This year’s Tokyo Ramen Show at Komazawa Park was spectacular, featuring 36 hand-picked ramen shops from all over Japan. Over eleven days, they diligently dished out thousands of deliciously complex ramen bowls. There was so shortage of variety – from the top voted uni ramen, to premium kelp ramen.
There again were many ramen shop collaborations, like between famous chains Ipuddo and Mouko Tanmen Nakamoto. They also grabbed top honors.
In total, I dived into 12 bowls this year. Check them ALL out below and even find out where the shops are located throughout Japan.
First Group: Oct 25 – 30
Snow Crab Miso Ramen
This Fukui prefecture ramen shop uses a rich, sweet miso paste and blends it with rice from a local temple warehouse. This is then combined with snow crab (feet and shoulder meat) to make the broth.
The springy, medium-thick noodles were nice but I believe the highlight was their broiled chashu pork. This chashu pork can only be described by the Japanese words “toro toro”.
Ramen Shop: Ramen W
Spicy Nagoya Ramen
Nagoya doesn’t get as much love as other prefectures when it comes it comes to ramen. But I personally love Nagoya’s spicy “Taiwan Ramen”. This shop (Menya Sakura) really put Taiwan Ramen on the map.
Their ramen has a light shoyu (soy sauce) base but there’s also a slight creaminess, perhaps from sesame. But this ramen is most definitely defined by its chilli peppers and …continue reading
Source: Gaijin Pot
We all know that Japan is the master of robots. Between Sony’s sprinting QRIO, Toyota’s musical Partner Robots, and Honda’s now retired Asimo, Japan clearly deserves its reputation as the world pioneer in the robotics field. And now, they will once again be leading the way by opening an experimental robot avatar cafe, with an inspiring purpose.
DAWN Cafe (Diverse Avatar Working Network) in Akasaka, Tokyo, will be staffed by robot avatars remotely controlled by people with severe disabilities, including patients with ALS. Powered by real intelligence, the robot avatars will be able to take your order, bring you your food and drinks, and respond to any questions or requests.
The cafe, which will have a trial run open to the public in November, has three aims: 1) to provide a model to show how people with severe disabilities can work, 2) to provide employment opportunities for people otherwise unable to work, and 3) to someday open a full-time cafe staffed by avatar robots. The robots they’ll be using at DAWN Cafe are called OriHime, which are produced by a Tokyo startup called OryLab Inc.
One of these OriHime robots was used just last April by Takanobu Nagaoka, a 55-year-old high school teacher who was diagnosed with ALS a couple of years ago. He was unable to travel due to his worsening condition, but by using the OriHime robot, he could remotely attend his school’s graduation and congratulate his students.
Source: Trends in Japan
Starbucks is opening its first Starbucks Reserve Roastery branch in Japan in 2019 at a location in the trendy Tokyo district of Nakameguro. Designed by the architect Kengo Kuma, the branch will open on February 28th, 2019, overlooking the Meguro River. The food menu will be supervised by famed Italian baker Rocco Princi, an established partner with the coffee shop chain.
Starbucks has now released a publicity image giving a preview of how the debut Japanese Starbucks Reserve Roastery branch will look.
This is not the first Starbucks branch that Kengo Kuma has designed. He also created the stunning outlet in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, that employed some 2,000 pieces of wood batons. Moreover, he recently designed a striking Starbucks branch in Taiwan out of shipping containers.
Probably the most in-demand architect in Japan right now, Kengo Kuma’s current slate of projects includes the New National Stadium that will form the key venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an additional station on the Yamanote Line, a luxury hotel in Ginza, a museum attached to Meiji Shrine, and a hotel in central Kyoto set to open in 2019.
Nakameguro is a popular area for eating out, with its riverside scenery offering picturesque settings for dining and drinking. It is also a well-known hub for the creative industries, resulting in a steady supply of hipsters. Not surprisingly, then, the district already has its fair share of stylish coffee shops and cafes, including a branch of Blue Bottle.
Starbucks previously opened a branch inspired by traditional Japanese crafts in the nearby neighborhood of Meguro on the ground floor of its corporate headquarters.
This small neigbhorhood bar has a stylish, minimalist decor and specializes in craft beers and highball cocktails. The ten taps dispense beers from well-regarded breweries like Full Sail, Sierra Nevada, Outsider and Shiga Kogen, while the highball menu offers a good assortment of whiskies and your choice of five different soda-water mixers.
In spite of the small kitchen area, the food menu is quite a bit better than that of most bars, with appetizing snacks like garlic-fried shrimp and marinated swordfish, available in both full and half-size portions. Both beer and food prices are a bit higher than average, with medium-size beers going for Y900-1100. Currently it’s the only place serving craft beer in the immediate Asakasubashi area, and as such it could be a good stop on a bar-hopping tour of the neighborhood. …continue reading