Archive for the 'Otaku Diary' Category

[Soshi] Oita Horaiken


There is no way in the world I could ever compete with Nate, the ultimate Waseda ramen junkie; and I would probably never describe myself as a ‘ramen-expert’ or ‘huge ramen fan’ as some people do, erroneously simplifying tsukemen as “dry ramen”. But there’s one thing for sure, I do like me a good bowl of ramen.

My dad’s a bigger ramen junkie than I am, physically and philosophically. How else could you beat a man who tries to replicate the ramen he’s eaten, and bring his ramen-loving daughter out to every possible ramen store back home in Singapore? I still remember very first real introduction to tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen back in 2000. Led by my father into the snaking alleyways of Shinjunku (it’s a miracles that I remember that it was actually in Shinjuku, but the iei-kei, family-style, ramen left that much of an impression on me), the family sat down, in a reasonably crowded hole in the wall and we all wolfed down steaming bowls of chaa-shuu ramen. Until that day, I had never known what real chaa-shuu ramen tasted like. And I have never forgotten the taste. Now I will admit that that was never the best ramen I had. But at that particular point of time, with my teeth sinking into gorgeously marbled pieces of chaa-shuu and letting the fat slide over my tongue, I was sold. One day I’m going to find that store, and eat there again. I’m going to tell the cook, “I am your ramen ten years ago and I never looked back.”

But nostalgic gastronomical crushes aside, Oita Horaiken‘s hearty (and by that I mean cardiac arrest inducing) Kyushuu-style ramen has taken first place as my favourite Baba (short for Takadanobaba, the district I live in) ramen joint. This is after I tried Ippudou Ramen‘s (一風堂ラーメン) world famous bowl. There’s just something about Ippudou that doesn’t do it for me. It probably has something to do with the fact that it’s simply not rich enough to compare with Oita Horaiken’s, that for the same amount of money, I can actually not eat for a whole day. Don’t get me wrong Ippudou’s an awesome recommendation but when I want to have a real meal, I’m heading to Oita Horaiken.


Finding Oita Horaiken happened by chance. I was out with a bunch of my Singaporean buddies looking for a place to eat (we decided: no Curry, because I had eaten curry every alternate day for the past week — I’m sorry, I do love curry a whole bunch — and something that was warm and soup) and chanced upon Oita Horaiken. Their huge testosterone filled signs (because really, you have to be a man to eat this daily!) with heavy brush-strokes caught our eye immediately as we wandered from street to street and finally caught a whiff of their tonkotsu broth. It also didn’t hurt that they had a time-service offer of gyoza for 100yen!

With such good bargains and good food, it’s no surprise that we had a 10 minute wait to simply get into the place. Most of the group picked out the house-recommendation of yaki-buta ramen (焼豚ラーメン, roast pork ramen) while I decided to go for the jugular and order a cha-shuu banchou (チャシュウ番長, The Boss of Chaa-Shuu) with a gyoza side. And man, was I rewarded. I haven’t eaten at Ramen Jiro‘s yet, but seeing this bowl full of pork and ramen come towards me immediately reminded me of the photos from Ramen Jiro’s. There is no other word to describe it other than spectacular. Put thin, straight, slightly katame (al-dente) noodles (typical of Kyushuu ramen), and an unbelievably dense tonkotsu broth (I have to imagine that they boil the pork bones for at least a day and a night straight with controlled fire… there’s nothing else other than sheer effort to get this sort of soup-broth!) and a very generous serving of fatty chaa-shuu with heaps of garlic and negi (spring onions), and I think we have a winner here. It definitely helped that we had a whole stock of condiments at our disposal: beni-shoga (red pickled ginger) and even pira-kara takana (spicy mustard vegetables) to make it a truly Kyushuu bowl of ramen. It’s exactly the sort of ramen that doesn’t need any extra sauces or chili powder or whatever you might usually dump on your bowl. Just scoop a bit of garlic into it, and bam, the soup becomes even more rich.

