Thursday, August 7, 2014

Big Bowl of Yummy Dreams at Yume Wo Katare

The protocol at Yume Wo Katare is that you stand in line, you order and sit in orderly fashion – in long tables next to strangers -- and must be attentive to the question, “You want garlic?” in order to answer to your liking (I say, say “yes.”). Don’t dilly-dally; get down to business and eat your noodles; there are lots of hungry people outside waiting to get into this tiny place, and you can be sure that as hungry as they are to be fed, the owners of Katare are hungry to feed them.
Protocol, straight tables, time constraints – are these the stuff dreams are made of?
Maybe not, but they sure help. Because dreams, whatever they may be -- to get a good job or to win the love of one’s life -- are not achieved while sitting around hoping and praying. Can you finish a huge, fatty bowl of delicious ramen soup? Can I finally finish that damned dissertation? The Yume Wo Katare metaphor proposes that if you can finish one, you can accomplish the other, plain and simple. And, whether you finish or not, you’ve given it your best, and that effort is to be applauded. After you’re finished, you share your dreams with the whole restaurant, and everyone shouts encouragement and praise for you. And it feels pretty sincere.
To finish a bowl of ramen is no joke. The bowl is HUGE and the noodles plentiful. Topped with pork, garlic, and bean sprouts, tasting so salty-good, so much like my mother’s pork shoulder gravy (plus something more – more garlic, some miso), these noodles are a tangled web of dreams themselves.
Like life, you dive in, not sure if you’re “doing it right.” Just eat. Just go. Just do as much as you can. It is this playful balance between discipline and indulgence, structure and dream that Katare is hoping you’ll go back for again and again. Good job.
Additionally, I found it easy to talk to people on line about the experience. I met up with a person from the new Meet-Up, “Paper and Plates,” as well as a mother and daughter visiting from North Carolina. I’m not usually gregarious, so the friendly atmosphere was refreshing. Also, since everyone is seated next to each other, you can come here alone and not feel ALONE. Much cooler than sitting with stuffed animals.

For my own part, this is not really how I like to eat, but I can see the appeal for those who are most hungry in the latter part of the day when Kitare is open. If this was a lunch place open near where I work, it would be more practical for me. I’m a big lunch person, so it kinda hurts me to eat so much at 5:30 p.m. But, if I’d just gotten out of the gym, maybe different story. 

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