I had a hell of a time getting from Narita airport to my Airbnb in Tokyo. I’m not sure exactly where I went wrong — I had the stops for each of my transfers written down, and it all seemed straightforward enough. But somehow it went horribly awry, and I found myself staring at the almost comically complex criss-crossing lines of the Tokyo metro, wondering where I even was, or where I needed to go.
I’m still not entirely sure that I understand what’s what, but I think there’s actually more than one company that runs trains in the Tokyo metro, which means not all maps will have all the lines, and that it’s possible to buy a ticket for the right destination but the wrong line. It’s ridiculously confusing.
But I did eventually get to my Airbnb, where I discovered that there’s a ramen shop just steps away — so of course I went and got a bowl of ramen, and it was like all of my worries evaporated into the ether.
Ordering couldn’t have been easier — there’s a machine by the door, and you just pick what you want, insert your money, and you get a ticket that you hand to the guy behind the counter. You sit at the bar, and a few minutes later, you’re handed a steaming bowl of noodlely, soupy goodness.
It was amazing. The noodles were chewy and perfect, and the broth had an amazing richness and a downright impressive depth of flavour. It was so good that I temporarily forgot how hot it was and wound up burning my tongue pretty badly. Totally worth it.
Plus, though I’ve never quite understood the point of the nori sheets in ramen (other than as a decoration), these ones were heartier and more flavourful than what they serve at home, and actually complemented the ramen quite well.