Back in August, I went to Japan and hopped through Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto. Oddly enough I have yet to visit Tokyo (I don't think a 24 hour layover at Narita counts). I noticed that I took very few pictures in Japan overall; I have trouble taking good pictures and being in the moment. Either I'm really happy with the pics I've taken, but that's all I remember doing or made amazing memories, but hate the pictures I took. *sigh*
The Osaka Museum of Housing & Living was one of our first stops. It's basically a life size replica of a traditional Japanese town. You can wander around as the weather changes, wear a kimono, play traditional games, and basically get a feel for what it must have been like back in the day. The lighting changes from day to night, there's a mini-thunderstorm, it's all quite immersive. It makes it hard to take pictures through, the lighting is constantly changing aha :)
|Our cups all sealed up :)|
|Cute kids! The little scamp to the left was being adorable - he kept running into everybody's pictures to pose :)|
|A ramen vending machine.|
|Lifesize replica of the small shack where cup ramen was invented.|
Indeed many great things come from humble origins.
The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Noodle Museum in Ikeda was defintely one of the highlights of my trip. At the museum you can make your own cup noodles! You buy a cup, decorate it, pick your soup flavor and toppings, and they seal it up! The whole process is quite transparent and it's a lot of fun to watch. To protect the cup from getting crushed, you put it in a very cool balloon-like plastic bag so you can carry it like a purse.
The museum was also very informative. As it turns out Momofuku Ando actually invented cup noodles at the age of 48. After serving 2 years in jail for tax evasion (Ando had been providing scholarships for students, but at the time that was a form of tax evasion) and filing bankruptcy, he settled down in Ikeda. Post-WWII was a time of massive food shortages so Japanese government started encouraging citizens to eat bread, which could be made from wheat supplied by the US. Noodles were much more familiar to Japanese, but noodle production at the time was just too unstable/slow and couldn't meet demand. Ando could not accept this and motivated by his belief that "Peace will come to the world when the people have enough to eat," Ando set to work figuring out a stable method to produce cheap noodles - and he did.
Funny tidbit from Wiki: Ando died at the ripe old age of 96....Ando claimed that the secret of his long life was playing golf and eating Chicken Ramen almost every day. He was said to have eaten instant ramen until the day before he died.