Looking for Ramen

So we stepped on Japanese soil… Well, though, how is the land? It is almost impossible to find land where it shouldn’t be in Japan. And the land, according to the Japanese, should be in parks and forests. Or at least it shouldn’t be in port. And in the port, there should be a neatly laid asphalt, ribbon and customs.

Cleanliness and accuracy are on all sides of us.

In the building, where the inspection and registration is carried out, the floors creak from contact with sneakers and it becomes clear that the next week will be possible to fall from fatigue and excess alcohol in the blood without fear for the purity of their own clothes.

Customs pass quickly enough, without inspection, all around (well, those that Japanese appearance) smile and enjoy something. Either the fact that in the evening on TV will show how some celebrity fries a chicken, or just laughing at the fact that the next week my name here will sound like “Mihairo”.

And on the street it seems that we flew halfway around the world, not less than two hundred kilometers from autumn Russia. The weather in the morning in Korsakov and here in Vakkanai is similar, unless it is precipitation. Otherwise, just some humid tropics. It is warm and very humid. Hoodie, which was still relevant here in the morning turns into a burden.

What is Bacchanai.

It is a small port town in the north of the nearest to Sakhalin Japanese island Hokkaido. If we draw an analogy with the Krasnoyarsk region, something like our Nazarovo.

Only the roads are better than in Nazarovo, the houses are prettier than in Nazarovo, the cars are more modest than in Nazarovo and much fewer Russians than in Nazarovo. In general, this is not a Nazarovo thing.
However, the closeness of Russia gives Wakkanai one feature that you will hardly meet anywhere else in Japan.
Duplication of the signs in Russian is a sight to behold by Japanese standards. You won’t find it in Tokyo or even Sapporo. Russian sailors did their job.

Apparently, the Japanese are tired of catching Russians who went to the library but found themselves in a bar. To protect us from the consequences of ignorance of the geography of Vakkanaya, they bother to sign all the arrows with the language of Pushkin (or his likeness).

What’s the first thing to do in Japan after a toilet visit? Of course you should eat! And don’t be embarrassed by such a strange sequence. Here in Japan there are a lot of strange, inconsistent, illogical and absurd things for our understanding. But let’s not abuse our hospitality and do as the hosts said.

And what to eat in Japan if you haven’t been in it for two years? Personally for me this question is rhetorical. Only ramen! This is a magic dish of Japanese cuisine (originally Chinese, but it has found its own unique taste in Japan and was erected in the category of cult) in Russian restaurants trying to parody much less frequently and much worse than many other Japanese dishes.

Just take your word for it, only if you don’t have some very specific gastronomic preferences beyond the control of a normal person, only then you will be able to forget the taste of this divine food. But about it a little bit later, but while the short story about the first Japanese, whom we met in the streets of Wakkanaya.

If one of your friends or acquaintances was in Japan, he probably told some incredible stories about some unhealthy desire of the Japanese to help foreigners in solving their minor problems such as “How to get there …”, “How do I get to this station …” and the like.

Don’t believe these stories! In fact, there are no words that can convey the cosmic degree of responsiveness of the Japanese to the guests of the country, which actually exists. This experience cannot be conveyed in words, it can only be experienced.

Believe it or not, this story happened to the first resident of the city we met on Wakkanaya Street to ask where the nearest restaurant in Ramen is.
And then there was exactly what they say in the stories about the Japanese.

The man instantly forgot where he was going and why in the middle of the day and just took us to the restaurant, which he knows perfectly well and judging by the expression of his face recommends.

But, not a task, the restaurant was closed for a break. Here, I have no doubt, the man felt a great feeling of personal guilt for the incident and decided to correct karma by looking for another suitable place for our lunch.

In the 15 minutes that he was taking us through the streets of Vakkanaya, he looked into a couple of other places, discussed the menu with the cooks, made them bow to us and, apparently, apologized that they did not have the right dish for us. As a result of these talks with local chefs and waiters, he found a ramen’s room for us.

He discussed all the details of our future lunch with the chef, and only after that, bowing down to us 10-15 times, did he leave with a happy face to continue his, for sure, quite measured and boring life by our standards. There will be something to tell your grandchildren! He drove two big white people around the city! And that’s not sarcasm. For most Japanese, it’s an event. It’s not often that white people suddenly barge into the life of an ordinary Japanese man with questions and requests and let them show their uncommon friendliness.

Well, here, actually, an ordinary picture for a Japanese restaurant. Unless in the evening there will be hungry salarimans (“white collars”), who will try not to splash broth white shirts. Although they may not. A snow-white shirt, if you want it badly, you can buy for 300 yen (120 rubles) with some small shop. Also please visit ราเมน 258/9-10 Soi Siam Square 3, Bangkok.

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