Shuji Nakamura’s “Another Day for Ramen Shops”
There is a middle-aged man named Shuji Nakamura in Fukuoka. He updates his own columns on Facebook every single day. His messages, sometimes serious and sometimes full of barnyard humor, hit the nail on the head and attract lots of fans nationwide. Now Nakamura has started writing a series of essays about ramen on IPPUDO OUTSIDE. When you read his column, I’m sure you’ll want to grab somebody and go to some ramen place! (Editorial)
WORDS by SHUJI NAKAMURA
ILLUSTRATION by TAKOYAKIX
Special Thanks MARUHA NICHIRO CORPORATION
I like going to sushi restaurants for a date. You can say that’s my hobby.
I’m 55 years old, and I know I’m just a pitiful old guy. I look like an average guy with an average appearance. I’m a little heavier than average weight. If you evaluate me as total, maybe my score would be below average. To overcome the fear of being categorized as a “romantically challenged” man, I usually pick some fancy sushi restaurant (not one with a conveyor belt) when I ask a lady for a date. Of course, it’s my treat.
As you know, those fancy sushi restaurants have a downside, which is that they cost you lots of money. I don’t have to be afraid of being rejected when asking for a date, since everybody loves good sushi. However, the counter at a sushi restaurant is a world of fantasy for me. I don’t feel like it is real. You can never make a move on a lady when sitting at the counter of sushi restaurants. They say “Wow, that was awesome!” to praise the food and we just say goodbye for the night. It never ever happens. After all, I’m just a generous old man.
When you are an old man with a below-average score and go to a fancy sushi restaurant for a date, you end up like this. So I decided to tell the world that it’s my hobby. Economically it’s very illogical to have such a hobby. It’s a silly hobby of a man who experienced the bubble economy in the past.
Ramen dates rather than sushi dates
According to the “Fact-Finding Survey of Consumers on Ramen and Fried Rice” conducted by food manufacturer Maruha-Nichiro on 1,000 men and women aged 20 to 59, 65.5% responded that they “liked” ramen dates. On a gender basis, 63.6% of men and 67.4% of women answered that they liked going to ramen places for a date. Now what? Women are eager to ramen date.
The younger generation (not the bubble economy generation) is pretty satisfied with going to a ramen place for a date. They are comfortable with ramen rather than sushi. Going to a sushi restaurant for a date is ultimately inefficient and irrational.
A ramen shop is a perfect place for a date not just because it is reasonable. You can be yourself and see your date as she/he is, since it is such a casual place. You don’t have to play the peacock. The chart above shows the responses to the question “What way of eating ramen makes your love grow cold or makes you frown at your partner (spouse or lover)?” You can be very elegant, acting like a high class person at a sushi restaurant, but you can’t get away with it at a ramen shop. You know exactly their origin and identity once you see how they eat ramen. There is no fantasy about it. It is a real date.
Now I want to quote what Ebizo Ichikawa, a famous Kabuki actor, said in his book “Unseen Essential Things”. “No matter how bad you want to eat some cha-siu ramen, if you order the stir fried beansprout at a ramen shop, that’s what you get at the end. Most things move according to the words that you utter. That’s why you have to say that you love him/her with language.”
That sounds very convincing. Rather than trying to be elegant, you say that you love him/her straight from the heart at a ramen shop. How can it be energizing and have a revitalizing effect for tomorrow? Do you even have to ask? Nowadays, a ramen date is much hotter than a sushi date.
WORDS by SHUJI NAKAMURA
Born in Shiga Prefecture, the birthplace of Omi merchants (generally known as skilled merchants) in the early 1960s. After graduating from Ritsumeikan University’s Department of Economics, he entered a major production company. Nakamura established his own planning company, the Paper Company in 1994. While preparing nearly 150 project proposals a year night after night, he sharpened his mind and developed his special power. Building a good drinking relationship with people from lots of advertising agencies and companies, he has striven up to now. He can be described as a “planner” from top to tail.