The Ramen King And I : How The Inventor Of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life Part 16

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Dear Koki,

These days, we are gradually being warmed by more and more rays of the sun.I hope that you don't mind my writing in English. I read in Nikkei Business Nikkei Business magazine that you were once a student at Columbia University in Manhattan, so I figured it would be OK. magazine that you were once a student at Columbia University in Manhattan, so I figured it would be OK.It has been many months since the pa.s.sing of your father, and I wanted to begin by expressing my condolences. I was in the audience at Kyocera Dome Osaka for the funeral, and I could tell from your speech that your father meant a great deal to you. I had hoped to say h.e.l.lo, but I was the only one in attendance not wearing a black suit. I guess I was embarra.s.sed about that.By the way, I also read about the recent pa.s.sing of your half brother, Hirotos.h.i.+. I don't believe that you were close to him, but I offer condolences nonetheless.Like the other attendees at your father's funeral, I was grateful to receive, along with the complimentary packages of instant ramen, Thus Spake Momof.u.ku Thus Spake Momof.u.ku. Although I had already read nearly all of your father's books, many of the sayings were new to me, including "Flavor knows no borders"; "Live to the fullest, die to the fullest"; and "Don't promise anything too far in the future because tomorrow is the only thing you can never really understand." In your afterword to the book, you invited readers to contact you directly regarding any of the sayings, and that is the purpose of my correspondence.In particular, I am writing about the parenthetic note on page 183 that says, "Momof.u.ku Ando often asked about how to translate this saying into English, but not a single person could tell him."I would like to offer a proposal. How about "Mankind Is Noodlekind"?True, you won't find noodlekind noodlekind in an English dictionary, but I think most English speakers will understand it. As for what the saying means, I've been pondering that for a long time. I read your father's essay "Mankind Is Noodlekind" (if you will permit this translation), in which he points out that noodles are enjoyed by nearly all people on Earth. Still, I can't help wondering if he also intended a deeper meaning. in an English dictionary, but I think most English speakers will understand it. As for what the saying means, I've been pondering that for a long time. I read your father's essay "Mankind Is Noodlekind" (if you will permit this translation), in which he points out that noodles are enjoyed by nearly all people on Earth. Still, I can't help wondering if he also intended a deeper meaning.Recently, I rented an old episode of Go Forth! Air Wave Youth Go Forth! Air Wave Youth from a j.a.panese video store in San Francisco. Did you ever watch the show? The episode I rented was the one where the female host screams, "I wanna sing a duet with Yasir Arafat!" (You can also find the segment on YouTube). She flies to Gaza and, amazingly, gains entrance to the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader's compound. She's led into what looks like a conference room, where Arafat, clad in his trademark black-and-white kaffiyeh headdress, greets her in a warm embrace.Then she pulls out a portable karaoke machine and holds up a giant cue card with the lyrics to "Ladybug Samba"-the 1973 hit by the j.a.panese husband-and-wife duo Cherish-transliterated into Arabic. As you may know, the song is a favorite at j.a.panese weddings, and begins, "You and I, together in the land of dreams." The female host has rewritten it on the cue card as "Arafat and I, together in the land of dreams." Arafat stares at the cue card, but when the female host presses "play" on her karaoke machine, he doesn't sing along. A caption at the top of the screen says, "Take Two." The female host tries again, but still nothing from Arafat.The words "DUET FAILURE" flash across the screen, and the female host is ushered out of the building. Tears stream down her face. from a j.a.panese video store in San Francisco. Did you ever watch the show? The episode I rented was the one where the female host screams, "I wanna sing a duet with Yasir Arafat!" (You can also find the segment on YouTube). She flies to Gaza and, amazingly, gains entrance to the late Palestine Liberation Organization leader's compound. She's led into what looks like a conference room, where Arafat, clad in his trademark black-and-white kaffiyeh headdress, greets her in a warm embrace.Then she pulls out a portable karaoke machine and holds up a giant cue card with the lyrics to "Ladybug Samba"-the 1973 hit by the j.a.panese husband-and-wife duo Cherish-transliterated into Arabic. As you may know, the song is a favorite at j.a.panese weddings, and begins, "You and I, together in the land of dreams." The female host has rewritten it on the cue card as "Arafat and I, together in the land of dreams." Arafat stares at the cue card, but when the female host presses "play" on her karaoke machine, he doesn't sing along. A caption at the top of the screen says, "Take Two." The female host tries again, but still nothing from Arafat.The words "DUET FAILURE" flash across the screen, and the female host is ushered out of the building. Tears stream down her face.Remarkably, they are tears of joy. "I'm so happy," she says, pressing a portrait of Arafat to her cheek.Then she hugs members of her crew. "Thank you," she tells them. "Thank you."Your father's noodles were the product, as he said so often, of failure upon failure. But when he accepted his limitations, concepts like success and failure slipped away, and all that remained were steps on a sacred path. Is it possible that your father was trying to equate mankind to noodles in this way?I would be interested to hear your thoughts about what I have written, and if you're available, I would even to travel to j.a.pan to meet you.I imagine, though, that it might be difficult.

