Saturday, August 21, 2010

69 'n' Roll One ramen, Machida

This place was mentioned on Ramen Adventures, and since we were already planning to poke around Machida for a few hours, it seemed like a good idea. It also seemed like it was easy enough to find from the station, so I didn't memorize the directions or bring a map. Don't make that mistake, unless you have someone reliable and keitai-enabled with you. The route winds around from the JR South exit (not Odakyu South, that's important), past closed factories...
and into a quiet neighborhood.
You'd want to go here for the name alone, right? It's known for simple, tasty soy-sauce soup, and I've been more and more appreciative of that genre recently. Plus, I mean, really, Rokku 'n' Roll!!!! Am I right? It's going to be like a rock 'n' roll party, or part of my rock and roll fantasy, or something like that. Your first clue that something is amiss will be when you get to the door and find...a bouncer. Who tells you that you can only use Y1000 notes in the machine.

Inside, the rock 'n' roll master awaits. He's dressed the part, with rockin' 50's style DA hair and a modern-retro rockabilly shirt.
He's got some posters that look like they might be for his band. So he's gotta be a rockin' guy, right? Setting up a party atmosphere and some tasty ramen?
A little less than that. He has a few rules. You already know one - Y1000 bills only, and don't ask for change inside the shop. Further, take a seat at the counter as soon as one opens up - if you came with someone, don't try to wait and sit next to them (the bouncer will come in to set you straight). When you're at the counter, don't talk on your phone. Don't even read. And finally - don't talk. Ever.
Seriously, it was eerily, ridiculously quiet in here. It's not a meditative, peaceful silence either - he really gives people the evil eye when they get to the counter, like "I dare you to talk. My bouncer is right outside, got it?" This might be worth it if the ramen was other-worldly. Before getting it though, you get to watch the master do the noodle-draining rock 'n' roll dance. Also, dig the quietude in this video, cat.

And then you get your salt ramen, which is interestingly livened up with mozuku (a slimy seaweed) and a slice of sudachi, a Japanese lime.

Or your soy ramen, the popular item, with a flavored egg in it. And what would you think, as you were meditating in the only-lightly-air-conditioned, mausoleum-silent interior? Well, you'd think that the soup was very good in exactly the expected style, and so were the noodles, and so was the egg. You'd think that the tiny sliver of pork was mostly fat, even if it was meltingly soft (and you'd be a little irritated that his rock 'n' roll lifestyle extended to cutting the pork with a $300 Glestain knife). You'd be interested and puzzled by the inclusion of a slice of chicken breast. You'd wait, you wouldn't remark on anything until later because the only permitted noises are slurping, air-conditioner whine, and gracious thanks when leaving. But you'd think that it was interesting that the pickled bamboo shoots are left in long strips, not cut into 2-3 inch pieces like they usually are. You'd probably want to drink all the soup, partly because it's good, but also in part because you went all the way out there, and suffered and sweated in silence, and you might as well get all possible enjoyment out of the experience.
But I think my dining companion (the one with the helpful mapping skills) summarized it best when she said the whole experience was "Fucking stupid." 

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