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

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

5.0 2
by Andy Raskin
     
 

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"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 toSee more details below

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.

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
From the Publisher
A "wacky, oddly endearing memoir."
-The Washington Post

"Ramen King serves up enlightenment in a bowl"
-San Francisco Chronicle

"Endearing and compelling [...] therapeutic and enlightening [...] oddly entertaining"
-San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

"Hilarious and often poignant [...] unexpectedly charming."
-San Francisco magazine

"Alternately tongue-in-cheek and sincere, The Ramen King and I proves that, to paraphrase a Japanese proverb, "If man has no ramen in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty."
-FlavorPill

"A hilarious but instructive casserole. ... Readers with hankerings for the zany and life-affirming (not to mention Japanese) will salivate over this book. Serve with Julie Powell's Julie and Julia."
-Library Journal

"Mixing humor and raw honesty, Raskin's introspective journey is inspiring and entertaining."
-Booklist

"Raskin's laugh-out-loud memoir yields surprising insights [...] An engaging portrait of a journey of self-discovery, leading to the liberating knowledge that joy and freedom often come from accepting limitations."
-Kirkus

"Andy Raskin has crafted something much more than a clever and entertaining story. While bringing to life several curiously vivid Japanese subcultures, he sets out on a quest for something deep within himself, and finds it. Great comedies offer us honest-to-goodness meaning, and The Ramen King and I, with emotional depth beneath its quirky humor, certainly ranks among them."
-Arthur Golden

"I ate this book in one sitting. Okay three sittings. What I mean is I loved it. It won me over from the start, and when it wasn't making me hungry it made me think. Apparently I, too, battle against the Fundamental Misunderstanding of Humanity."
—Po Bronson

"To say The Ramen King and I is a memoir about sex and fidelity and instant noodles only hints at the humor and humanity of this wonderful, beautifully crafted book. I couldn't stop laughing, even though it was also sad, in that being-human-is-sometimes-a-sad-proposition kind of way. Andy Raskin has an insider's perspective on male desire and Japanese culture, and a keen eye for the delicate, heartbreaking absurdities of both."
-Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meat

"More raw than sushi...Raskin's journey is bizarre, enlightening, and delicious."
-Pamela Drickerman, author of Lust in Translation

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101032817
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/07/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
File size:
0 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Pamela Drucker
More raw than sushi... Raskin's journey is bizarre, enlightening, and delicious. (Pamela Drucker, author of Lust In Translation)
Ruth Ozeki
To say The Ramen King and I is a wonderful, beautifully crafted memoir about sex and fidelity and instant noodles only hints at the humor and humanity of this book. I couldn't stop laughing, even though it was also sad, in that being-human-is-sometimes-a-sad-proposition kind of way. Andy Raskin has an insider's perspective on male desire and Japanese culture, and a keen eye for the delicate, heartbreaking absurdities of both. (Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meats)
Po Bronson
I ate this book in one sitting. Okay, three sittings. What I mean is I loved it. It won me over from the start, and when it wasn't making me hungry it made me think. Apparently I, too, battle against the Fundamental Misunderstanding of Humanity.
Pamela Druckerman
"More raw than sushi . . . Raskin's journey is bizarre, enlightening, and delicious."--(Pamela Druckerman, author of Lust in Translation)
Arthur Golden
"Andy Raskin has crafted something here that is much more than a clever and entertaining story. He has brought to life a number of curiously vivid Japanese subcultures, while at the same time setting out on a quest for something deep within himself, and finding it. Only the very best comedy can offer us honest-to-goodness meaning and The Ramen King and I, with the emotional depth to be found beneath its quirky humor, is certainly one of them."

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