Praying that these sentiments have reached your heart, I am Andy Raskin

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Writing this book required the translation of many j.a.panese-language sources into English. With one exception, I performed the translations myself. The exception is material from Magic Noodles: The Story of the Invention of Instant Ramen Magic Noodles: The Story of the Invention of Instant Ramen ( (Maho no Ramen: Hatsumei Monogatari). Because Nissin published its own English translation (The Story of the Invention of Instant Ramen), I adopted the Nissin translation wherever possible. Occasionally, I made modifications for readability and accuracy.



In granting me permission to reprint the lyrics to his song "Ramen in the Morning" ("Asa kara Ramen no Uta"), Haruki Murakami allowed me to use my own translation. It is not an official translation of the song.

The comic book series with t.i.tles I translated as Emba.s.sy Chef Emba.s.sy Chef, Natsuko's Sake, Natsuko's Sake, and and Train Station Bento-Box Single Traveler Train Station Bento-Box Single Traveler were not yet published as paperback collections at the time I described a clerk showing them to me in a j.a.panese bookstore. I enjoy their t.i.tles and plot lines so much that I added them to that scene. were not yet published as paperback collections at the time I described a clerk showing them to me in a j.a.panese bookstore. I enjoy their t.i.tles and plot lines so much that I added them to that scene.

In one of the letters to Ando about my childhood, I described former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda dedicating World Series games to the memory of a friend. I searched for references that he did so, but I was unable to find any. Since the letter is a record of my memory, I left it as is.

I e-mailed Koki Ando an edited version of my letter to him, but I have yet to receive a response.

The names and identifying characteristics of some people and places appearing in this book (but not Zen's!) have been changed.

RAMENADVICE.COM

Have a problem with relations.h.i.+ps, career, or life in general? Perhaps the inventor of instant ramen can help.

If you think he can, submit a "Dear Momof.u.ku" letter about your problem at www.RamenAdvice.com. I will do my best to answer it based on the life and famous sayings of Momof.u.ku Ando.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book would not have been possible without support and encouragement I received from T. D. Allman, Don Bennett, George Birimisa, the Blurt Group, Carla Borelli, Katy Butler, Sean Chou, Jane Churchon, Emily Cohen, Jim D., Gary Drumn, Kelly Drumn, Helena Echlin, Daniel Fisher, Bill Herr, Judy Hisamatsu, Cindy Kano, Junko Kas.h.i.+yama, Tetsuo Kas.h.i.+yama, Gillian Kendall, Mikiko Kitajima, Yoko Kondo, Matt Kowalski, Yuriko Kuchiki, Archie LaCoque, Thais Lange, Mike Lenhart, Ellen Luttrell, Charlotte Melleno, Mariko Mikami, Gregg Miller, Michele Miller, Harris Moore Jr., Makobelle Niinuma, Zen Ohas.h.i.+, Yos.h.i.+mi Oiwa, Masa Okawa, Miho Okawa, Katherine Ozment, Pat Parker, Dan Pecoraro, Josh Quittner, Andrea Raskin, Thorina Rose, Rick Rutherford, San Francisco Writers' Grotto, Chiharu Shaver, Nancy Spector, Robert Stark, Danielle Svetcov, Manami Tamaoki, Robert Thomas, Jo Ann Thrailkill, Dale Walker, Meghan Ward, Tara Austen Weaver, Andy Weisskoff, and the Witch.

Thanks to my parents, Richard and Judy Raskin, who gave me everything, not least of all their blessing to tell this story.

Thanks to Cecile Moochnek, who listened every other Thursday. To call her a writing coach would be to fail miserably at communicating the value of what she does, which cannot be expressed in any language.

Thanks to Bill s.h.i.+nker and everyone at Gotham Books- especially my editors, Erin Moore and Jessica Sindler, who among many other things, helped me figure out what this book was about.

Thanks to my agent, Stuart Krichevsky, who served as proposal editor, permissions go-between, morale booster, and all-around consigliere. This book began as a 250-word submission to Stuart's agency, and it came to life only after he requested more.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

The publications below were helpful to me as source and background material. Unofficial translations of j.a.panese-language t.i.tles appear in parentheses.

BOOKS AUTh.o.r.eD OR EDITED BY MOMOf.u.kU ANDO

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Kiso Tengai no Ha.s.so Kiso Tengai no Ha.s.so ( (Conception of a Fantastic Idea). Kodansha, 1983. Kodansha, 1983.

