Open lid. Pour powder from the packet into cup. Pour hot water. Close lid. Wait for three minutes. Open lid again and have a quick and hot filling cup of instant ramen.
This was how I was introduced to ramen. Since our comforting noodle soups here in the Philippines are of the batchoy and mami varieties (both must-tries if ever you find yourself in the Philippines), my first slurp of the Japanese noodle soup was from a styro Nissin Cup. I didn’t love it but I thought it was genius. No cooking involved! It’s like being 16 and letting that boy you sort of like hold your hand just because you think holding hands is the best thing ever. (That’s acceptable behavior, right?) And then you get to taste the real thing. Authentic ramen from its motherland, fresh noodles, broth that has been deliciously boiling for hours, mouthwatering slices of chashu, the seductive aji tamago… And you fall in love.
On the trip to Japan last March, we made the pilgrimage to Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum. As the name suggests, it’s a museum dedicated to instant noodles and cup noodles and to its creator Momofuku Ando. For all my current indifference to instant ramen, I have to admit, it has provided many bellies (mine included) sustenance in a fast and cheap way. We had to pay our respects! Also, my husband likes the stuff to this day.
Located in Osaka, the museum is around a five-minute walk from Ikeda Station (directions below). We went there on a Sunday and the streets leading to the museum were quiet, empty, and in typical Japanese fashion, very clean. There was just a number of families coming from the museum (the giveaway was that they were lugging around the plastic bag with the instant ramen cup). When we got inside, there were even more families–Japanese parents with their little ones in tow. I guess, the education about instant ramen has to start early on. Continue reading →
One of many things I loved in the trip to New York City was the amount of walking you could do almost anywhere. I arrived on a Tuesday afternoon and as the cab crawled through Manhattan to the hotel (while I gawked out the window and tried to take in every block we passed), I couldn’t wait to get off the taxi, throw my luggage in the hotel, and start exploring the streets. It took more than 8,600 miles to get there, I wasn’t going to waste any time. After checking in, answering office emails, and resisting the strong urge to sleep at five in the afternoon, I walked. Because most of the streets of Manhattan are mapped out like a grid, it was easy to walk around, look at every block, every townhouse or brownstone, every sidewalk, and find my way back to my hotel–that is after taking in an embarrassing amount of photos of aforementioned blocks, townhouses, brownstones, sidewalks (while not letting the pile of garbage bags lining said sidewalks get in the frame). My husband, who takes an inordinate number of photos in our trips would be proud.
You should also know that I have an unhealthy obsession with New York’s rowhouses and brownstones. In an alternate universe I imagine myself living in one along with a couple of puppets (I blame my childhood years watching hours of Sesame Street for this entirely)
After the official business part of the trip was done and I could actually sleep for more than two hours straight, a friend from high school who’s now working in New York accompanied me to the two museums I wanted to see and spent the afternoon walking with me around Central Park. I took the no. 6 train to 86th Street in the morning and from there walked to the Met where we met up, walked to Central Park, headed to MoMA, to Magnolia Bakery at the Rockefeller Center, down to Times Square to her husband’s office, and then to 33rd Street to take the train back to their apartment. There’s a lot of walking to be done in New York City. And this was just on a Friday. Continue reading →
It’s the great pumpkin! (The iconic Yellow Pumpking by Yayoi Kusama, photo from Japan-Guide.com)
Before I knew her name, I knew of her art. Well, one of her works at least, the Yellow Pumpkin.
I remember watching a travel documentary years back featuring an island in Japan with a wide collection of modern art–one of which was this striking polka-dot yellow pumpkin sitting by the beach. The island was Naoshima and the artist, I found out just a month ago was Yayoi Kusama.
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The husband went to New York City last month for work and I promised myself that I’m not even going to gripe here about not being able to join him. Damn that–okay, no griping.
I’ve always wanted to see New York. Blame it on all the movies and TV series that had it as a scene-stealing backdrop. So when P got home, it wasn’t the bag of DVDs or bags he got for me that I immediately went for, it was the SD card in the camera that I wanted to see. While he unpacked, I think I spent hours looking at every single photo he took around the city.
I particularly liked the photos of the Museum of Modern Art and not just for the amazing or intriguing artwork, but how people were drawn to them (or in some cases, ignored by them).
Who can blame him for taking a break by the bed
Wonder what she was looking at
Starting them young
Getting sucked in
Man and woman
Pollock and women
Ever since it opened more than a decade ago, I’ve always wanted to see Pinto Art Gallery up in the hilltop town of Antipolo. It’s only 25 kilometers away from Manila, but I never got around to it–not until a few months ago. Procrastination, memory lapse, and the constant distraction of doing something else may have all played a role–as with many things on my shame-inducing to-do list.
But moving on…finally, I got to see it courtesy of the husband’s magazine assignment to take a recently-hatched day tour around the city by two of its residents. The tour features stops at the Antipolo Cathedral, an eco park, a mountain resort, Crescent Moon Cafe, and the highlight of the trip (at least for me) Pinto Art Gallery.
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