Sunday, February 03, 2008

Kurori Ramen, #1 in all of Japan

麺処 くるり

If you have a list of the top 30 ramen shops in Japan, you gotta start at #1, right? I mean, I haven't seen that Cloverfield movie, but Tokyo could blow up tomorrow and I'd be stuck with the taste of, gasp, #25 in my mouth.

Ichigaya Tamachi 3-2
Near Ichigaya station, just cross to the north side of the river and walk east for about 5 minutes.

This place is interesting. The master is fucking serious as hell. You're 28, have an hour line outside your place, and you won some awards. Relax homey!

The key here was the amazing miso broth. A few different kinds of miso, cooked over high heat to reduce it all down. Matched with great chyaushu (pork) and noodles. All the details were accounted for, even the glassware for your water was unique. At the end of your meal, the staff brought a shot size glass of ice cold green tea. Damn, I want to go there now. Think it's open at 1am?

So you just ate some crazy good ramen, what should you do? Take a walk along the river. Yeah, it's a Tokyo style river, which is basically just a concrete canal filled with water and questionable 3 eyed fish, but it's stroll-able none the less. Get your walk on, and head to Yasukuni Shrine!

Maybe you are all templed out. Even if you just arrived in Japan, you've seen your share already. Well this one is pretty important. Constructed in 1869 by the Meiji Emperor, the purpose of this shrine is to honor those who died in wars. So far so good. We have military graveyards all over America. I remember planting little American flags on the graves when I was a boy scout. So Yasukuni is a place where the soldier's souls can rest. You will likely see many elderly people offering prayer here.

The trouble started in 1978, when 14 Class A war criminals from World War II were quietly, some say almost secretly, enshrined here. Needless to say a couple countries in the world weren't happy about this. By honoring those who had been responsible for atrocious acts in wartime, Yasukuni Shrine became a hotbed of controversy. Until this day, it's a huge topic in politics. When a new prime minister is to be elected, all we hear about is what the candidate's views on official visits to Yasukuni are. If they will visit, China throws a fit. If they won't, the right wing goups in Japan throw a fit. There's a lot of fit throwing.

So the question is, does honoring those who died because of war somehow mean that you are justifying the bad shit that went down?

Jesus, you just had some awesome ramen and now you're all confused about big important world issues. Sorry bout that.

Stay tuned, I went to #10 in Japan ramen.

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