On noodles

In which I eat before bed

As it turns out, the noodles were absolutely not to be missed, and definitely worth staying up for. I went down in my dress and carrying only my room key, expecting that we would be given a packet of two-minute noodles and sent on our way. Not so! The breakfast room opens again, but there are curtains around most of the buffet tables (there are four, all quite small), with only one small space at the servery open for the woman who has the noodle shift to do her work.

People come down in dribs and drabs, most of them wearing the lounge suits (I would call them pyjamas, but that seems maybe a bit rude, because they aren’t pyjamas but are in the hotel rooms with a sign that tells us we are welcome to wear them around the hotel). The woman gives a token to each person and then, when she has made their order calls out the number and tells them their noodles are ready. When she knows we don’t speak Japanese, she calls, ‘Thank you for waiting, noodles are prepared for number 7.’

I rarely eat before bed these days, because I always sleep terribly if I eat or drink too much too close to bedtime (probably I always slept that poorly but now that I’m middle aged I don’t like being tired the next day and get tired more easily and so on and so forth … all of that is a long-winded way of telling you that I wasn’t sure I’d actually eat the noodles, but I did want to see what it was about.

As soon as I saw them, I was in love and knew that they would be exactly what I needed. The noodles are the perfect size. Small enough that I don’t feel over-full and uncomfortable before bed, large enough that I feel sated. The noodles and the soup are both light and thin. Also perfect. The whole thing is extremely cozy, and because it is shared with other people, it is also a reassuring touchpoint, reminding you that you aren’t alone. All hotels should offer something like it, because as wonderful as holidays are it is pretty lonely when you realise that there are all these millions of people around but not one of them knows your name.

And now I’m extremely tired again and about to fall asleep. I wanted to tell you about my day–not that anything amazing happened to me, but I did discover a bit more about this amazing city. Maybe I’ll be able to stay awake long enough tomorrow night.

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