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Hanamaru Udon

Lets talk about my desire to recreate an eating experience! For many days now, since my recent trip to Aioi, I have been looking for a delicious udon spot nearby. A coworker informed me that I could find Marugame Udon in Himeji. She even took the liberty of sending me a map with directions drawn onto the map. So last Saturday, I went on an adventure trying to find this spot.

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In the map you can see that she drew a tunnel on the map. My experience with said tunnel has been less than stellar. On Aug 31, the day before my first day working in Japan, I thought to ride my bike to find my school. With the help of a google maps print out I was told to ride through this tunnel. The sidewalk dwindled into a single walk lane. I saw no signs that said “no pedestrians” so I rode on. I only saw one other biker and he was brave enough to ride on the road with the cars. I crept along that single walk.

I have now learned that there are many ways to get to my school. You can fearlessly take that dark tunnel, you can take the hills that go over the tunnel, or you can just avoid the tunnel altogether and go around. Sidenote: The tunnel goes under a cemetery. And while I agree with my mother that “its not the dead folks that you need to worry about. Its the ones that are living”. Its still a little creepy.

Any who, I decided to go around this tunnel. I rode my bike to the mouth of the tunnel and tried to find my way around it, through the neighborhood. I did make it. And then I followed the road for a long time. I mean, a long time. Finally, I decided to stop at a Familymart and ask for directions. I was told that I was only half way there. I took off riding again. Determined to find this place. I don’t know how many miles I rode but eventually I came to an overpass that did not look safe for bikers. I tried to go around the overpass but that was a fail. The train tracks that the overpass spanned blocked my way. I turned around and went back to the overpass. Underneath, there were stairs that led up to the actual overpass. But the thought of lugging my bike up all those stairs was far more than I’d bargained for.

[I just google mapped it. I rode 3.4 miles from home to Hanamaru and 3.4 miles back. But I rode further than that because I went past Hanamaru looking for Marugame!]

I turned around and went back to Hanamaru Udon. The FamilyMart worker had mentioned that it was similar to Marugame. I parked my bike and went inside. I didn’t have my translator with me to tell me what she recommended that I order. So I pointed to the first edible thing that I saw. Mind you, I hadn’t eaten anything in anticipation of this magical meal. My stomach was on E. I was ret ta eat just about anything.

The worker took my order, placed a portion of freshly made udon noodles into a steamer and then topped it all off with goodies. I also added some of my favorite fried foods. The golden brown oval is potato croquette. The lackluster looking rectangle is fried sweet potato. And the mystery meat in the middle is just that, a mystery. I was feeling adventurous. Be sure to check out the next episode of “You Ate What?!” to find out what was inside.

 

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The meal was an ok out of 10.

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