Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Ramen King and I 06-02-2009

Feelings: Mr. Michael H. told us about Andy Raskin's new book, "The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life."

I immediately listened to his unique radio interview on WNYC. (Click here to listen) He speaks about Japanese culture, his trip to famous Ramen Jiro in Tokyo and how he got himself gallbladder infection soon after finishing a bowl of their lard soaked "manly" ramen. This struck close to home, as it reminded me of the pancreatitis I suffered shortly after trying my first New York Pizza. Mr. Ruskin then describes his search for the illusive Momofuku Ando, Osaka's famous instant ramen inventor. Adopting the Ramen King as his spiritual advisor, he tells how he was able to overcome his commitment issues with women. Choosing King Ando for spiritual guidance makes perfect sense if you are from Osaka, but for an American journalist to find the Osakan merchant's entrepreneurship and life philosophy prominent and life-changing is a pleasant surprise. (Although he was originally from Taiwan, most people consider him one of us.) We Osakans worship food and the Hanshin Tigers. Perhaps Mr. Raskin can write about the infamous Tigers in his next book.

Ramen and spirituality can certainly come together. Juzo Itami's beautiful "Tampopo" is a wonderful example of the connection with food and the connection of people running parallel in our lives. Oh, food and people: they could give us ultimate pleasure and agonizing pain.

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