t worry…

Boy…was I wrong…

An hour into the journey, our train was delayed in Chigasaki, barely halfway to where we were trying to go. This typhoon wasn’t playing around. But as we debated whether to cancel our reservation at the onsen and head back to Tokyo, the train to Tokyo had arrived.

assistant: what do you want to do?
me: hmm…i still think we should try to make it.
assistant: but it’s getting bad. we’re not gonna make it. the onsen says we can change our reservation so let’s just go back.
me: okay, maybe your right. let’s go home then.

So we got on the train back to Tokyo, but we only made it one station to Tsujido before this train got stopped too. And then the assistant realized….

assistant: where’s your backpack?
me: “F***!! I left it on the last train!!! F***! F***! F***!
assistant: ….

Since all trains were now stopped, Tsujido station was a chaotic mess of people trying to get home. But luckily the train we were on before was still stopped in Chigasaki and the awesome station staff was able to locate my backpack (that contained my computer, my hard drive, and all my ramen recipes!). Only, we just needed to find a way to get back to Chigasaki so I could claim it.

Fortunately, there was a bus that could take us back. AND my backpack was back on my back. Whew, what a relief!

While the typhoon was raging outside, being stuck in Chigasaki didn’t seem so bad.

But then it started to get crazy. And we decided to see what we could do to make it back to Tokyo.

At the time, there was a train from Chigasaki to Ebina that was still running and apparently the Odakyu line from Ebina to Shinjuku was also still running. But…when we made it to Ebina the Odakyu line had stopped. So now–along with countless others–we were stuck in Ebina (of all places) waiting for the typhoon to pass.

Well, I guess there’s only one thing to do.

Go Ramen!!

Comforting, but nothing like the original in Hokkaido.

What up Maruyama-san!

After a few hours, the Odakyu line was back up and running EXCEPT between Atsugi and Sagamiono because of a tree that fell on the tracks. And of course Ebina is between those two stations. So rather than wait, I thought we could take the Sotetsu line to Yamato, then hop on the Odakyu-Enoshima line to Sagamiono and head straight home to Shinjuku. But when we got to Yamato it looked like this…

The train at Yamato never moved because of something on the tracks between Yamato and Sagamiono, so we got back on the Sotetsu line and headed to Yokohama. From Yokohama we took the local Tokyu Toyoko line to Shibuya (stopping for 5 min at every station…dam that took forever). When we finally did get to Shibuya, the scene to get on the Keio-Inokashira line looked like this…

So we decided to take the bus. And when the bus finally came, we took it to Nakano-Sakue, transferred to the Marunouchi Subway line and headed for Honancho.

Exactly 10 hours from when we got stuck in Chigasaki, we were finally back home. What a lovely day! Thankfully, this little ticket helped us get back home for free. I don’t think we were supposed to use it to get all the way back to Tokyo, but whenever we flashed it to the station attendant or bus driver, they let us ride for free. So the next time you get stuck in a typhoon and you see people handing these out…GRAB ONE!

It’s good to be home.

Japan is an amazing country. When the trains stopped, there were hundreds of people stranded but everyone remained orderly. Sure there were those that got angry and frustrated, but nothing ever escalated beyond the stares of others glaring “who does this guy think he is.” Everyone that had a job to do continued to do that job until the end. Many were stressed, but nothing ever stopped aside from the trains. A big THANK YOU to all those station attendants, train and bus drivers, restaurant staff, and everyone else who continued their jobs to make this country great.