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Tokyo Ramen Show 2017

The other day I was browsing the internet for something to do today and the internet rewarded me with the knowledge that there was going to be a Tokyo Ramen Show where visitors could go and, you guessed it, eat ramen from all over Japan. Since my blog is aptly titled "Rice and Ramen" it had to be some sort of cosmic destiny. So of course I went.

The Ramen Show was held in the Komazawa Olympic Park, which was used for the 1964 Summer Olympics. It was a charming place, full of open spaces where people were lounging or picnicking with their kids (Tokyo had 16 days of rain in a row and today was a rare sunny day so it didn't surprise me that so many people were out and about) or playing sports.

The Ramen Show was set up in the park's main plaza:

Altogether there were 18 different varieties of ramen you could try. There were also booths selling ramen-related products (or even just really classy-looking instant ramen) and a performance stage where, apparently, some sort of idol group called "Chubbiness" was scheduled to perform. Don't ask me why they're called "Chubbiness," because I have no idea...I would have loved to see them perform but, alas, they were scheduled to come on in the evening and, as curious as I was, I wasn't going to stick around that long.

To get the ramen of your choice you first bought a ramen ticket which, at 850 yen, is a bit steep for a bowl of ramen, but given the fact that you were eating truly local ramen from across Japan I wasn't too surprised.

I decided to get a Hokkaido-style miso ramen that had spareribs and shrimp. It was delicious!

There was also an opportunity to vote for your favorite ramen. With more funds at my disposal and a larger stomach maybe I would have sampled a few more varieties to be truly impartial...but given my inability to do that I just voted for the ramen I ate.

Here I am posing as the Ramen Show's official character, a sentient, spiky-"haired" naruto. Naruto (no, not the anime character...) is a pressed fish cake with a distinctive red swirl in the middle that is often used as a ramen topping.

From the Ramen Show I spent a little time wandering around the Ikejiri-Ohashi area.

I hunkered down at The Workers Coffee/ Bar to study for the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) and by the time I emerged a few hours later the sun was already down. As I walked back to the train station I was struck a little bit by the vibe of the back streets:

The streets were quiet and not even well-lit, but someone was baking something and the air was sweet. The moon--which I hadn't seen in days--was finally in view over the tops of the buildings. As I clopped up the hill (I was wearing heels, which in hindsight wasn't my best idea) my footsteps echoed off the concrete wall, ground, and buildings around me. I so rarely find myself alone on a street in Tokyo, and it was almost refreshing. A perfect fall evening. Now to head home for a cup (or three?) of tea...


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