Why’s Words and Ramen

Thanks for your incredible patience in sticking around and forgiving my failure to take you along for the ride as I figure things out. With the sakura season among us, I figured it a great time to to pick up sorta where we left off.

My birthday came last month and so did my brother. Anyone who knows our relationship recognizes no need to say, “Oh cool! What’d you guys do?” It’s about just as much a courtesy as “”How are you?” has become- the given answer being a “Good. How are you.” It’s a given that Rich and I went to eat- the foundation of any brotherly travels.

He escorted me to a restaurant amidst DCs Chinatown called Daikaya-or was it izakaya? Nope it was Daikaya- a _ ticket back to Japan, recalling the many happy, curtain waving, button pushing, ticket slipping, gyoza dipping, ramen slurping go-chi sou shouting memories had. Of course it’s a hard mission to find a place in DC- or perhaps America- that quote matches the experience, but my memory and imagination are prisoner to no bounds. Like many in Japan, Daikaya had its counter seating but it also had communal tables with a single stubby partition running down its center.

Water pitchers and water glasses. Those flat bottomed spoons, chirirenge.

But there weren’t any of the usual condiments:shoyu, garlic, ginger, pepper. But there was a menu. Of the ramen, there was shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), spicy miso, and vegetable- but no tonkotsu- the rich and creamy pork boned broth.

So I ventured to try the mugi miso- Daikaya’s special barley recipe. Each bowl comes standard with chasu (roast pork) ground pork, a sheet of nori seaweed, bean sprouts, onions, scallions, and garlic plus an offering of some extras. I ordered the obligatory ajitama, a seasoned egg( Daikaya calls them nitamago.)  The ramen was good, with a light flavor, the noodles with a pleasant bite- rich and yellow in color the pork was warm, and deliciously tender- even better than some I’ve had in ramen country. The egg… Oh- oh my goooo-nesss. Wonderful. Loaded with flavor with a sensational buttery yolk. That day my brother learned how good these eggs are.

He had the shoyu ramen. He said my request was weird but he let me try the broth. It had a much more smokey flavor, as though it had somehow come off the grill.

I won’t sit here lecturing you on the terroir of ramen, or the anatomy of a noodle. I’m no expert. But as mentioned I do posses and cherish the fun experiences woven betwixt the noodles.

During our hanging out, the bro and I did a lot more remembering and a good amount of future gazing. Birthdays are a great time for rememembering the value of one’s life- what I has seen and accomplished, what it has come from and where it’s going- and why.

After some time studying organizational communications. I became fixated on Simon Sinek’s presentation on the importance of Starting with Why. I have chosen to articulate mine as follows’ for now:

To empower people everywhere to encounter and love the world and the God who created it, especially but not exclusively through FOOD.

This is about more than ramen. It’s just a bite. What’s your why?

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