Ando, Momof.u.ku (editor). Shoku Tarite Yo Wa Tairaka Shoku Tarite Yo Wa Tairaka ( (Peace Follows from a Full Stomach). Kodansha, 1985. Kodansha, 1985.

Ando, Momof.u.ku (editor). Men Rodo wo Iku Men Rodo wo Iku ( (Noodle Road). Kodansha, 1988. Kodansha, 1988.

Ando, Momof.u.ku (editor). Nihon Men f.u.kei Nihon Men f.u.kei ( (j.a.pan's Noodle Scene). Foodeum Communication, 1991. Foodeum Communication, 1991.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Kukyo kara no Da.s.shutsu Kukyo kara no Da.s.shutsu ( (How to Escape from Difficulty). Foodeum Communication, 1992. Foodeum Communication, 1992.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Shoku wa Jidai to Tomo ni: Ando Momof.u.ku Firudo Noto Shoku wa Jidai to Tomo ni: Ando Momof.u.ku Firudo Noto ( (Food Changes with the Times: Field Notes of Momof.u.ku Ando). Asahiya Shuppan, 1999. Asahiya Shuppan, 1999.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Maho no Ramen: Hatsumei Monogatari Maho no Ramen: Hatsumei Monogatari ( (Magic Noodles: The Story of the Invention of Instant Ramen). Nikkei Publis.h.i.+ng, 2002. Nikkei Publis.h.i.+ng, 2002.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. The Story of the Invention of Instant Ramen. The Story of the Invention of Instant Ramen. Nissin Food Products, 2002. Nissin Food Products, 2002.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Hyaku-sai wo Genki ni Ikiru Hyaku-sai wo Genki ni Ikiru ( (How to Live Happily to One Hundred). Chuo Koron s.h.i.+nsha, 2005. Chuo Koron s.h.i.+nsha, 2005.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Shokuyoku Reisan Shokuyoku Reisan ( (Praise the Appet.i.te). PHP Kenkyujo, 2006. PHP Kenkyujo, 2006.

Ando, Momof.u.ku. Ando Momof.u.ku Kaku Katariki Ando Momof.u.ku Kaku Katariki ( (Thus Spake Momof.u.ku ) ). Chuo Koron s.h.i.+nsha, 2007. Chuo Koron s.h.i.+nsha, 2007.

j.a.pANESE COMIC BOOKS (MANGA) Many of the following originally appeared as serial episodes in comic books and were later released as paperback collections. Citations refer to the first paperback collection in each series. Many of the following originally appeared as serial episodes in comic books and were later released as paperback collections. Citations refer to the first paperback collection in each series.

Has.h.i.+moto, Mitsuo. Tsukiji Uogas.h.i.+ Sandaime Tsukiji Uogas.h.i.+ Sandaime ( (Third-Generation Tsukiji Fish Market Man). Shogakukan, 2001. Shogakukan, 2001.

Is.h.i.+nomori, Shotaro. Hoteru Hoteru ( (Hotel). Shogakukan, 1985. Shogakukan, 1985.

Kariya, Tetsu, and Hanasaki, Akira. Ois.h.i.+nbo. Ois.h.i.+nbo. Shogakukan, 1985. Shogakukan, 1985.

Kenna, Mai, and Kato, Tadas.h.i.+. Za Shefu Za Shefu ( (The Chef). Nihon Bungeisha, 1985. Nihon Bungeisha, 1985.

Kube, Rokuro, and Kawai, Tan. Ramen Hakkenden Ramen Hakkenden ( (Ramen Discovery Legend). Shogakukan, 2000. Shogakukan, 2000.

Nis.h.i.+mura, Mitsuru, and Kawasumi, Hiros.h.i.+. Tais.h.i.+ Kakka no Ryorinin Tais.h.i.+ Kakka no Ryorinin ( (Emba.s.sy Chef). Kodansha, 2004. Kodansha, 2004.

Ogawa, Etsus.h.i.+. Chuka Ichiban Chuka Ichiban ( (Best Chinese). Kodansha, 2003. Kodansha, 2003.

Oze, Akira. Natsu no Kura Natsu no Kura ( (Natsu's Brewery). Kodansha, 2003. Kodansha, 2003.

Oze, Akira. Natsuko no Sake Natsuko no Sake ( (Natsuko's Sake). Kodansha, 2004. Kodansha, 2004.

Sakurai, Kan, and Hayase, Jun. Ekiben Hitori Tabi Ekiben Hitori Tabi ( (Train Station Bento-Box Single Traveler). Futabasha, 2005. Futabasha, 2005.

