Momma, we’re not in Tokyo anymore…
40 years ago, a man began to dream. 10 years of hard training later, his dream–Ramen no Yokozuna Syou-zan (ラーメンの横綱勝山)–was realized. To some he is just another zealous ramen chef who has claimed success in a small rural town. But to me he is a master, a myth, a god.
Today, I got to meet a legend. When I asked Shiramizu-san how long he’s been making ramen at this shop, he simply holds up three fingers. No not 3 years…30.
30 years of perfecting his lifelong dream.
Shiramizu-san’s Tonkotsu Ramen is noticeably refined. There is no bull when it comes to this bowl.
So why am I really here? I came to learn the facts. To trace back the lineage of my favorite ramen shop in Tokyo. Yes. Syou-zan, believe it or not, is the godfather of Bassanova.
This is where it all began. (Look familiar?) Someday I’ll fill you in on the entire history, but for now let’s enjoy what Kitakyushu has to offer.
Yukuhashi is covered in miles of green rice fields.
And an old bank building is a popular main attraction.
After all these years, the combination still protects…
…all the valuables from a lost time.
Further north in the city of Kokura…
A 360-year-old tradition is taking place.
With the daunting Kokura Castle overlooking the stage…
“and the beat go boom”
“boom. ba-boom. ba-boom”
“it goes boom, ba-boom, ba-boom”
And that’s how they let the beat build.
I could listen to the beat of Taiko drums for hours upon hours. It’s very calming.
But it also makes you hungry.
After some yakitori, it was time for more ramen.
Fufu Ramen (風風ラーメン) is a nationwide chain.
I believe there are also some locations in Tokyo.
Anyway, it’s time to get down to the real business of why I’m here…