Cup Noodles Museum – Yokohama

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Cosmo Clock 21

On our third day, our group split up to visit our own point of interests. K and I took the train to Yokahama from Shibuya and it took just under an hour. Our trip today was to visit the Cup Noodle Museum! The closest station to get off is the Minatomirai Station. On our walk towards the museum, we saw the Cosmo Clock 21 which is at the Cosmo World amusement park. It is the world’s largest clock! There are rollercoasters around the ferris wheel as well. Pretty neat and kids seemed excited to be there.

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It was a burning hot day, but the views in Yokohama were beautiful. Similar to Odaiba, you see a lot of blue skies and water here. It also lies on the Tokyo Bay as well. Yokohama is actually the second largest city by population in Japan, just after Japan!

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An 8 minute walk or so, and you will see a large square building – the Cupnoodles Museum. If you’re lost, just follow children with their parents. They’re most likely going to the same place!

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This is definitely a place for kids, since there were more kids than adults. However, if you love cup noodles, you will enjoy your time here! I believe admission was 500 yen for adults. Not too bad.

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The museum has 4 floors. The first floor is the gift shop and admission booth. You then take the escalator and will arrive at the Instant Noodles History Cube. Here, it shows all the different instant ramen that exist. It all began with the Chicken Ramen!

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I thought it was pretty interesting that by the year 2000, most of the instant ramen were in bowl form. Shows how we are so lazy to even cook noodles in a pot!

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Over 3,000 product packages!

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Here is Momofuku Ando – the inventor of instant noodles and cup noodles! He was actually Taiwanese, but moved to Japan to work.

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Because Japan was suffering from a shortage of food after war, Ando decided to find a way to make sure everyone had food – especially noodles which are dear to heart for the Japanese.

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That’s when he created the first pre-cooked instant noodles! It was called Chiken Ramen.

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In 1971, he came up with the first Cup Noodle – something that would be even more convenient to eat!

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And in 2005, the first Space Ramen was invented!

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This whole room basically talked about how the noodles came about. Most of it are pictures with Japanese captions. There is at least one line written in English so you can get a gist of it. However, it’s definitely not very detailed. If you want, you can purchase the audio guide in English or another language at the admission booth. This one was pretty interesting. It showed the consumption of cup noodles by country. Loved how Hong Kong, China came first. The Chinese do love to eat cup noodles since they have such busy lives!

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Continue walking and you’ll find a model of Momofuku’s Work Shed. This is a model of the shed that Momofuku worked in and created the first Chicken Ramen.

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I guess he let the noodles sit outside to rest.

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Very simple tools and equipment.

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A pasta roller was already invented I guess?

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Looks like a double boiler?

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The third floor is where the fun is at! When you purchased your admission on the first floor, they will ask you whether you want to create your own cup noodles. If so, they will provide you with time slots. Choose a time, and they’ll print off a ticket for you. When you arrive at your chosen time slot, you show your ticket to the employees and you can stand in line at the “My Cupnoodles Factory”! To make a cup noodle, it costs 300 yen. I wanted to make more than one, but it said we were only allowed one per person due to huge line ups.

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After collecting your cup, you will be directed to tables with markers. Here, you can decorate your cup for as long as you want.

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Here is mine! It is the Sapporo Zoo Bear! They advise you to write down the date you made it since you need to eat your noodles within a month.

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The front of my cup!

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Here are our creations!

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While lining up for the next step, we saw the Chicken Ramen Factory in process. Here, you can actually make the Chicken Ramen from kneading the doll to drying it with a hot oil drying method. It looked pretty cool, but I think you need to do advance booking for this as spots are limited. It is 500 yen for adults.

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After designing your cups, you can now head over to create your cup noodle. The noodles are already made in advance.

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Give your cup to the lady and she will place a noodle under the cup.

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Now spin the wheel! The noodles will fall into your cup at the end. I guess this isn’t very necessary, but they want to give some interaction for the kids I guess.

