Year in Japan

Just kidding with that title, but the restaurant I went to the other day was great (for me) – it was totally geared towards a quiet, solitary eating environment – i.e. heaven.

It’s a chain of ramen shops called ichiran (一蘭), and the whole process is as follows:

1. Pay for your food – Buy a ticket from the machine, buy additional tickets for add-ons like extra noodles, beer etc.

2. Be shown to an empty seat – you get told a number that corresponds to a booth, and you just take a seat. And when I say booth, you have 2 partitions either side of you,

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Pictured: after eating

and you’re facing this thing

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3. State your preferences – fill out the piece of paper in your booth, it lets you choose various things about the ramen you want

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and so on. Once you’ve filled it out, press the button in your booth, and the shutter opens halfway up, with a very polite waiter who says “Thank you for your order, there will be a short wait until your food is ready”, and then promptly closes the shutter.

4. Receive your food – after a bit the waiter appears again, but this time with food!

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5. Eat your food – this is the most important part, don’t forget to do this.

6. Leave

So you might be thinking – ‘but surely there isn’t enough demand for solitary diners to make this whole thing work efficiently, especially in a tourist-y area like downtown Osaka?’

Well you’d be damn right, when i went there it was chocked full of groups of 2-3 people each, which sort of negates the point behind the restaurant, but it was still super fun 🙂

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