It would have seemed almost offensive if I didn’t order a kaedama (かえ玉, where the dama refers to a ‘ball’ of ramen) so I requested for one with one of the other guys. It was probably a mistake to have ordered an extra helping, what with the gyoza, and the six slices of fatty pork and ramen in me, but I had a little soup left over (my friend drank it all up to the last drop — it’s that good) and decided to go for it.

And now I’m recovering from indigestion. But it was delicious indigestion, and worth every minute in the loo.

Read the original post at In Your Basement.

[Soshi] How do you pack for a one year trip?


Especially, when that one year trip is in Japan.

Truth is, I have no idea.


How much is too much? How little is too little? Am I bringing enough toilet paper!?

Just joking about the toilet paper.

Yet, the thing that troubles me the most about Japan is how cosmopolitan it is — there is almost no chance that I won’t find my favourite toothpaste brand (I don’t have a favourite though), socks (Mighty Soxer ftw!), or even clothes there.

Sidenote: If you are a size UK 10/12 and above, be prepared to have a harder time finding clothes there. I am sadly not a svelte shojo so most of my suitcase is filled with all important clothes. Because really, what else can I bring to a country which has nearly everything and anything? Besides maybe, pandan leaves.


(I need pandan leaves to cook chicken rice. It’s not some random exotic Singaporean thing I named.) Honestly, I don’t see the need to bring ‘comfort food’ because all my comfort food can be found there!? Hello NISSIN cup noodles! The only problem is that they might not have my favourite Tom Yum flavour. That’s where Tom Yum stock-cubes come in handy.

There’s no point bringing any figures — okay, I’m bringing Yotsuba along because she’s small — because bringing them back is a hassle.

Then there’s the problem of books. Do I bring/ship the books that I already own and need for class, or just leave them all here and buy new copies over there? I save money on shipping and/or space in my suitcase, but I have to waste possibly more money procuring copies of books I already have. Which I have to bring back in the end or sell them before I leave.

Packing is one hell of a puzzle that I’m struggling to win!

Still, my packing’s nearly done and I just need to throw in my toiletries and voila. Off to Japan in 2 days!

(P.S. Photos are taking with my spankin’ new EOS 500D. Care to suggest a name for it?)

EDIT: I realized that my attempt to be MYSTERIOUS and VAGUE failed badly. (I wasn’t really trying to be mysterious or vague anyway!) But for the misinformed and uninformed, I’ll be RIUVA’s Japan slave for a year!

Diary of an Otaku #2:

Moeman’s Journal. March 10, 2009.

This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

Today, I made the world a better place. There was a fool, probably a low-intellect amoral type who doesn’t like anime, that I caught sight of during my holy trips to Akiba. It was on the train and he had the audacity to sully my ears with disgusting filth that he calls music, playing loudly from the cellphone grasped in his hand. The song was not by a seiyuu nor was it by any band that had its music featured as opening or ending songs of anime. In other words, it was an evil song that must be purged.

I postponed my Akiba pilgrimage for the week and instead, followed silently, stealthily like Solid Snake behind him. I am nimble like Hei from Darker than Black, and invisible like the ninjas from Ninja Scroll. Of course, I haven’t had the time to watch these since I’m too busy rewatching Nanoha for the 65th time. But I have heard that these shows were good. I also haven’t played Metal Gear Solid, since my quests to satisfy my virtual ladies is taxing my vitality. But I know I’m like Solid Snake.

The fool spotted me. He must have super powers! How could he ever have broken through my stealth? Does he have ki-sensing skills? I was hiding my really large frame behind a metal pole, he could not have seen me! A thought struck, "Wait, it might be a trap! To lure the great Moeman out and destroy him so that the evil-doers of society could wreak havoc without his heroic protection. I must not allow myself to fall here." With that, I turned and held down R2 and L2, attempting to flee. I was highly successful. That was a close shave. But he was scared too, of facing hand to hand combat with Moeman. He will not dare to perform his evil deeds anymore, I am the deterrent.