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Then you get to select your ingredients! You can choose 1 soup base. There is Chili Tomato, Original Chicken, Seafood, or Curry. For the ingredients, you can choose 4 out of the 12. Some of the choices included green onion, imitation crab, corn, shrimp, egg, pork, narutomaki (cured fish with a chick pattern), cheese, kimchi, and garlic chips. I’m not sure what the others were since it’s all written in Japanese.

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Here is mine! I chose the curry base with pork, imitation crab, cheese, and narutomaki. Love the cute little chick pattern! By now, I’ve had a taste of my noodles, and they were very good! It was full of curry flavour! Yummy!

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The next step is to place the seal or lid on your cup. The machine will press the seal down.

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Then, the lady will take it and put some saran wrap on it.

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It goes through a machine to vacuum seal your cup noodles so it maintains freshness.

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Going through the vacuum seal machine!

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And then it drops out, and there you have it!

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My finished product – looking like it came off the shelf!

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After that, we went to the fourth floor, where there was a resting balcony outside. When you walk out, you get to see the beautiful bay. Gorgeous!

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Yokohama is also known to be one of the major ports now.

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Heading back in, we went to the Noodles Bazaar – World Noodles Road.

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Outside, they have a brief overview of the different noodles from major countries.

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Inside, it’s dimly lit and filled with people, tents, tables and chairs. It’s trying to make you feel like you’re at an Asian night market. The bazaar features 8 varieties of noodles while Momofuku was traveling and searching for ideas for his ramen.

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We found the Original Chiken Ramen. I love how they still spell it as Chiken. There is a vending machine next to the stalls and you can order your ramen here. For the Chiken Rame, it is 130 yen.

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The Chiken Ramen is seriously a small bowl of ramen! More like for kids. You can finish this in 3 bites! You can only choose two additional ingredients. I chose the kelp and cha-shu (pork). I feel like I’ve never actually had chicken ramen before. I normally get other flavours. The broth was surprisingly quite good, and the noodles were cooked so they were al dente. Not bad, but such a small amount!

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K got the Chiken Ramen with cha-shu (pork) and corn.

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The museum takes roughly 1.5 hours including making the cup noodles. We were most interested in making the actual noodles than going through the exhibit since it’s catered for the children. We then headed back to the first floor to check out the Gift Shop! Lots of unique cup noodle themed items! We got this set but I have yet to try it. It had some pretty interesting flavours I’ve never seen in Canada!

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These were so cool. Japanese pancake stuffed with sweet bean jam, but shaped like cup noodles!

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The Cupnoodle Matryoshka is supposed to be simliar to a set of Russian dolls. The container holds the different ramen ingredients. The cup, noodle, tamago, ebi, niku, and negi. Cute!

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A cup noodle candle…Wonder what it smells like…

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At the base of the stairs, there is a huge cup noodle with the chick!

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There is a huge cup noodle statue as well!

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After the museum, we decided to head over to World Porter’s. It’s a huge shopping mall with shopping, food, and entertainment. We found a bakery selling these cute ducks! I think they were just bread.

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And these bear paws were so cute!

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Take the elevator to the top of the shopping mall, and you’ll reach the roof top. Here, you’ll find an outdoor go-kart course as well as a mini golf course! You can also see the Cosmo Clock 21 here and some beautiful views of Yokohama. Definitely worth checking out Yokohama if you have some spare time. We only spent half a day here since we needed to meet our friends back in Tokyo, but there is definitely more to see!

Address: 2-3-4 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokoham

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Museu de la Xocolata – Barcelona

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Got back to Barcelona and a few days later, A invited some of us to join her at the Museu de la Xocolata to celebrate her birthday. Apparently, one of their professors at ESADE was the director at this museum, and they had done a field trip here, but A was away for it. The professor said she could bring a few friends to check the museum out and also make some chocolate at a discounted price! The museum has a variety of chocolate activities for both kids and adults. Our activity was called “Lollipops” and it was actually targeted for children, but I have to say, it was tons of fun! They have adult activities as well, like “Chocolate Tasting” and “Combining Brandies with Chocolate”. They all sound really interesting! When my sister visited, she had actually wanted to visit the museum, but we thought it was a bit pricey once you wanted to join these activities since they were pretty pricey. I think the original price of the Lollipops class, which includes a 30 minute guided tour of the museum is 17 euros.

