Christmas in Tokyo — 6 Days of Ramen

25 Dec

First of all, HELLO! Second of all, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Let’s not even discuss how long it’s been since my last post. Actually, you should be happy. This means we are true friends!! Really. All my true friends know that sometimes Chrissy might go MIA (PS, I was about to use AWOL and when I randomly asked John what AWOL stood for again, he said, “well, absent without leave. But you probably mean MIA in whatever you’re trying to say.” God he’s a smug bastard I hate him.) Anyhow yes Chrissy might go MIA from time to time but it’s in our unwritten friend code that when I do return, we act like nothing happened, or give maybe one small comment before moving on (“you gave birth?”) (“aah sorry about your dog”) I make up for it in intense love when I’m there.

So, sorry about your dog, congrats on the baby, glad your new place is coming along nicely.

Anyhow, wake up, new mom! This is ramen:

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.33.45 AM

And this is how ramen makes me feel:

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Prease, let’s continue…

Sitting at home in New York, John and I debated where to go for Christmas. As his family Christmas would be the 22nd, we would get an entire week off to go wherever the hell we could dream up. For the past few years, we’ve gone to my parent’s house in Bangkok, where we have Christmas dinner with the neighbors, making everything we possibly could — fried chicken, pad krapow (thai holy basil chicken stir fry, one of my most favorite dishes ever), papaya salad, tacos (what? sometimes I see taco shells at the grocery store and want tacos okay), turkey (fuck ham, I eat ham for breakfast. literally. every morning.), stuffing, my mom’s scalloped potatoes, the list goes on and on…

But on Christmas Eve, don’t ask why I’m working backwards here, I don’t feel like copy/pasting and switching those sentences, we have our fancy dinner at the Bangkok Oriental Hotel. And I gotta say, I like our neighborhood Christmas better.

Anyhoo. “Where to goooo, where to go.” We debated Cabo for a bit. Nah, I like to be cold and still feel like it’s the holidays. Plus I want to eat. PLUS, I am COVERED in “sand flea” bites from my last job and would scar in the sun. When I say covered, I mean everything but my face. They…let’s just say they literally went into my ass crack.

We went to Tokyo a couple years ago, for New Years, and had some of the best food of our lives. Japanese BBQ, the most delicious Cantonese lunch I’ve ever had (and the only). Sushi. Ramen.  And since it’s been a rough year for me and well, eating (hence the less posting) I really wanted to just….not fucking care for a bit. Six days to be exact.

And so it was done. We arrived Monday night and despite sleeping the entire flight, went straight to bed. Tuesday we, of course, woke up around 4am and ordered spring rolls, a green salad, and seared tuna. Not bad, but all I wanted was ramen. And so it was decided. We would have ramen for lunch that day, and every single day after.

We don’t exactly have a schedule for this sort of thing, just our handy google search engine and the concierge but HOLY SHIT. Yesterday’s ramen was beyond anything I can really type out. I literally don’t have words that can accurately describe how good it was. But I have photos. And some words. So I will put them together to form a story fit for a 5 year old because that’s all my jetlaggy mind can muster…

Once upon a time, there was a person. And another person. “People”, some might say.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.28.40 AM

Those people loved food. Oh, how they loved food (I don’t know why this is in past tense just go with it)

So one day they decided to find the best ramen their little legs could find. And boy, did they do a good job. With the help of their concierge, they stumbled upon a place just a 15 minute walk from their hotel! Oh, how these lazy fucks loved this.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.31.03 AM

The place was called Kyushu-Jangara, and would forever live in their hearts as the best ramen they have ever had. It would also live in their minds as the place with an entrance like Dexter.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.31.20 AM

A small, neat little hole-in-the-wall with Japanese businessmen as far as the eye could see. Which was about 10 feet, then there was a wall and all. At just under 20 or so seats, the vibe was exactly how those 2 people had imagined. Order at the door, pay, sit, food within 5 minutes, smiling waiters, big mugs of ice cold beer. It was perfection.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.32.21 AM

They waited for their treasure while absorbing all this little place had to offer. Each little seat had a station with hot pickled ginger, hot pickled greens, vinegar, white pepper and hot chili spice. I also refer to these things as “shit I don’t care about.” I like my ramen just the way the chef wants me to like it. I call it…naked ramen.


Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.32.06 AM

I ordered the most popular ramen, the “Kyushu Jangara” (duh) — with a broth made from a mixture of pork bone stock, chicken stock, and vegetable stock. And due to a mistake that we would later decide was not a mistake at all but a blessing, I ordered John the “Kobonshan”. The Kobonshan was a regular, creamy pork bone stock with with a GENEROUS hit of garlic. It was, pardon my lack of words, EVERYTHING.

Ah I forgot I was telling this like a story ummmm so they were basically in heaven.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.36.28 AM

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While she looks pained, she is in fact just having a moment. You ever cry when you’re happy or overwhelmed? This is that.

They left after deciding to abide by the sign that had been in front of them as they were feasting. One of the few things they could actually understand.

Screen Shot 2012-12-26 at 6.37.07 AM


42 Responses to “Christmas in Tokyo — 6 Days of Ramen”

  1. @yasminlennie December 25, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I love you! Your posts always bring me so much joy. This post is just amazing thanks for sharing. Such food envy. PS. Merry Christmas

  2. Jean December 25, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Looks soooo yummy!!!!! Merry Christmas!!!!!!

  3. miss143 December 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    it has come to my attention Johns performing in Vegas, Id reeeeeeallly love to meet you.

  4. Jeffrey Goldings December 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Chrissy, I am pleased to learn John and you enjoyed a delicious Ramen feast in Tokyo over your Christmas vacation. It sounds like the trip to Tokyo and the Ramen feast was the appetizing break you needed from a stressful year.
    Did you catch any music such as live jazz at the Blue Note or engage in any karoke competitions with John at a karoke bar in Tokyo? Did you take any siteseeing trip outside of Japan to do some siteseeing of Japanese temples and gardens? What other notable restaurants in Tokyo did you hit on your ramen feast?
    All the best for safe, joyous and healthy conclusion to your Ramen journey in Tokyo and a peaceful trip home to New York. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.–Jeff

  5. John Hoffman December 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    Give my props to John. That’s one cool dude that is very confident in who he is and where he’s going. Your tweets always bring a smile, sigh, hmmm, ugh…keep ’em coming. Have a healthy and happy New Year! #buckeyenation

  6. nfl76 December 25, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    Sounds like you realllllllyyyyy enjoyed yourself! You deserve it! Hope this coming year is better than the last. Where did you stay in Tokyo? Also, did you ever find those robes for John? I can’t find any “plus sized” robes for my massive boyfriend. Thanks! Quit going all AWOL on us, I love this blog! Merry Christmas!!

  7. shellbell December 25, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    Me.want. Sorry, just speaking like a 5 year old. 😉

  8. thestarlightwritings December 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    All I have to say is…wow, I just found an awesome new blog! : )

  9. Bobby Tumpak (@btumpak) December 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    you look like you are wearing a burka in that one pic hahah love ramen!

  10. On life and stuff December 25, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    Now I want ramen. 😀

  11. Denise Miller (@IrieDame) December 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    Merry Christmas!

  12. Cel December 25, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    I love your life 🙂 it is amazing, wishing you a happy and healthy 2013 🙂 x

  13. Ralph December 25, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Is that the little place just down the block from the Peninsula Hotel ? There are so many great hole in the wall places in Tokyo. You made a good choice for a winter holiday.

  14. Candice December 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Oh, I really like story time with Chrissy. And I imagine that ramen is the stuff dreams are made of.

    Merry Christmas! Safe travels

  15. Katie December 25, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    You always make me laugh! Love your blog and love you and John, both! Merry Christmas!

  16. Algerine December 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm #

    I live in Japan and I love it!!!! The food is great!!!

  17. elisewins December 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm #

    I too love ramen. The asian market ramen is my fave since I have yet to go to Tokyo.

  18. KateSouth December 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Oh, Lordy. Good ramen is a heavenly experience, and that ramen you were eating looks so damn good.

  19. B December 26, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Merry Christmas chrissy! WOW! Would love to know what foundation and blush/bronzer you’re wearing! It’s so pretty!

