Solo in Tokyo (Day 5): Tsukemen Kind of Night in Shinjuku

November 10, 2019

After that life-changing tour at KKDAY, our bus dropped us off on the same stop at Shinjuku. It was early evening already. I exchanged thank yous with Carl and then we parted ways (I hope he heard me say goodbye 😅). Then, I was alone again.

It was extra chilly that night. It was drizzling a bit, and the wind was blowing like crazy. I was uncontrollably shivering because of the sudden drop of temperature from the warm heater in the bus to the chilly city night air. I tried my best to continue walking to my next destination. I have planned to check out a ramen house a few streets away, and also to check out some drugstores along the way to search for the stuff I needed for my currently-healing tattoo (it was getting itchy like crazy). I stopped at two drugstores, walking along the aisles of body soap and lotion and searching for that specific brand that my tattooist recommended me. Finally, after several photo-shoving at the drugstore staff (showing them the product photo and brand name in Japanese) and blabbering 'doko desuka?', I finally found them! I'll give more details about the tattoo-healing routine that I followed on another post 😊.

Dinner at Menya Musashi
After walking for several more minutes under the drizzly and windy weather, I finally arrived at the ramen shop! I actually got confused for a bit because the entrance was not that obvious, and there were only Japanese characters in the signages. I had to check Google to verify if this was the place.

Imagine seeing this sign at a gloomy night in Tokyo. As always, Google saves the day. 😅(📷: Google Maps)
I folded my umbrella and placed it at the stand by the entrance. I noticed all of the other umbrellas placed there looked similar to mine. They say it's common incident in Japan to have your umbrellas stolen because people unintentionally grab the wrong one. Praying that it won't happen to me, I tied a knot with the button of my umbrella to mark it from the rest of the pile.

Upon entering, I recognized that the setup of the restaurant is similar with MendokoroGood thing I already had some ramen house experience. Upon spotting the ticket vending machine, I knew what I must do.

Good thing the vending machine had English menu. I survived. 🤟 I ordered Tsukemen and some black tea.
It was a busy Wednesday night. The place was almost packed. I felt comfortable with that, because that means I won't stand out. I think I was the only foreigner inside LOL. I spotted an empty chair and settled there. I then handed my ticket stubs to a staff, and eagerly waited for my order.

As more people arrived in the restaurant, the noisier the place became. There were lots of chattering and laughter here and there. I remember -- on my left, a guy and a gal were happily chattering, while there was a solo man on my right. At that point I thought it would have been fun to eavesdrop on their conversations. Too bad, my Japanese skill is not at par to do that.

When my order finally came in, I realized I ordered two tamago by mistake.😅 But meh, it's okay. I LOVE EGGS! This was my first time to eat tsukemen. I watched some videos over at Youtube on how to properly eat it and I was excited to finally do it myself. On a tsukemen, the noodles are separate from the soup. To eat it, you scoop some noodles with your chopsticks, dip it into the soup, then slurp up! 

On my first bite, I felt like rainbows and flowers bloomed around. It tasted so good 😌😍😙(I realized I might have been smiling dreamily while munching the noodles). I have not tasted anything like this. I was so happy at that moment.

I thought -- this is the reason I work hard in life: to be able to travel to places and experience good food like this.

This is the first and best tsukemen I've had. (please excuse those splatters of soup 😂)
The noodles' texture was something new to me. The flavor of the soup coats the noodles upon dipping and the taste was just a match made in heavenly taste buds. The meat also tasted so good (my heart is aching while writing this... I badly want to have this tsukemen again now). It's so tender and flavorful. And the eggs...😭 The yolk was just as soft as I liked it to be (I am really torturing myself now huhu I wanna teleport to Tokyo!!!)

Good thing I didn't eat that much throughout that day. This meal was heavy!

With a happy heart and a super satisfied tummy, I finished my meal. I didn't know what I should do with my bowl and stuff so I was waiting for others so I could observe. I saw one customer place the bowl on the counter top in front of him. So that's what I did. I wanted to say "thank you for the food!" but since I didn't know how, I just said a soft arigatou gozaimasu and went on my way outside the restaurant. 😅

I'm happy to confirm that my umbrella was still there. I opened it up and started walking towards the nearest subway station. It was still chilly. While strolling along the busy Shinjuku streets, I went all emo mode again and just contemplated on all the wonderful things that happened today. Everything were all slowly sinking in.

I'm now already half-way the dream sequence. I can't wait to share with you the rest of my experiences in this journey. ❤️ Stay tuned for the rest of my Tokyo posts!

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