 

 

 

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Once you pay at the register, which also connects to the cafe, you get a ticket! Your ticket is actually a chocolate bar though! It’s like going to the Willy Wonka chocolate factory and receiving a golden ticket! The chocolate inside was pretty good too. It was piece of dark chocolate.

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You’ll see some of their chocolate sculptures near the entrance. Can’t believe this bear is made of chocolate! So cool!

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Then our chocolate chef took us to the classroom where we would make our chocolate lollipops! It’s pretty cool since you actually feel like you’re at a cooking workshop. I didn’t get a picture, but there was a chocolate fountain come down, and we were able to just dip our fingers in if we wanted to. The birthday girl even got to just drink some chocolate out of the fountain. The chef was really nice even though our group were a little rowdy and messing around. So basically, she gives us some pointers on different designs we can make and how to control our piping bag. Then we go ahead and fill our piping bag up with chocolate, and it’s definitely more than enough. Most of us ended up just squirting some in our mouth since we had so much leftover. The chocolate is dark chocolate too, although we all thought it looked like milk at first. But when it dried up, it became apparent it was dark chocolate. She also gave us some white chocolate to work with to make our designs more interesting. Then at the front of the table, there were an assortment of toppings we could add such as marshmallows, coconut flakes and fruits.

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Here is what I ended up with! I realized how difficult it was to control the piping bag since the chocolate comes out pretty quickly. It’s also really hard to get the chocolate to be smooth on the surface.

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We got aprons and chef hats as well which was cute! And in the back was our chocolate chef!

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These were my friend’s lollipops. Love the monkey!

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They really don’t care what you do with your chocolate here and let you be as creative as you want…and so…my friend decides to make some sort of chocolate masterpiece. A flag maybe? I have no idea, but he used a ton of chocolate and I think he got a stomach ache that night from eating so much chocolate…. We were told they had never seen someone do something like this before. Not sure if that’s a compliment…

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While we waited for our chocolate to solidify, she took us on a quick tour around the museum. There was an explanation of the history of cacao and where it’s from and the differences between dark, milk, and white chocolate. Then the best part was seeing these chocolate art sculptures. Seriously, they are so impressive and I can’t believe they are made entirely of chocolate! Here is Messi!

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Chicken Little

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The famous Salamander Gaudi always uses in his art

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Bambi!

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And even the Sagrada Familia! Wow!

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Then when we got back, our chocolate had solidified. We carefully pulled them off our plastic sheet, and got little baggies to take them home in. Well other than that masterpiece… He had some trouble taking that home… And how were the lollipops? Not bad. Not the most amazing chocolate I’ve had, but it sort of reminded me of the Purdy’s lollipops. I did find it a little sweet even though they were dark chocolate. I guess it wasn’t a high percentage of dark. I didn’t even end up finishing all my lollipops, since they can only be fridged for around 2 weeks. I was pretty much away the next few weeks, so I never got to try all my lollipops! A really fun activity for a few hours if you have time in Barcelona though! Obviously not something to do if you’re on a tight schedule though. The museum itself isn’t that big, and they’re mostly the sculptures that are really impressive, but you could probably walk by it all in 30 minutes. It’s the activities that are really fun and worth coming for I think!

