The Search for Ramen in Shanghai

If you like Japanese ramen, then you’ll appreciate how difficult it is to find good Japanese ramen outside of Japan.

Well, now I’m in Shanghai, and there are 50,000 Japanese living here long term. There are more than 100,000 if you include those Japanese that are frequently in and out on short business trips.

So, there’s gotta be good ramen here right? Right? Well @mrsjapannewbie and I have been hunting, and we’re getting close.

Super modest store front

The name of the place was 維心, and here is the address in Chinese.
天山路762号泓鑫时尚广场地下2楼

The soup was very good. The gyoza was great. The other ingredients were excellent. The chashu meat was awesome, and the egg was great as well.

Nice Bowl.

The only complaint I had about the dish was that the noodles were a bit thick for my liking. However, @mrsjapannewbie said that even though they were thick, they were still good.

The atmosphere was nice as well. Most of the other customers were Japanese, and they even have a rack of Japanese comic magazines that a few customers were reading as they enjoyed their ramen alone. We learned about this place from a Japanese friend, so we figured it would be pretty legit.

So far, I would say it’s the best Japanese ramen I have had outside of Japan. Please note though, I have never eaten Japanese ramen in New York. I hear they have some pretty nice joints.

Gyoza!
Click to enlarge
We were there at about 9pm, not so many customers.

Unbelievable! Old School Japanese Slang

Today I attended a wine tasting party and there happened to be tons of old-school Japan hands there along with their respective Japanese wives. It was a little awkward being the youngest dude in the room by an entire generation, but it was cool to hear their stories.

One man had lived in Japan in the 70s, and he shared many interesting stories. One of the stories that he introduced included this really cool Japanese slang term.

This is a real word. This Japanese is REAL. WHY would I make this up!?

アン信じられラブル
un-shinjirare-raburu

Did you hear that??

信じられない (shinjirarenai) is I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. In Japanese.
Combine that with UNBELIEVABLE. And you get the barely pronounceable アン信じられラブル. OMG. I can hardly contain myself. This is SO COOL.

If you don’t believe me, click here to see アン信じられラブル in the wild.

That’s so awesome. Work with me. Let’s bring アン信じられラブル back.

A Poem by Misuzu Kaneko

Kaneko Misuzu

One of my good friends told me to check out this poem by Kaneko Misuzu [wiki] quite some time ago, and I finally got around to it. The poem is short and sweet, and not too difficult, so you can use it as a study tool as well. I have provided a simple translation below.

金子みすゞ

わたしが両手をひろげても
お空はちっともとべないが、
とべる小鳥はわたしのように、
地べたをはやくは走れない。

わたしがからだをゆすっても、
きれいな音はでないけど、
あの鳴るすずはわたしのように
たくさんなうたは知らないよ。

すずと、小鳥と、それからわたし、
みんなちがって、みんないい。

My weak translation. I have paid little attention to style. I have no skill in poetry, that’s my excuse.

Even if I spread wide both my arms
I cannot fly in the sky at all
but, that little bird that can fly
cannot run quickly on the ground like I can.

Even if I shake my body,
I cannot make it produce a pretty sound.
But that ringing bell
doesn’t know a lot of songs like I do.

The bell, the little bird, and then me.
We’re all different, but we’re all wonderful.

Japanese Calendar Converter for iPhone


I’ve had this app for a while now. It’s simple, but useful, and free!

The title is, “Gengou Free” By Masayuki Akamatsu.

It converts the year counting system you’re used to, like 2011, into the Japanese system which is like 平成 (Heisei) 23.

You know how when you’re filling out some form at a service counter Japan, you’re doing alright filling out your 名前 and your 住所 like a rock star, the staff are complimenting your awesome Japanese skills, and then suddenly the form asks for the year you first moved to Japan or something using the Japanese emperor system? And you’re all like… what?! 知るかそんな!It’s 2001 but I dunno what that is in 平成! But you’re too embarrassed to ask… cause you know, you’re rock star. So then you star sweatin’.

No more! Just whip out this app and you’re good to go!

Convert Years!

Good stuff!

Air-conditioned Clothing

This 空調服 company has created a line of products that use a low amount of energy to keep us cool in the humid summer months. How do they do it? To put it simply, the clothes and other products incorporate a battery-powered fan.

What? What’s that you say? You ask why their website URL is www.9229.co.jp?

Let’s have a momentary language geek-out session.

The number nine is 九 (kyuu, also pronounced ku).
The number 2 is 二 (ni, or 二つ futatsu).
The company name, 空調服 (kuuchoufuku)
So… 空(9 ku)調(?)服(2 fu, 9 ku).
See? The numbers sound like the name of the company. Not sure about the second 2 though… What is that?? Someone help me out.

This video shows one of their jackets. When it’s hot, flip the switch on, zip up your jacket (zip up when it’s hot?? Yes.) and enjoy the cool breeze.

This video shows the 空調座布団 (kuuchou zabuton). A zabuton is the cushion that many Japanese use to sit on when sitting on the floor, or to place on a chair for added comfort. The fan and airway will prevent your nether regions from getting all sweaty. Don’t you hate it when they get sweaty?

There is a twitpic posted by @mayanoko that shows some 空調服 in the wild.

Kuuchoufuku in the wild

Don’t want to spend the money to buy one of these excellent jackets? Well, this guy figured out that you can make your our 空調服 in your home. All you need is a fan.

Be sure that your cat doesn’t get in the way, and that the fan blades don’t chop off your ちくび though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0Q-tAtuDiU

Here is another video of 空調服 in action.

Here is a guy actually doing work wearing 空調服.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8FAjiOdR20

This guy says that the 空調服 is so nice that he might even wear it on the train on the way to work.

I could use one of these here in Shanghai. It’s brutally humid here!