January 29, 2014
I’m on my longest trip to Tokyo yet. I moved here! They granted me a one year visa, and I’ve been here for twelve days now. I still can’t believe it. My dream for many years has finally come true.
I left Los Angeles before Thanksgiving to spend time with my family in Ohio; and there are as many ramen shops in Cleveland as there are big asses in Tokyo, which is why you haven’t heard from me in a while. After a three-day delay due to the worst winter weather in 20 years (it was negative 12˚F the day I was supposed to fly out), I finally lifted off American soil. 13.5 hours later, I was at Narita and immigration was a little bit different this time around — instead of the usual 90-day visa, I had this nice little present.
Unfortunately, my name was already too long to add “Ramen Shaman” to it.
What’s the first thing I did when I got into Tokyo? Bunsuke.
If you find yourself in Asakusa you’ve got to hit up Bunsuke, a superb Jiro-style ramen right next to the Sumida river. Check out my review from last year for more info. It was massive and garlicky with hearty, thick noodles, a mound of cabbage and bean sprouts, and huge slabs of chashu on top. Yes, you can customize the amount of toppings. I can’t think of a better bowl to break my over month-long ramen fast — this is probably what they serve in heaven… or hell, depending on your preference.
Since then I’ve had ramen probably every other day (I’m trying to be reasonable). I hit up some of my all time favorites, like:
The miso ramen supreme at Kururi:
The original monster ramen at Jiro:
Akita, still the best shoyu ramen I’ve ever had:
Plus a few newbies that I’ll be writing about.
Moving to a new country is fun! There’s a lot of pain-in-the-ass stuff to take care of, like registering for health insurance and going to class during the day (just kidding, that’s fun too!). That and I had a horrible time getting my iPhone unlocked and set up with a Japanese SIM card (let’s just say I won’t be going back to AT&T when I move back to the USA).
But most of it is great. I set up my room, did some decorating, bought some clothes, met all my new housemates, met my classmates, caught up with old friends from past trips here, drank a TON of beer, quit my job (!!!) and completed three massive quests this past week:
1. Buy a guitar
2. Buy a bike
3. Buy new underwear
Joking aside, if you have even the faintest desire to live abroad before you die, and especially if you have a specific country in mind that you just love, DO IT. Find a way. My story isn’t any more special than yours, I just made it happen and I haven’t looked back yet.
2014 is the year of the Shaman.
2 Chome-15-6 Hanakawado
Taito, Tokyo 111-0033
3-2 Ichigaya Tamachi
T: +81 (0) 3 3269 0801
Open Monday-Saturday, 11 am-9 pm
Koenji 3-70-1 Koenji Street 2 Avenue B1F