1. Swimming in Sweden
We connected with Catherine today and were invited to go swimming at the Swedish Embassy. The invitation was too good to pass up because, what?! Taylor and I threw our swimsuits in our backpacks with the assumption that "go swimming at the Swedish Embassy" was not a euphemism for some weird Japanese sexual fetish. It was hard to comprehend why an embassy has a pool, much less one that is open to complete strangers. We tend to think of government buildings as being pretty secure, but that's apparently not the Swedish way.
The reason they have a pool, and the reason we were invited, is because there's a number of young interns who live there and Catherine has befriended a few. One of the perks of being an intern at the embassy is access to the gym facilities, which include a squash court, some exercise machines, and a lovely pool! We spent a few hours there swimming and talking with the embassy kids (who were more or less our age). And if you subscribe to the belief that embassy soil is that of the motherland, than embassy water should be no different, so we swam in Sweden!
|Sven Hedin" rather than "Marco Polo"?|
The conversation was so good that we nearly missed the last train back to Tsunashima. For whatever reason, the Tokyo rail system closes at midnight, so when the clock struck 12 and we began to turn back into pumpkins, we rushed out the gates of the embassy and made a mad dash for the station.
2. Finding mini putt in Hawaii
Our morning was spent in Yokohama and we
stumbled across a mall (not a surprise in Japan). For whatever reason, this mall was almost exclusively Hawaiian goods and establishment. The Japanese love Hawaii, so it made sense, and I was delighted to find this gem from my last trip to Hawaii:
|Great donut shop I discovered when last I was in the Aloha State.|
For those who do not know, Taylor and I are mini putt connoisseurs, so stumbling upon a 27 hole course atop one of Yokohama's tallest buildings was clearly a sign from the almighty.
|Let he who is without sin take the first tee shot.|
It was a pretty intense game, and as you can see from the score card, I completely destroyed Taylor*:
|*with the exception of the 15th hole|
3. The Cup Noodles Museum
While the day closed with a fantastic new experience, we could have called it quits after our first adventure and been completely content. And not just with our day, but our lives. On the train to Yokohama we decided to look up what the hell to do (we just went on a whim) and were delighted to discovery there was a museum of Cup Noodles. "Well that's gotta be silly" we thought, but never in our wildest dreams would we have thought, "Well that's gotta be a beautiful and enlightening experience."
It became apparent as soon as we stepped in the door that we were in store for a lot more than we had expected:
|Taylor contemplating why a noodle museum requires such a grand entrance|
|Realizing we were in store for something amazing|
From the foyer, we ascended up the stairs to a room straight out of Kraftland, which displayed the history of Cup Noodles packaging:
|If you celebrate Ramen-dan then this is Mecca|
|I can get down with that|
The next stop of our tour was the screening room, where we enjoyed a twenty-five minute film about the history of Cup Noodle. An animated version of the creator/savior, Momofuku Ando, took us back in time and shared his numerous revelations about making Cup Noodle. You would be mistaken to think that this was simply a cradle to the grave story about one man's noodle empire. It was an enlightening cinematic experience. Momofuku taught us his six key ideas:
1. Discover something completely new
2. Find hints in all sorts of places
3. Nurture an idea
4. Look at things from every angle
5. Don't just go with the status quo
6. Never give up
|The Momofuku theater of enlightenment|
|Walking through a life-sized replica of Momofuku's work space.|
|Step 1: Buy cup|
|A virgin Cup Noodle|
|Step 2: Sanitize hands|
|Step 3: Apply Momofuku's teachings|
|My cup in the making|
|Coming together quite nicely|
|Step 4: Add noodles to cup|
|Step 5: Add ingredients (green beans, corn, garlic chips and bacon!)|
|Step 6: Create Cup Noodle caring purse|
|Step 7: Wear with pride|
Taylor had been to the Ho Chi Minh museum earlier in his travels and conceded that The Cup Noodles Museum as well as learning all about His Holiness Momofuku was a far more enlightening and educational experience. Just look at the great men that Momofuku has decided he is in the company of:
|Soichiro Honda, Babe Ruth, Albert Einstein, Galileo Galilei, Henry Ford, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Momofuku Ando.|
|The man. The legend. The creator.|
Below is a video showing an excerpt from the Momofuku story as well as this room in the museum:
|A miniature forest is illuminated, casting shadows on the wall|
Momofuku, you are a wise man.
For more on Momofuku's teachings, please see this gift shop T-shirt: