As our time is winding down in Tokyo we are in a mad dash to see those things that are still on our list of must-sees.
Thursday’s event was a trip to the CupNoodles Museum out in Yokohama. There is also one in Osaka but since I’d never been to Yokohama either, I decided to kill two birds with one Cup of Noodles.
We transferred at Shinjuku for the express train headed for Minatomirai and about 45 minutes later we were there at their very fancy train station/shopping center (see photo above). Following the signs for Queen’s Square we stopped and asked at the Info desk on the top level where to go. Whipping out a map, the young girl drew it out for us and pointed us out the door into the 90+degree (Fahrenheit) day. Ugh.
Exiting the A/C we were thrown into an area that looked very much like Odaiba—fun, family-oriented-theme-park-type stuff. We headed for the huge ferris wheel, and across the bridge next to it. About five minutes or so further down the wide thoroughfare we spied the very uninteresting looking building of the CupNoodles Museum on the other side of the four lanes of roadway. I’m guessing it’s usually much busier than it was on this hot Thursday afternoon because none of the rides were going, the amusement areas were all closed and there were very few cars on all of these big streets.
Anyway, we made a dash for the museum in hopes of finding A/C again.
Mission accomplished and admission is 500yen per adult. I think this buys you admittance to see a museum of sorts but we didn’t go to it. (I read somewhere that it was only in Japanese.) But we were there for one thing only. The making of our own personal Cup of Noodles! This requires a reservation as it sells out I understand. We were able to score space at the 2pm opening—which meant we had about ten minutes to get upstairs to the 3rd floor Ramen- and Cup-of-Noodle-making area. There are also Ramen making classes (these cost extra and reservations are also required), but we weren’t interested in those.
First there was this unforeseen Photo Op stop.
Then we headed up to the 3rd floor. For 300yen, you get a cup out of a vending machine.
Then after a quick explanation, and the handing over of the plastic lid, you are seated at tables and you can decorate them however you desire. The only requirements are no coloring beyond the red line or on the bottom or top of the cup.
It was like kindergarten art time!
Mine featured the words “Eat Me” and a Godzilla blowing fire on Tokyo!
When we were done, we went up to the soup ingredient assembly line. Handing over our cup to the nice lady, she put our cup on the noodle adding machine and allowed us to turn the handle the required 6 times to send it around the wheel and get the noodles dropped into the cup.
Then our cup was passed to the nice, smiling man who took our order for the soup flavor (I chose tomato and The Professor chose original), and then four dried ingredients. Me: green onions, egg, something green-which I think was seaweed, and corn. The Professor: pork bits, shrimp, garlic, and onions. We have one month to eat them if we decide to. The Professor says he’s not planning on eating his, but I’m not decided yet.
After choosing our ingredients, and stopping to let us photograph the ingredients, the nice man passed our cups with the lid now snapped on to the next nice lady, who showed us how she shrinkwrapped our cupofnoodles. After it shot out at the official CUPNOODLES Receiving Area, we were instructed to take the cup to the packing area.
The packing area is where you stick it in a plastic bag thing, blow it up by hand pumping, then tie a lovely red string to it for carrying purposes.
Then voila: we were immediately the proud owners of our very own carefully constructed cupofnoodles that is safely sealed, packed, and ready to go. All for less than $3.00US!!
We stopped for a photo op outside the restaurant area which is designed to look like an outdoor night market in Asia (according to the catalog).
I then went to the gift shop and bought a soon-to-be magnet of a small Cup of Noodles. For my 100yen, I got an amazing bag covered in words of wisdom and inspiration that cost way more than the 100yen I spent on my goofy souvenir.
Everything was class and designed to bring joy at this weird little museum, right down to the philosophic words on my gift bag. It opens with ‘there is no such things as “too late” in life’ (okay, well the grammar is a bit off, but it’s the message of inspiration I Iiked). It goes on to express how tenacity is the breeding ground for inspiration, how one should develop the habit of thinking up new ideas day and night and to never fall into complacence, and ends with the belief that the origin of all activities of human kind is related to food and “human beings are noodle beings”. See below for whole message.
All of that wisdom, career development, and life-living direction on a simple shopping bag. That was the best 100yen I ever spent. Whoa, mind blown!
Thank you Momofuku Ando (the man himself, who invented this empire) for providing some inexpensive fun in an often dark world. (If this were Disney, we’d have had to fork out a whole lot more money for all this fun! And I wouldn’t have gotten the free life advice either.)