Z Notes Blog by Jim Zumwalt
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Nov. 29 - "Eat up, your noodles will get soggy." I remember clearly my host brother encouraging me to eat faster. As a teenager, I used to love when my Japanese host brother would take me for a late night snack of ramen. I always liked the plain ramen, although sometimes for a change I would order miso ramen. However, the steaming bowl of noodles and soup always arrived piping hot.

As I was blowing furiously on the bowl of soup and noodles to cool it down, my host brother had nearly devoured his entire bowl. Hence my host brother would instruct me to eat up, explaining that the noodles were most delicious before they absorbed too much of the broth. No matter how much he urged me on, however, I could not slurp down the extremely hot broth.

Several years ago, I was delighted to discover "tsukemen" where the noodles are served on a separate basket. One picks up a mouthful of noodles from the basket, dips them in the broth, and then enjoys them at leisure. This method of serving ramen is perfect for people like me who are unable to eat extremely hot foods. By ordering this dish, I can eat the ramen noodles as slowly as I wish.

Each time I enjoy "tsukemen," I remember my kind host brother for introducing me to the joys of eating Japanese ramen.

Until next time,



Dear Mr. Zumwalt,

When I was a teenager, I often eat Ramen as a night snack after hard study for the entrance exams.

My sister and I cooked the instant ramen by turn. While I was waiting for the ramen to get served, I usually stood upside down against the wall or the door my of study, which I thought my blood circulated to every end of my brain cell or synap. I wanted my fresh blood to go down and activate my brain after long study.

Since Route 8 runs through our prefecture, Fukui, we do have "Ramen Route 8," which is popular among high teens for its reasonable prices and for its nutrition with larger amount of vegetable such as cabbage, been sprout, bamboo shoots, scanion, spinach, and sesame.

I wish you a Merry Christmas!

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