I have been reading about the famous Fukuoka Ramen since March. It has been high on my list of to-do’s since we arrived. So when I heard a group of teachers were going to have Ramen before going to the Lantern festival, there was no way I was going to turn that down. We all met at the Muromi Subway station and then biked up the river a ways and through town until we came to Ippudo. The original restaurant is somewhere downtown…this was just one of their branches. They actually have branches all over Japan, and in a few other locations including Singapore and one in New York City. I ordered the ‘Famous Ramen’ in the red bowl, and Robert ordered the ‘Spicy Ramen’ in the white bowl. It was so good and we ate it so fast, we almost didn’t get a picture of it. I wish I could make this stuff at home. We also got to try their gyozas (which are little dumplings filled with ground pork, cabbage, garlic, and green onions). They too were fantastic. I’d go back just to eat those. I love ’em. This place more than lived up to my expectations and we will shall return!
After dinner, we rode our bikes down the river trail until we couldn’t go any further (since it was blocked off for the festival). We parked our bikes and headed down the trail to check out the local lantern festival. I always enjoyed looking at the lighted lanterns that lined people’s driveways during Christmas in Arizona. But now I’m spoiled. This was quite impressive. There were thousands of little lanterns lined up on both sides of the river walk and set up to make all kinds of designs. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into setting this up. Little tea lights were in bags of all colors: white, blue, red, yellow, orange, and some bags were hand drawn by the local children. It was an absolutely perfect evening for strolling down the path, taking pictures, people watching, having a beer and just hanging out. A good time was had by all, but I think Sunny probably enjoyed it the most.