  20. SLS December 26, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    Hot damn, what a week this will be

  21. Kayti Clayton December 26, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    I hate you for rarely posting – but forgive you because your posts are usually worth it. Now it’s midnight here in good old fucking Snohomish County and I want some damn Ramen.

  22. Rebecca December 26, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    THANK YOU for the Christmas gift of a blog post and trip down memory lane. I was fortunate to visit Tokyo once and LOVED IT. If I won a trip to anywhere, I’d choose Tokyo. Your “hole in the wall” looked so familiar I can just close my eyes and be there again.

  23. MLew December 26, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    My husband and I ate in the same seats as you on our honeymoon two months ago! We went there 4 times. If the friendly guy is working, he hooks you up with shredded kakuni… fo freeee!

  24. Nathalie December 26, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    oh yes! Yes and yes! I woke up this morning and saw your post! I was ready to laugh. No disapoitment here. I laughed. And now at 9.30AM in Belgium… ME TOO I WANT A DAMN RAMEN! #foodlovers

  25. Lolo December 26, 2012 at 4:40 am #

    Damnnn I love this blog…you’re the best Chrissy, john’s too!!! Love you guys. Bisous de Paris

  26. Carla December 26, 2012 at 7:57 am #

    You guys are totally cool! Enjoy it while you can! Soon maybe babies????

    • Jane December 26, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

      Wow… “Soon maybe babies”…. Just. Wow. Last I heard about this, they’re still engaged and you’re already commenting about babies. Life no worth living if no child. Wow. I’m sorry, this is a bitchy comment. I apologize, still posting it, but I apologize. Wow.

  27. Amanda S. (@attheredtable) December 26, 2012 at 8:43 am #

    So, now I want ramen…but it’s not even 8 am here in Omaha, NE. Also, your comment about the ramen place having an entrance like Dexter — totally on the mark and cracked me up!

  28. Dominick S. December 26, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Ha, awesome…Happy Holidays to you both…we are envious of your ramen!

  29. hallucinatingmartyr December 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  30. lb December 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    This is totally unrelated to the ramen post (that ramen looks amazeballs by the way). But, I recently had a dinner party and jacked a LOT of your recipes…that roasted bacon chicken (sans bacon), string beans, creamed corn, those carrots…GIRL. YES. THANK YOU! I spent the best couple of hours in my kitchen, following the directions, playing John’s (first name basis and all) Once Again album and sipping wine (before the meal…I was nervous…I had 8 people coming over for dinner). I am a believer, you got me. That food was the Happy holiday’s and thanks!
    **scrolling through the archives for more food and ignoring my grumbling stomach**

  31. Linda December 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    F I N A L L Y.

  32. holdstillnow December 26, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    Have you ever seen “Tampopo”? It is a “noodle western” made in 1985, about a young widow and her ramen shop. It is the best food movie ever made.

  33. bl4q (@bl4q) December 27, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    omg i am soooooooooooo jealous!!!

    there’s a really good ramen place in my city that’s just like that… barely anyone knows about it but it’s such a gem! i’m craving some so badly right now!!!!!! xoxo

  34. Chelsea December 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    What make-up do you use? so pretty!

  35. moc December 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

    David Chang did an episode all about ramen on his show “mind of a chef” on PBS. He went to some ramen shop at the train station in Tokyo. It was suppose to be the best ramen EVER.

  36. Venice December 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    Monta Ramen…off the strip good eats when you’re in vegas!😉

  37. Lindsay December 28, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Non ramen related- Where did you get that hat? I need it.

  38. Amy (@mzpinkpanda) December 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    you’re awesome. and hilarious. ramen rules.

  39. Amy Chang April 16, 2014 at 2:10 am #


    I just discovered this blog, and I love it! You are a smart, beautiful, witty person, and John Legend is amazing as well. Your writing is so refreshing, it’s a perfect combination of witty, open-minding, introspective, humble and tastefully crass that is very relatable! Your description of your different moods is so spot on, and my husband knows exactly what to do to make me happy as well. I hope you find time to continue to blog, because I know there are other people out there who really enjoy it!


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