Takahas.h.i.+, Miyuki, and Taiga, Tos.h.i.+yuki. Nissin Shokuhin no Chosen Nissin Shokuhin no Chosen ( (The Challenges of Nissin Food Products). Bijinesusha, 1995. Bijinesusha, 1995.

Terasawa, Daisuke. Shota no Sus.h.i.+ Shota no Sus.h.i.+ ( (Shota's Sus.h.i.+). Kodansha, 2002. Kodansha, 2002.

Ueyama, Tochi. Kukkingu Papa Kukkingu Papa ( (Cooking Papa). Kodansha, 1986. Kodansha, 1986.

OTHER BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS Chang, Ling-yin. "Daughter of Noodle Mogul Plans to Wage Legal Battle," Taiwan News. Taiwan News. February 25, 2007. February 25, 2007.

Downes, Lawrence. "Appreciations: Mr. Noodle," The New York Times. The New York Times. January 9, 2007. January 9, 2007.

Hall, Kenji. "Remembering the Ramen King," BusinessWeek. BusinessWeek. January 7, 2007. January 7, 2007.

Haney, Robert E. Caged Dragons: An American P.O.W. in WWII j.a.pan. Caged Dragons: An American P.O.W. in WWII j.a.pan. Momentum Books, 1991. Momentum Books, 1991.

Hevesi, Dennis. "Momof.u.ku Ando, 96, Dies; Invented Instant Ramen," The New York Times. The New York Times. January 9, 2007. January 9, 2007.

Kunis.h.i.+da, Takuji. "Dokuso ni Ueru Osha" "Dokuso ni Ueru Osha" ("The King Who Hungers for Creativity"), ("The King Who Hungers for Creativity"), Nikkei Business. Nikkei Business. February 23, 2004. February 23, 2004.

Momof.u.ku Ando Instant Ramen Invention Museum, The (editor). Insutanto Ramen Hatsumei Monogatari Insutanto Ramen Hatsumei Monogatari ( (Instant Ramen Invention Story, Catalog to the Instant Ramen Invention Museum). Asahiya Shuppan/Nissin Food Products, 2000. Asahiya Shuppan/Nissin Food Products, 2000.

Moro-oka, Yukio. Kanda Tsuruhachi Sus.h.i.+ Banas.h.i.+ Kanda Tsuruhachi Sus.h.i.+ Banas.h.i.+ ( (Kanda Tsuruhachi Sus.h.i.+ Stories). Sos.h.i.+sha, 1986. Sos.h.i.+sha, 1986.

Murakami, Haruki. Yoru no k.u.mozaru-Murakami Haruki Asahido Cho Tampen Shosetsu Yoru no k.u.mozaru-Murakami Haruki Asahido Cho Tampen Shosetsu ( (Spider Monkey in the Night-Haruki Murakami Asas.h.i.+do Ultra-Short Fiction). Heibonsha, 1995. Heibonsha, 1995.

Ohas.h.i.+, Zentaro. Sugoi Yarikata Sugoi Yarikata ( (Wow Method). Fuso Publis.h.i.+ng, 2004. Fuso Publis.h.i.+ng, 2004.

Ohas.h.i.+, Zentaro. Sugoi Kaigi Sugoi Kaigi ( (Wow Meetings). Daiwa Shobo, 2005. Daiwa Shobo, 2005.

Smith, Patrick. "Ask the Pilot," Salon.com. January 19, 2007. January 19, 2007.

Unattributed writer. "Obituary: Momof.u.ku Ando," The Economist. The Economist. January 20, 2007. January 20, 2007.

Unattributed writer. "Ando Momof.u.ku San-nin no Tsuma to Igonsho" "Ando Momof.u.ku San-nin no Tsuma to Igonsho" ("Momof.u.ku Ando's Three Wives and Last Will and Testament"), ("Momof.u.ku Ando's Three Wives and Last Will and Testament"), Shukan Bunshun. Shukan Bunshun. February 1, 2007. February 1, 2007.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Raskin is a longtime NPR commentator whose essays have been heard on All Things Considered All Things Considered and and This American Life This American Life. He has written for The New York Times, Gourmet, Wired, Women's Health, The New York Times, Gourmet, Wired, Women's Health, and and Playboy Playboy (the j.a.panese edition). Andy holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a BS in computer science from Yale. Fluent in j.a.panese, he currently lives in San Francisco, where he is a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto. (the j.a.panese edition). Andy holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a BS in computer science from Yale. Fluent in j.a.panese, he currently lives in San Francisco, where he is a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto.

1.

A common ramen topping made from thinly sliced bamboo shoots. The similarity between this word and the j.a.panese p.r.o.nunciation of hammer hammer ("hanma") inspired Murakami to write the song. ("hanma") inspired Murakami to write the song.

The Ramen King And I : How The Inventor Of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life Part 16

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