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Posts tagged takadanobaba

Ramen Jiro (ラーメン二郎)

famous tokyo ramen shop

Takadanobaba's Ramen Jiro

A new grocery store opened up near our apartment while we were in Japan. I noticed this ramen shop in front of the grocery store frequently had a long line in front of it. One day, when the line wasn’t too long and the grocery shopping could wait, I decided to give it a try.

takadanobaba ramen jiro

Ramen Jiro (ラーメン二郎)

It turns out that Ramen Jiro is like no other ramen I’ve had before or since. I ordered the regular version–even though you have the option of extra (or less) garlic, pork, pork fat, vegetables (mostly sprouts but also some cabbage), and spiciness. The amount of garlic, pork, and sprouts was incredible for a regular bowl. The taste was really good for the first dozen or so bites/slurps, but I was full less than halfway through. I labored on but still didn’t finish it all and felt rather sick after.

I would certainly go back (now that much time has passed) and hope to get something smaller. I would also go much lighter on the garlic. I love garlic (にんにく) but this amount was ridiculous. You’ll want lots of water in any case.

If you want to give this one a try, the address is 豊島区 高田 3-17-8. As the sign says, Ramen Jiro is only open for 4 hours a day (and closed two days a week), or until they run out of noodles–whichever comes first, so you have a very narrow window of opportunity.

Takadanobaba’s Chindonya (チンドン屋)

Chindonya (Japanese marching band) are sometimes outside of the Takadanobaba Station in Tokyo. I haven’t seen them do much marching, but they do make a lot of music. They advertise the opening of new Pachinko Parlors. They may look a little bored in the photo above, but when they are noticed (and I’m sure they are with great regularity), they can be as happy as the people who do the noticing.

The video below is not one I took, but it will give you an idea of what they sound like.

Time to go…

takadanobaba

As this posts we are hopefully on a plane bound for our home in the U.S.A. It has been a wonderful year, but now it is over.

I took over 20,000 pictures, of which less than 5% have appeared on the blog so far. In other words, if you’re still interested, I’ll keep sharing them.

Genkokuji (玄国寺)

genkokuji takadanobaba tokyo japan

Right next to Suwa Jinja, southeast of the Takadanobaba Station, is Genkokuji. I stopped by there on my way home from a recent bike ride. It was actually beginning to rain when I took the above picture so I didn’t stay for too long.

Foot-loose in Tokyo

foot-loose in tokyo jean pearce I recently picked up Foot-loose in Tokyo, not because I thought it would be useful (due to when it was written) but because I thought it would be fun to see what things were like along the Yamanote Line in the 1970s. The funny thing is many of the things the author, Jean Pearce, thought would quickly disappear are still here and many that were thought to be permanent fixtures are long gone.

The book is very interesting to read even though the contents are so dated. Perhaps the fact they are so dated makes it an even more enjoyable read. I read the whole book on the train (the Chuo Line, not the Yamanote Line) one day. The contents changed the way I think about many of the Yamanote Line stops.

The entry for Takadanobaba shows surprisingly few differences from the book’s era until today. Big Box, Omokage-bashi, Mizu Inari Jinja, Waseda University, Kansenen–all are the same today, decades later. One entry caught my eye, dealing with an ancient tree on a street I walk down nearly every day. I had no memory of seeing this ancient tree so I figured, as did the author, that the tree’s location had turned into a parking lot or apartment building in the ensuing years.

“You may see the tired remains of what was once a majestic old shiinoki (sweet acorn) tree which in other days was encircled by a Shinto rope to commemorate its venerable age, said to be more than 500 years…

Years ago there was a five-story pagoda here. It was destroyed during the wartime bombings; only the trees remain. The property is presently a parking lot, but once it belonged to a daimyo family.” (p. 114)

So I looked for the majestic old shiinoki and, in so doing, discovered that what was always there I had never before seen. Sure enough, it still fills the corner of a parking lot and probably goes completely unnoticed by the vast majority of people who pass. There is no sign (as there frequently is in Japan) commemorating its age or history. The Shinto rope (shimenawa) is back up and around its trunk however. A sake offering rests at its base.

椎の木 シイノキ

Chanpon Taro Takadanobaba 元祖焼麺 ちゃんぽん太郎

元祖焼麺 ちゃんぽん太郎

After eating ramen at Ippudo (一風堂) I was presented with coupons for free gyoza at Chanpon Taro, a chanpon restaurant that recently opened in the neighborhood. Never having tasted the stuff before I wanted to give it a try. I immediately became a fan of chanpon (pictured above), sort of a variation on ramen. However, I must say that each time I eat chanpon it is a little less good. That first bowl was the best, and now I’ve run out of free gyoza coupons. 🙁

I like the fact that both Ippudo and Chanpon Taro are smoke free, but next time I think I’ll be back at Ippudo.

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