The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life

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Overview

"Mankind is Noodlekind"

For three days in January 2007,the most e-mailed article in The New York Times was "appreciations: Mr. noodle," an editorial noting the passing, at age ninety-six, of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. Ando's existence came as a shock to many, but not to Andy Raskin, who had spent three years trying to meet the noodle pioneer.

The Ramen King and I is Raskin's funny and, at times, painfully honest memoir about ...

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The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life

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Overview

"Mankind is Noodlekind"

For three days in January 2007,the most e-mailed article in The New York Times was "appreciations: Mr. noodle," an editorial noting the passing, at age ninety-six, of Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen. Ando's existence came as a shock to many, but not to Andy Raskin, who had spent three years trying to meet the noodle pioneer.

The Ramen King and I is Raskin's funny and, at times, painfully honest memoir about confronting the truth of his dating life-with Ando as his spiritual guide. Can instant ramen lead one to a committed relationship? And is sushi the secret to self-acceptance?

A true tale of hunger in its many forms, The Ramen King and I is about becoming slaves to our desires and learning to break free.

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  • The Ramen King and I
    The Ramen King and I  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Told as both a narrative and series of letters to the inventor of instant ramen, Momofuku Ando, American writer and NPR regular Raskin haltingly plots his efforts to meet the billionaire food entrepreneur in the years before his 2007 death. Unfortunately, the fascinating story of the Ramen king is forced to compete with Raskin's women problems, which he thinks Ando can somehow solve. Raskin also takes time out to explain Japanese emphemera like the quirks of language, samurai movies, sushi etiquette and manga. Though he never mails his confessional letters, Raskin does fly to Japan to meet the aging legend, and winds up attending his funeral with thousands of others. Raskin's intentions are noble, but his careening trip through Japanese food culture will likely frustrate readers; on the other hand, it may strike Japanophiles just right, reproducing plenty of the eclectic and affectionate details that stick with travelers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
NPR commentator Raskin's laugh-out-loud memoir yields surprising insights about belatedly growing up in his mid-30s. The San Francisco-based author earned an MBA from Wharton, mastered the trombone, become fluent in Japanese and built a successful career in business, but he had never been faithful to a girlfriend. He cheated on women he thought he loved and developed an addiction to online dating and one-night stands. After realizing that this behavior was related to his feelings of depression, he joined a recovery group. His sponsor asked him to abstain from dating for 90 days and to write letters detailing his past sins to someone he saw as a godlike figure. He settled on a longtime object of his fascination: 94-year-old billionaire noodle-maker Momofuku Ando. Writing things down led Raskin to the understanding that his sexual impulses were sparked by conflicts with men, usually co-workers or his father, and that he compensated for feelings of failure by having trysts. Layering his memoir with vignettes about sushi chefs, young-adult graphic novels, Japanese reality-TV shows, embarrassing moments in his Long Island childhood and conversations with many of the women he dated, the author chronicles his life in a creative and comprehensive manner. Ando's story is an important element as well: Having read all of the noodle-maker's autobiographies, Raskin threads details from them throughout the book, along with some of his famous sayings ("Peace follows from a full stomach," etc.). After repeated unsuccessful attempts to set up an interview with Ando, the author embarked on a transatlantic pilgrimage to meet him with no appointment. Regardless of the outcome, he recognized that the point ofsuch a choice-indeed, the point of any decision-was really the power of knowing exactly what he wanted. Engaging portrait of a journey of self-discovery, leading to the liberating knowledge that joy and freedom often come from accepting limitations. Agent: Stuart Krichevsky/Stuart Krichevsky Agency
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592404445
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 5/7/2009
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Andy Raskin

A long-time NPR commentator whose essays have been heard on All Things Considered and This American Life, Andy Raskin has written for The New York Times, Gourmet, Playboy (Japanese edition), and other publications. He lives in San Francisco.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 1, 2009

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    Honest and Straight Foward

    I had little hope for this book when I took it off the shelf but needed some light reading during lunches at work.WOW, I hope all my random selections turn out so good. This is an honest account of a single man coming to grips with some of his inner demons written in a light hearted manner. A really good book that doesnt pull punches. Also a great story of Momofuko Ando, the inventor of Ramen Noodles, and the authors quest(holy grail)of meeting him. Nice insights on Japanese culture. Maybe a little graphic for sensative readers, but a real good page turner.

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  • Posted August 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent first step for the single guy looking for insights on dating

    I took this book on the plane, as I headed to Atlanta to hang out with my buddies and friends for some much needed R&R, intending to read during the flight delays and two hour flight from/to EWR. My intent was not to finish the book, as I have only finished one book while on a trip and that was back in 2001. I surprised myself because I read it after coming in from a bar, a cookout and poolparty! This was a funny, yet sincere, story that had me wondering if I was reading about myself or some of my other single buddies.

    The author does not attempt to spin some clever, high-styled storyline or to lecture the reader. Rather, he simply tells you about his experiences and desire to be better dating man in very accessible language, which language is as picturesque as those abstract paintings in The MET. If you are 30 or 40-something, single guy or unintended bachelor (or if you know of someone who is), this book will be a good reading. It will not cure all that ails you or the single guy, but it will, nonetheless, allow one to see some behavior and/or approaches that keep the single guy from breaking that cycle (provided that the single guy wants to break the same).

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