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Kanji Cheat Sheet: Using the Ramen Ticket Machine in Japan

Because the longer it takes you to order ramen, the longer it takes to eat it.

By 2 min read

One of the greatest things about Japan is the country’s near-limitless ramen options. Between the wide variety of regional styles and toppings, you could eat a different bowl every day if you really wanted to.

There’s cold ramen to chill you out during summer and even vegan ramen if you’re into that. Some people prefer tsukemen, noodles you dip in a separate bowl of broth, while others love abura soba, ramen with little to no broth. Practically every ramen shop boasts an original recipe, so you may as well try them all.

Photo:
Roasted miso ramen from Sapporo. Mmmm.

That being said, it can be a chore ordering your ramen of choice without knowing Japanese. Thankfully, with Japan being the Blade Runner-esque future country of tomorrow that it is, most ramen shops have simple and easy to read machines that let you order their delicious noodles with the simple push of a button. Yes. That is what constitutes living in Blade Runner in my world.

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Ramen in the machine

Once you make your order, a ticket will pop out. Just hand it over to the chef, and in a couple of minutes, you’ll be wharfing down noodles and slurping like a native.

English Japanese Romaji
Ramen らーめん ramen
Cold dipping noodles つけ麺 tsukemen
Miso ramen 味噌ラーメン miso ramen
Soy sauce ramen 醤油ラーメン shoyu ramen
Salt-based ramen 塩ラーメン shio ramen
Chicken ramen 鶏ガララーメン torigara ramen
Spicy Sichuan-style ramen 担々麺 tantanmen
Chilled noodles 冷やし中華 hiyashi chuka

Now, the last thing you want to do is hold up the line because you want to use this as an opportunity to study Japanese.

The hungry band of salarymen behind you can only passive-aggressively sigh so much until the cook comes from behind the counter to assist you. Then you’ll end up pointing at pictures on the wall, and grunting kore (this) like you’re Disney’s Tarzan.

Ramen toppings (and beer)

Any good ramen enthusiast knows how important toppings are. The flavor can change considerably depending on what’s put in the bowl. There are tons of different toppings, but here is a quick list of the classics. May as well order an ice-cold beer on the side while you’re at it.

English Japanese Romaji
Marinated egg 味付玉子 or  味玉 ajistuketamago or ajitama
Roasted pork チャーシュー chashu
Bamboo shoots メンマ menma
Green spring onion 青ネギ aonegi
Seaweed 海苔 nori
Draft beer 生ビール nama bi-ru

Read the full article on GaijinPot Study!

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