I went home, into my office. The office of Justice, as I call it, where I medicate the ills of society with the greatest of elixirs, awesome forum posts with bad words. Bad words are one of my super powers, I have a really good arsenal of bad words. Words like f u c (ok I can’t tell you, it’s a trade secret). No time to chat, I have an urgent mission. Who set the trap? How did he know my weekly schedule?

I scoured the forums for any source of information on this villain. And there it was, my arch enemy, posting vile remarks on Nanoha, and Fate. Now, you can insult me all you want, I would just kill you with my forum posts. But if you insult my wives Nanoha and Fate, and Mizuki Nana, death would not be sufficient atonement for your sins. I would personally flame you on every forum and message board, obtain your personal details and address, and tell the world of your worst secrets. I am a great omni-potent being, because I have the Internet. The Internet loves me, Moeman.

It appears to be dinner time. I stop my important work, googling for "man on the subway who listens to evil songs and tried to hurt moeman" and wait for the food to be served into my office. It is late. Where is my nourishment? Looks like I have to punish Mother for her tardiness. Why can’t she ever understand that superheroes need their nourishment to perform their heroic tasks?

I wait impatiently while looking at archives of Nanoha naked. Ah, this is life. The greatest feeling in the world, seeing Nanoha naked. I shan’t show you her naked, only I get to see her.

My wife/daughter.

Diary of an Otaku #1: An Introduction

Did the Densha Otaku keep a diary? No, because he was a sell-out. What true otaku abandons his true love just for some old woman he meets on the train? Not me, because I am a true otaku. I’ve decided to start keeping a diary like Rorscharch in case anything epic happens to me.

Who am I? I am Moeman. My parent’s didn’t give me that, but that’s because they don’t understand me. They don’t know everyone has a real name, and I’ve found mine. I am Moeman, not Tanaka Ichirou. I shall not reveal my societal name here though, it’s a secret. My real name is Moeman and it’s a name that burns true from my manly heart.

How did I discover my true name? I tried to register for an online game and they asked for a login name. I searched deep within my soul and combining my true preferences in women as well as my sturdy manhood, I learnt the name that had always been within me – Moeman.

Now, the first thing any self-respecting otaku would do in an introduction is to list the works that inspire him, his favourite anime characters, favourite seiyuu and other otaku credentials. My life has been shaped by classics, such as Girls Bravo. My favourite anime character is Ayanami Rei, though I haven’t really seen Evangelion. I read it on Wikipedia and checked image boards for her artistic pictures, so she’s my favourite character. I really love her depth of character and how she doesn’t reject people from touching her in places normally girls would object to. My favourite seiyuu is Noto Mamiko, she sounds really cute. I am a true otaku because I have bought over 300 figurines and 4 body pillows complete with covers.

I work in a rather typical otaku occupation – surfing the web, watching anime, correcting social ills on forums and playing visual novels with a rich storyline. It’s quite a tough job I must say, there are a real lot of anime to watch and people on forums are just so lame and retarded, they need to be taught a lesson. Each of the visual novels I invest in also have multiple routes and the replayability takes up a lot of time. The work might be tough, but the renumeration isn’t very good, I have to admit. Sometimes Mother gives me too little money, or passes it over late and I get really mad and tell her how important my work is. What if one of these forum evils comes to our house and steals from us? I have to correct their behaviour before it happens.

I have plenty of friends, and we have shared some really epic adventures online together. Once in a while, I do go out of the house, but only to safe places like Akiba. You never know when the forum retards may assault you, so it’s best to only go to Akiba where everyone has the right morals and priorities.

Speaking of adventures and experiences, as otaku, I really have some great ones to log down in this diary, but this entry’s getting too long. I have to go back to my work, Rei-tan needs her man to satisfy her. See you again on page 2!

My wife.