This story takes place in the first week of my study abroad program. One of my goals going to Japan for the first time was to have a true "ramen experience." The only ramen I knew of at the time was the cup ramen and the packet ramen everybody in high school ate dry (still never understood that phase). I've seen ramen in Japanese dramas and anime, so I wanted to get a bowl of real ramen in Japan. This was before pocket wifi and sim cards were popular for your phone usage while traveling. I had to look for ramen the old fashion way.
I went out exploring the shopping district in Kyoto with a few classmates of mine. We first went to check out the huge department store we had passed on our tour of Kyoto. This store had about 8 floors to discover, including a floor that sold kimono and yukata. I didn't buy anything that day but one of my classmates bought a hat.
|The department store we went in before searching for ramen.|
|We took a wrong turn and ended up getting lost somewhere in the back streets.|
I told him to try again. He listened, but this time he extended the "a" sound, not to be correct but to emphasize that we were looking for "raamen." Once he said that, the girls looked like they finally knew what he was talking about. "Oh, raamen!" the girls said to each other. My friend turned back to me and the others in shock. We were just as shocked as he was. Who knew an extended sound would make the pronunciation correct. The two girls pointed in the direction ahead of us and told my friend the directions. He thought he understood most of it, but we ended up stopping at a 7-eleven to asked the clerk for further directions.
We finally found a place that sold ramen. It was a restaurant with a nice modern interior. The host brought us to our table and passed the menus. "I don't think this is the place guys," my friend said. All of us agreed that we had made a mistake somewhere trying to find the ramen place everyone was talking about. But it was getting late and we were very hungry, so we ended up staying at the restaurant and enjoying their beef ramen.
|Everyone with their bowl of ramen. First ramen experience in Japan.|
I hope you enjoyed this story. I really love telling this one to people because of how ridiculous it sounds. Even if you study Japanese and think you're really good at it, there is always room for more studying.
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