Author Archives: Will VanderWyden

October 27, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Jiraiya (Suzumenomiya)

by Will VanderWyden

Fall has arrived in Tokyo and with it an indefatigable sense of nostalgia, or natsukashisa. My time in this country might be coming to a close (maybe not… I’m working on it) and some blasts from the past have re-entered and re-exited my life like some Princess Mononoke tree spirits. So the time seems right […]

September 8, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Menya Musashi (Shinjuku)

by Will VanderWyden

Menya Musashi’s namesake is one Miyamoto Musashi, regarded as one of Japan’s greatest swordsmen and creator of the two-handed swordfighting technique niten-ryu, which translates to “Tarantino Wet Dream.” According to legend he never lost a duel in over 50 years as a wandering warrior — which I am inclined to believe since back then you […]

June 16, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Gundam (Kyoto)

by Will VanderWyden

My trip to Kyoto was awesome for many reasons. Temples, new friends, raw nature, or scenes like this one, just three boys feeding hawks like a flock of seagulls. Despite its rural look this is in the heart of Kyoto. And there was this: My couchsurfing host just happened to live within walking distance of […]

April 30, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Nagahama Ramen Miyoshi (Kyoto)

by Will VanderWyden

It’s no secret that I have a massive man-crush on Ramenate, a ramen blog written by a guy named Nate. For the longest time I didn’t know his name and thought the blog was pronounced ramen nah-tay, like French. He’s one of the rare bloggers whose writing holds my interest regardless of the subject matter […]

April 9, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Yoshimura-ya (Yokohama)

by Will VanderWyden

On Sunday, April 6, my picture and story was in the Kanagawa edition of the Yumiuri Shimbun, one of Japan’s three biggest newspapers (yes only the local Kanagawa edition… but still). Read it here if you can read Japanese. If not you can look at my picture and Google Translate your way to such gems as: […]

March 21, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Ichiran (Shimokitazawa)

by Will VanderWyden

Oh Ichiran. I was very anti-you for a long time because of your bizarre seating arrangement. It just seems so weird that we, the customers, have to sit at a private booth, in silence, without speaking to the chefs — instead ordering by placing our ticket next to a sliding wooden curtain and filling out […]

February 28, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Nagi (Golden Gai)

by Will VanderWyden

Nagi, Nagi, Nagi. This one’s been near the top of my ever-expanding ramen bucket list for a long time. I’ve been to a Nagi branch before — it was the first Tokyo bowl I had with fellow ramen blogger Brian from Ramen Adventures, and my first niboshi ramen (aka broth made from dried baby anchovies). […]

February 12, 2014

The Ramen Shaman: Koshin (Nishi-Shinjuku)

by Will VanderWyden

My new neighborhood in Tokyo is called Yayoicho, just a mile west of Shinjuku, one of the biggest entertainment and nightlife spots on planet earth. It’s like Times Square, only if New Yorkers hung out there all the time instead of clueless tourists and touts. My part of town is pretty suburban, with a cluster […]

January 29, 2014

The Ramen Shaman Moves to Tokyo

by Will VanderWyden

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 […]

October 30, 2013

The Ramen Shaman: Chibiscus (Hollywood)

by Will VanderWyden

Last week a reader asked if I had tried Chibiscus. Apparently it had been compared to Tsujita — a bold statement. I promised I’d check it out. I assumed it was the random shop that opened on Sunset Blvd earlier this year around the same time as Maki Maku on Hollywood Boulevard. I tried it […]