As a college student, I am not ashamed of the amount of Cup Ramen I ingest on a regular basis. As a human being, I am.
The amount of MSG in each cup doesn’t help either.
In any case, Japan has produced a wide assortment of famous inventions in the last fifty years. Cup Ramen happens to be one of them.
But I feel like I need to give some sort of a set up.
Relationships are all about equality of responsibility. The form of sharing of responsibility I am talking about today is the responsibility of planning dates.
People have this annoying attribute called “expectations.”
And I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to plan a date in Japan for your boyfriend, who is Japanese. It usually ends up about the same as when he tried to plan dates for us in America, meaning not very well. If you were raised in a country, you are hands down MUCH better at navigating said country than a visitor. Like me.
Most of the places I find come straight off of Google, when I type in the city name + “Things to do”
(Sorry honey, it’s true. I’m really not good at these things)
For instance, last weekend when Ryosuke came to visit, I decided we should go to Yokohama (long story). According to Google, Yokohama has a variety of wonderful things like Chinatown, Red Brick Warehouse, a pretty boat, and the Cup Ramen Museum.
The highlight of the trip, of course, was either the incredibly cheap food we got in Chinatown or the Cup Ramen Museum.
Actually, it was definitely the Cup Ramen Museum.
1. Go there early, buy an entrance ticket, and reserve a spot to make your own Cup Ramen.
Yup. That’s right. You get to make your own flavor of Cup Ramen, something I’ve got to imagine is every college student’s dream. However, the tickets sell out incredibly fast – you have reserve a spot early in advance. When we got to Yokohama at around 1:00PM, we went to the Ramen Museum first, and the only tickets that were left were for 4:30PM and 5:00PM. We bought tickets for the 4:30PM group; twenty minutes later everything was sold out.
2. Waste time until it’s time for you to make your Cup Ramen.
I’m not a particularly good guide. The museum is incredibly well run, but all I could think about was my personal ramen.
So first things first, we went to Chinatown. It was lovely, There is a whole other blog post in there (that might get written, depending on how bored I get this break).
3. Look through the Museum.
All of the action happens on the second floor.
The first exhibit is the “history” of Ramen. The oldest is in 1958. While kind of odd looking, I would totally eat them all.
Not sure how long it would take to go through the whole exhibit. I would try that. It was impressive.
Other highlights included the statue of the man who invented Ramen.
And then they had a wall of famous men and women cardboard cutout figures standing behind the Cup Noodle model. As unhealthy as Ramen is, it was rather inspiring.
And they had several rooms that played with dimensions. I’m not actually that tall (I wish I was). I want to take my sister into this room, have her stand on the other side, and FINALLY BE TALLER.
Don’t judge me.
They also had a (fake) hut with old-style ramen.
The ramen looked rather authentic.
They also had a room where you can tap machines and have shadowed versions of them come to life. It was super popular against children, and adults who act like children. Ryosuke loved it.
In the next room, they had a sculpture of ramen (hanging from the ceiling)
That had words hidden inside. I found the word creative.
There were hundreds of other quirky things, including a short fifteen minute movie about the history in Japanese, a graph of ramen consumption based on country, and lots of inspirational quotes and stories. We only got to spend about half an hour in the museum before our Cup Ramen making event.
4. Make your own, personal cup of Ramen.
This was BY FAR, the best part. To make it even better, I made some suggestions, though.
A. Pay attention to the time.
We got a ticket for 17:00 – 17:30. The lines start at exactly 17:00, so try to get there either a couple minutes early or about ten minutes late.
I am late, as always. It happens. We just had to wait in line for a bit.
B. Give your ticket to the attendant and wait in line.
When you’re waiting in line, you get to watch all the happy people decorating their cups. Try not to get insanely jealous. It’s hard.
C. Pay 300 yen for a cup and then wash your hands.
You can technically buy as many, or as few, cups as you would like. I wanted to buy an extra cup to bring home for Christmas… but I have doubts to exactly what passes through US customs these days. So Ryosuke and I each bought our own.
The also make you wash your hands, then cover them with disinfectant. They really aren’t taking any chances.
D. Chose a table. Or, more specifically, have a table assigned to you. Workers are standing throughout the ground floor with fingers raised for each empty seat. They user you over, sit you down, and explain how to decorate.
E. Decorate the cup. I did mine “How I Met Your Mother” (a TV show) themed. I’m just that weird.
It shows Ryosuke and I holding hands with Barney Stinson, with Barney’s signature phrase.
Ryosuke’s cup was more of a USA themed. Actually, I don’t know if it had a theme. It was pretty darn cute. I was holding an American flag; Ryosuke was holding a Japanese flag.
F. Take your cup up to the counter. Wait in line. They had several lines. We chose the line with the most friendly looking servers.
G. Choose your flavors. They give each group a flyer so you can pick out ahead of time. You get to pick one flavor powder (Curry, Chili Tomato, Seafood, Original) and four of the twelve “additional” ingredients.
I chose Curry powder with Corn, Garlic Chips, Hyoko (the little chicken that is the theme of the museum), and green onions.
H. Watch as they put a cover on, and then shrink wrap, the ramen cup. Aside from my little doodles on the side, it looked like an authentic, factory made cup of ramen. I guess it kind of was.
Then they covered the cup with plastic and stuck it in a mini oven.
J. Put your personal Ramen Cup in its protective bubble and proudly wear it around your neck.
You put it in a plastic bag, pump it up, and wrap a string around it.
Ryosuke and I took turns punching the covered ramen cups. They were indestructible. It was very cleverly done.
When you want to eat it, just cut the plastic. The ramen has an expiration date of exactly one month after its creation…
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