Saturday, January 18, 2014

Long Weekend- Saturday!

SMS and I enjoyed the holiday weekend, which was also the last weekend that SMS was in Japan, at least for now.  We didn't dwell too much on the sads but instead had a really fun weekend.

On Saturday, we headed up to Yokohama and went to the CUPNOODLES museum.  It was way better than I expected, mostly because I had really, really low expectations going into it.  But it was really pretty awesome.  Yes!  Seriously!  I went from "meh" to "awesome!"

The building is another modern masterpiece- lots of white, high ceilings, spare lines.  The floor is a blond wood and there's a huge staircase just to the left of the entrance.  We bought our tickets (Y500) and also received passes for the MYCUPNOODLES factory.  These passes had the time that we could enter the customize-your-own-CUPNOODLE wonderland, but we actually paid upstairs at the Cup vending machines (Y300 each).  We also borrowed audioguides, which were free but required a few thousand yen for a deposit, which we got back without any difficulty.

We had half an hour before we got to make our CUPNOODLE, so we saw the exhibits on the second floor.  We saw the instant noodle history cube, which starts with one original instant ramen on the left, then goes around the room with a timeline as the products explode both in number and type.  But don't worry, they're always instant noodles.

We also saw the Momofuku Ando story and work shed.  He was 48 when he invented CUPNOODLE after multiple failed business endeavors and two years in jail on tax evasion charges.  It was really a fascinating story and it's been woven into a narrative that pretty heavy-handedly gives its themes to the visitor.  The themes, or six key ideas aren't bad though: discover something completely new; find hints in all sorts of places; nurturing an idea; look at things from every angle; don't just go with the status quo; and never give up.

So with that inspiration, off we went to the MYCUPNOODLES experience!  We stood in line, bought our Styrofoam cup and were frantically waved over to two free seats at the drawing/coloring tables.  We drew our masterpieces and then got in line for the ramen buffet.  We were given menus to choose which seasoning (original, curry, fish and something else) and which topping we wanted (four from a selection of about 12).  We cranked the machine to suspend the noodles in the cup, a worker placed our four toppings inside and then we watched our CUPNOODLES process with a lid and shrinkwrap.  We then went to the "pillow station" where we put our soup in a plastic bag and pumped it up into the most ridiculous pillow necklace, which we wore for the rest of the night because even though it was ridiculous, it was cool because it was OUR CUPNOODLES!!!

Then, we went to Landmark Tower to the World Beer Museum, which is a restaurant with tables and 5 bars.  The bars are country-themed: Germany, USA, Belgium, Czech and England.  We were supposed to meet up with Jen, her husband and a few others from Ikego but somehow, we didn't see each other when they came in.  SMS, Aaron and I were waiting at the bar for 30 minutes and somehow we missed a group of 6 white people. Also, four of them are over 6 feet tall.  How we missed each other still confuses me.  But, we eventually sat near them and split a bunch of food and drank a lot of beer.  It was a nice restaurant although SMS and I saw a small, cute grill restaurant that we really want to go to next time.

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