By Chris Glenn
One thing I vowed never to do when I joined Japan Tourist, was NEVER write about ramen noodles. Japanese TV is filled with programs featuring various actors and actresses, comedians and commentators fawning over bowls of steaming hot noodles, all with the never ending gushing stream of “Oishii” (delicious) and “Umai” (Great!) Really, if the words “Oishii” and “Umai” were made illegal for broadcast, many of these “talent” would have absolutely nothing to say!
No, you’d never get me writing about ramen noodles! That was until a recent visit to Josui, a ramen shop that regularly appears on not just local, but national TV, where talent gush forth their endless streams of Oishii’s and Umai’s while mugging for the camera. However in this case, I don’t think they’re mugging it. Touting itself as a “Ramen specialty Store”, along the ancient thoroughfare, Dekimachi Dori in Nagoya’s Tokugawa Cho, about a kilometer and a half north east of the city center, and not far from the Tokugawa Art Museum, Josui really is delicious!
The interior is most Zen like, bereft of any decoration save for a few small A4 sized posters showing where the car park is, and a small CD rack. The interior music is mostly un-ramen like modern rock, which matches the atmosphere of the shop surprisingly well. The ramen too may not be much to look at, but remember the old proverb, never judge a book by its cover!
Behind the high, bar like counter five or six staff are kept busy boiling the noodles, preparing the stock for the customers who continue to pour in weekdays for lunch between 11:30am and 2:30pm, and again in the evenings, from 6pm to midnight, although closed on Tuesdays. Only 14 counter seats, and six side seats are available and so the long bench running the length of the wall is always filled with waiting customers.
The prices range from 700 Yen for a standard bowl of long, thin, slightly chewy noodles in a shoyu or shio broth, or 950 Yen for ramen “with the lot”. The most expensive is Taiwan styled ramen with everything for 1050 Yen!
The slabs of chashu, boiled meat are thick and tasty, while the slices of bamboo shoot are juicy and sweet. Over 30 different styles of ramen based on various districts around Japan are available, as well as side dishes, and drinks. Naturally the store specializes in local ramen styles, and for miso lovers, is ideal, with Mikawa’s specialty miso being used in the soup!
No, you’ll never get me writing about ramen,…not again, ‘coz Josui will be hard to beat!
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Chris Glenn is an Australian born radio DJ, TV presenter, helicopter pilot, and advertising copywriter. A follower of samurai culture , he is a member of the Japan Armor and Weapons Research and Preservation Society, has black-belt in Kendo, 2nd black-belt in Chanbara sword fighting disciplines, and currently studies Shinkage and Enmei Ryu techniques. A long term resident of Japan, he is extremely passionate about preserving and promoting Japanese history and culture.