It's no secret that the Japanese love their noodles, what you might not know is that they seriously have a museum for everything. For four years now we've been aware of, and have walked by, the Cup of Noodle museum with little to know interest in visiting. Sure I enjoyed Cup of Noodles as a kid but a museum? Plus it always appeared to be very quiet and totally empty, aka boring. Nevertheless we have seen quite a bit of the area over the years and the Cup of Noodle museum would be something new for us, plus a bonus for Gabriel was that it required both a train and subway ride!
I think a train ride has the capability of fixing all of Gabe's two-year-old worries and problems right now. The ride to Yokohama is about an hour and Gabriel spent almost the entire time perked up on his seat looking out the window as shown below. He'd talk about what he was seeing out the window and mimic the sounds of the train. Every time we stopped he'd ask, "train all done?" And when we told him not yet he'd say, "train again!" The train is typically my reading time if I don't get too distracted with people watching or looking at all the advertisements.
|This gal is pretty popular in Japanese advertisement.|
The museum is just kiddy-corner to the little amusement park with the grand Ferris wheel and across the street from Porters Mall. Like always, all seemed mellow outside and even immediately within the large museum.
It always takes me a second to find my bearings when we walk into anywhere where we're going to have to trying and communicate with someone to enter or participate. There is a lot of gesturing, pointing, and ushering. The Japanese are all about efficiency so sometimes it feels like we're being herded, it's not meant to be disrespectful but helpful.
Yes it's a museum but the main attraction is the ability to make your own Cup of Noodles at the 'My Cup Noodles Factory.' Guilty as charged, this was our main drive too. The entire museum seemed deserted until we reached the factory...
It was so loud and utter chaos! But because it's Japan, it was organized chaos. Chris and I were at a total loss for words, where did all these people come from?! There were women running around in uniforms with mega phones looking for seating while holding up their fingers to each other communicating how many seats were needed. Other ladies were at each of the initial station stops to get us prepared for our seat.
It cost 300yen (about $2.50) per cup that you purchased unsurprisingly from a vending machine, a uniform lady placed a lid on your cup, another sanitized your hands and they you had to wait for them to run around finding a place for you to sit together.
I always feel a little funny being seated with other Japanese people, not for us but for them, like they got stuck with the weirdos at the lunch table. We're so obviously foreigners (hello, three out of the four of us have blue eyes and there's a blond child) and I've gotten pretty self conscience this trip about not knowing much Japanese when we've spent so much time in this country. With that being said, we try our best to follow cultural customs of politeness and greeting.
Gabriel actually enjoyed asking for specific colors and drawing on his cup. There was a room just off to the side of us that was meant for children to learn how to make noodles. We unfortunately were there to watch them but saw the teachers setting up the stations. It looked like the kids were a bit older than Gabriel unfortunately, I know he'd love it!
Once our cups were decorated they were checked to make sure the date was written on them and then it was off to wait in another line. I was glad to see many of the Japanese taking pictures of the experience, it made me feel totally free and welcome to do the same.
First you turned a nob to place the noodles within the cup, then you picked your flavor and up to four ingredients before you watched your Cup of Noodle get sealed. There were actually quite a few flavors and ingredients to choose from. The flavors included original, seafood, curry and tomato, the ingredients were onion, garlic, peppers, cheese, chicken, corn, pork, egg, shrimp and some others. Each of us did a different combination.
Can you tell how tired Gabriel is in the above photo? He was pretty quiet through the whole experience because he was taking it all in but talked later about how much fun he had.
Yes, there was indeed a museum part. There was a large display room with all the different products and packaging over the years as well as a video giving the history behind Cup of Noodles and the inventor. Thankfully they had headsets that gave the video in an English translation and it was actually super interesting. The underlying message was that inspiration is found everywhere and how there are new idea to be discovered all around us.
Brenik of course woke up towards the end of the movie making us the ones with the screaming baby in a completely silent room. A quick nurse job in the back did the trick and we were back in business!
Afterwards we were ushered out to the rest of the museum that had nothing at all to do with Cup of Noodle but instead was focused on inspiring children. There were many creative and some hands on exhibits. I was actually brought to tears by what the point of all this was as I watched Gabriel admire and investigate. It was terribly moving venturing though this part of the museum knowing it was meant to foster and encourage the children of today to grow up and be innovative, successful people.
After the Museum we crossed the street over to Porters to window shop my favorite stores. When we were done in Porters we went to Queen's Square mall to grab a Krispy Kreme doughnut, visit the nursing room and play in the Lego pit before heading back home. Where is Brenik you ask? He was asleep in the stroller almost the entire time. Same thing happened with Christmas, no photos because he was sleeping. One day he'll ask why there are no photos of him as a baby and we'll tell him it was because he was such a rockstar sleeper.