Lizarran and a Dali Day Trip – Figueres

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On a day off of school, A, S and I decided to take a day trip to Figueres. It’s a town north of Barcelona, in the province of Girona. We took the Renfe from Barcelona at the Passeig de Gracia station, and it took roughly under 2 hours. The town is pretty small and easy to navigate with an awesome tourist information desk supplying us with maps once we got off the train. The main attraction here is the Salvador Dali Theater Museum. There isn’t much else to do other than this museum, and the town is really famous because it’s where Dali was born. To be honest, I had no idea who Salvador Dali was. I knew nothing about Spain before coming here, and art was something I wasn’t too interested in. But S and A were taking a Spanish Art History class at ESADE, and their professor had recommended them to visit this museum. I had nothing to do, so I joined them, hoping I wouldn’t be too bored from looking at art. This was the best decision ever! If you’re someone who usually isn’t interested in art like the ones at the Louvre, I assure you that Salvador Dali will make you enjoy art!

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I think if I were to describe Dali in one word, it would be “weird”. Yup, Dali’s art is quirky and bizarre, but in a good way. He was a Catalan surrealist painter, but he has art work of all sorts. I often say that his work is trippy, because depending on the angles you look at it, the piece of art turns into something completely different. Hence it’s extremely fun to look at his work and you can be imaginative even if you don’t understand his true intentions. For instance, in this picture, when we walked in the room, it was weird to see two random paintings on the wall, and then a couch shaped as a lip. Then the blonde hair is actually a horse if you look from the other side. However, Dali wants us to look at it from the top of one wall and look into this circular glass. When you do that, it becomes a woman! I loved how his whole museum allowed us to be imaginative and creative. Something I don’t usually possess, but I really enjoyed and admired his work. The cool thing is that this theater was also completely designed by Dali himself!

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After an early morning in the museum, we decided to find food in Figueres. We did a quick tripadvisor search, and found that Lizarran was highly rated. Lizarran is a tapa bar which actually has many other locations around Spain. The fun part was that the tapas are self serve if you choose one of their options. This option allows you to walk down the bar and choose whichever pintxo you want. Each pintxo has a toothpick in it, and at the end, you pay by how many toothpicks you have on your plate. It’s pretty much based on a trust system. You can also choose to order off the regular menu, where you can have larger tapa dishes or actual entrees. We went for the self serve option. Some of the pintxos I chose included one with a cream cheese and salmon with a pedro pepper, shrimp and egg salad, brie with onions and garlic chips, and Iberican pork on imitation crab salad. All in all, quite a delicious lunch!

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After lunch, we rushed to get to the bus stop. We wanted to visit Dali’s house in the town of Cadaques. The best way is to take a bus that is near the train station, and it takes less than an hour. Cadaques is still in the province of Girona, but also on the Costa Brava of the Mediterranean. It’s beautiful here, with boats along the shorelines. The white house in the picture is one of the homes Dali lived in later in his life and is located in Port Lligat, which is a small village in the Cadaques area. Dali spent a lot of his childhood in Cadaques, hence he went back here to live later. The house is now called the Casa- Museo Salvador Dali, meaning the Salvador Dali House Museum. You do need to pay to enter, but it’s pretty cool inside, so worth a visit. Apparently in the summer or peak seasons, you’ll also need reservations.

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There will be a tour guide who will bring you and a small group of visitors in his house. She gives very brief information, so it’s not too useful, but you are welcome to ask her more questions. Here, this is where Dali used to do his paintings. When you look at the paintings at the Theater Museum, you’ll find lots of scenery and views of of the port since he painted from here.

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On the top floor, you’ll find weird looking objects. Like this egg shell. What was Dali thinking putting an egg shell on his house…?

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The beautiful view from his house. He has many paintings of this scenery if you visit the museum.

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And he also decided to put an egg on the top of his house. I have to admit, Dali is pretty cool. Who in their right mind would think of doing something like that? Also, how in the world did he structure this egg so it wouldn’t fall off?

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In his backyard, he has this giant… Such bizarre art.

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And here is a picture of Cadaques while the sun sets. I love how the houses are all white here. Such a beautiful place to spend in the summer, and hence many Barcelona locals spend their summers here as a getaway. This was already early November, but it was still fairly warm.