Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
 
Most Expensive Bowl of Ramen I Hope I'll Ever Have

Spent most of today in Ueno, mostly at the Tokyo National Museum. A little overwhelmed with all the art work there, and realizing that I really need to learn more about the details ofJapanese history. My 7th grade timeline didn't provide quite enough context to appreciate all the subtle evolutions in silks, lacquerware and most dazzling of all--swords, both Tachi and Katana. An 11th century sword that's still so sharp the reflections off its edge blind my camera deserves more careful study.

On my way to the train station I was suddenly starving. I saw a restaurant by the concourse that said "forms in English available, please feel free to come inside!" which was pretty encouraging. But inside all I saw was a vending machine. A little disappointed, I lit up when I saw that the options on the vending machine included a bowl of place rice for 150 yen. Put my money in and out came at a ticket. Okay, I thought, maybe I redeem that somplace further in. Walking through a narrow corridor I saw an almost as narrow room, with a bunch of people seated at a bar--each person facing into their own little cubicle. Away from me, towards the inside wall, it was mostly men, but right next to the door sat a young woman. She saw me standing there, confused, and waved me in to sit at the little cubicle next to her. There I was worried to see that between me and the other side of the counter was a red curtain that hung so as to perfectly obscure my face. She pressed a red button in the counter in front of me somebody walked up--I could only see their chest and arms--and started talking to me in Japanese. I said Wakarimasen about four times before the girl stuck her head in my booth and said something rapidly in Japanese--I definitely caught the word gaijin--and I could hear a bit of commotion on the other side. Finall a guy came up who kneeled a bit so I could see his face and with some difficulty told me that I would have to pay 750 yen for Ramen, as the rice ticket I just bought was only a side dish. He assured me the ramen would be vegetarian ("no meat?no fish?" "no meat! no fish!") and I was too chagrined to refuse. After a faceless hand slid me a bowl of ramen and small bowl of rice, a bamboo curtain slid down and covered what small view I had had of the kitchen behind the bar. I was perfectly isolated--wooden cubicle walls on either side, curtain and bamboo curtain in front, my own little tap of water on the side. I guess in such a crowded city, people appreciate the chance to be in their own little world. Nine odd dollars, however, is more than I am willing to habitually pay for a bowl of Ramen.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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Blogs I Read (Or Try To)
113th Street
american footprints(Nadezhda & Praktike)
ANNA's Diary
Apartment Therapy
Armchair Generalist
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Dave Barry
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Heliolith
Alexandra Huddleston
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Indeterminacy
India Uncut
InSpiteOfEverything
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter et al
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Jesus Politics
John and Belle Have a Blog
Mark A. R. Kleiman
KnowProse (Taran Rampersad)
1Locana
Maenad (Nori Heikkinen)
Scott McCloud
Mind Without Borders
Electrolite: Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Corey Pein
Political Animal(Kevin Drum, formerly Calpundit)
Kevin G. Powell
QuakeHelp (South Asian Quake)
Radiation Persuasion (Nick)
Reneebop
Rhinocrisy
Scott Rosenberg(Salon.com)
Rox Populi
Felix(&Rhian)Salmon
samVaad
Nick Schager
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Sepia Mutiny
Amardeep Singh
Snarkmarket (Robin Sloan & Matt Thompson)
South-East Asian Earthquake and Tsunami Blog
SreeTips: New To Sree
Steprous (Bear)
Robert Stribley
Subjunctive.net:klog
Talking Points Memo: Joshua Micah Marshall
Tech Policy
TiffinBox
A Tiny Revolution
To The Teeth
TreeHugger
Unfogged
VatulBlog
Venk@
Manish Vij
Vinod's Blog
War and Piece
Nollind Whachell
Wonkette
WorldChanging
Matthew Yglesias:Old
Yglesias:Tpmcafe
Zoo Station:Reuben Abraham
Ethan Zuckerman
Zwichenzug



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Blogs focusing on policy, politics, and national security:
Armchair Generalist
Back To Iraq 3.0 (Chris Albritton)
The Decembrist
Brad DeLong
Daniel Drezner
Eschaton(Atrios)
Green Ink!
Iddybud (Jude Nagurney Camwell)
Idea Spout: Daniel Sanchez
Informed Comment: Juan Cole
Intel Dump: Phillip Carter
The Intersection (Chris Mooney)
Irregular Analyses
Jesus Politics
Mark A. R. Kleiman
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TiffinBox

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Ranajit Dam
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Corey Pein
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