Given all the ramen popping up in spaces all over the globe, it’s quite unfair to call one ramen or ramen shop as the best. Each ramen shop has their own specialty. You just can’t compare a tonkotsu ramen to a shoyu ramen. Nor can you demand an answer on who makes the best tonkotsu ramen — Ichiran or Ippudo? Each bowl has their own character and I think each bowl merits a bit of our love and attention. That said, there are few exceptional bowls that have taken my heart. If I can take a bowl to a dance, then it will be this bowl — my oshiawase (happiness) ramen — Sisen Ramen’s Charsiu Tantanmen in Umeda’s Gourmet Museum.
Sounds awful coming from me but trust me, it’s not the kind of ‘manhole’ you’re thinking of.
I’m referring to the awesome manholes you’ll cross while walking around towns and cities in Japan. It’s such a delight seeing these manholes because honestly, who would think of manholes as a part of a cityscape, let alone have the potential to bear a city’s identity? Certainly not in Manila. Definitely in Japan.
Anyway, here’s a rundown of some of the lovely manholes I’ve crossed during my trips!
I’ve always dreamt of ekiben journeys ever since I read it in Sakurai Kan and Hayase Jun’s Ekiben Hitoritabi, a manga about a guy’s journey around Japan one ekiben at a time. Ekiben’s a portmanteau for eki (station) and bentou (boxed lunch) and some stations in Japan would have special ekiben featuring either the specialty of that city or region. Specialties can range from culinary techniques to ingredients available to that region.
Now, I won’t bore you with the intricacies of Ekiben. There’s a Beginning Japanology episode for that. So go watch it and perhaps get on board with me as I share my first ekiben experience.