A Day With Yoshimi And Her Family
As we sat in the extraordinary Taiko-en restaurant relaxing after an exceptional meal, our friend
Yoshimi remarked that we had visited many places together over the years. So true, and from our
first adventure together back in 2005 at Toei Movie Land to this memorable dinner experience, it
had all been great fun.
Earlier that day we had enjoyed an excursion with her and her children to CUPNOODLES Museum. Her
daughter Miho, who had been an adorable baby on our last visit, had grown into a shy pre-schooler,
and there were new babies to meet (Twins! A boy and a girl).
The first order of business When we arrived at the museum was picture-taking at the statue of
Momofuku Ando, the inventor of CUPNOODLES, which stands near the entrance.
Just inside is a display of about 800 types of instant noodles. You walk down the hall to a large
room called "My CUPNOODLES Factory" where you can buy an empty styrofoam cup for about $3. Then you
are shown to a table where you can decorate your cup using an assortment of colored markers
Next you join the line to concoct your creation. You tell one of the smiling young women behind the
glass which type of broth you would like (There are 4 to chose from.) and then you choose 4 ingredients
from a range of options. It's all inserted into the cup along with the dried noodles.
Next you turn a wheel to compress the air out. The cup is covered with plastic and moves on to
some sort of sterilization process.
Finally, you are given your cup which you can then insert into a protective plastic bubble if you
can figure out how to do that. We could not. The picture is one I found on the internet.
Watching Yoshimi juggle the twins and the shy pre-schooler and still manage to take photos with her
cell phone was impressive.
The museum also had various exhibits. One of them was a recreation of the shed where Momofuku Ando
worked every day for over a year, sleeping only 4 hours a night, to create Chicken Ramen - the world's
first instant noodles. Another touted his invention of instant noodles that can be eaten in space.
There was also a tasting room where you could buy instant noodles that are not usually sold in the area
from vending machines and sit and eat them.
I got to hold one of the twins at diaper change time.
Yoshimi's husband Hiro met us when we left the museum. We enjoyed a snack together and then headed
back to the hotel to change for dinner.
The restaurant is situated in the Amijima Mansion built by Baron Denzaburo Fujita for his son around
1910. After arriving, we took a walk around the peaceful garden and a brief tour of some of the rooms
in the mansion.
Then we were escorted to the private room where our dinner would be served and introduced to the other
guests - friends of Yoshimi and Hiro. We were seated closest to the windows that looked out over the
garden so we could enjoy the view.
A seemingly endless parade of delicacies began appearing before us. Much of it was unidentifiable to us,
but it was all delicious.
After dinner, there was a bit of picture taking. Then we wandered out to the garden so the children
could enjoy the summer evening activities. Finally, we all enjoyed watching the fireflies in the garden.
We'll always cherish the memory of this delightful evening.