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

by Andy Raskin


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781592405541
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/06/2010
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.28(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

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.

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."

Customer Reviews

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The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
RandyStafford on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Raskin, for me, wasn't a particularly likeable companion as he goes on a journey of self-discovery that weaves skillfully back and forth in time. What Raskin tries to discover is why he's so habitually unfaithful to his many girlfriends. The sayings and life of Momofuku Ando, the world renowned (ok, Asian renowned) inventor of instant ramen, become Raskin's higher power on his road to recovery. But a funny thing happened in the final part of the book. Oh, I consistently enjoyed reading about Ando, and I found the asides on Japanese matters (business etiquette, food-themed manga, puns, sushi, museums devoted to ramen or gyoza, and samurai movies) fascinating and often funny. Surprisingly a revelation about Ando's life proves relevant to Raskin's plight. And Ando's Zen like sayings go from seemingly silly business platitudes or personal eccentricities to something profound and useful. They become another example of the transforming wisdom sometimes found in the unlikely places of popular culture or the lives of the eccentric. Raskin has started an advice column using the sayings and life of Ando. That may be worth a look, and I definitely would like to see him do more Japanese related material.
juli1357 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I found this book to be a huge disappointment. I had read one good review in a local newspaper, then came across it at the library, picked it up and loved the cover, title and premise of the book enough to read it. I am a major foodie, but the one cuisine I am not particularly fond of is Japanese. I'll eat it, but I find the flavors a bit too nuanced for my palate. Having said that, I did learn some interesting things re: sushi and sushi restaurants, not that I'm any more inclined to seek it out. I've been reading about the beauty of ramen (the stuff cooked from scratch, not Top Ramen) for some time, but it was Raskin's description, not so much of the soup itself, but rather of the obsessive fans that seek it out and they way they ritualize the process of ordering it and eating it, that has prompted me to put this on my list of food items to seek out. Living in Boise, ID, I have few options available but next month, I'm taking a trip to Seattle, where I hope to find some of the good stuff. Getting back to the book, Raskin is someone I think I'd like if I met him in person but as a writer, I felt he took an interesting idea and stretched it really thin. This would have made a great essay but there is simply not enough material here to sustain a book. The title and and the premise of the book are very misleading because in the end, although Momofuku Ando may have been the catalyst, it's really Raskin getting in touch with his inner voice that liberates him. Momofuku and his teachings are more of a side note. I thought I'd be reading this great self-help book in which I'd learn all the quirky teachings of Momofuku, but instead, I read almost 300 pages about a guy who was simply getting in touch with himself. Instead of Iron John, think Ramen Andy. Enough said.
benruth on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Seeing that the previous review is by the author, I might have reason to be glad my home address does not appear on LibraryThing were I just about to pan this book. However, as one who was fortunate enough to get hold of a pre-publication copy, I am relieved to be able to say truthfully that I am glad to have read it! This is the sort of book about which it's hard to give too much detail in a review for fear of exposing all the ways it's not necessarily exactly what one might expect (yes, the title alone leads to the expectation of something quirky, but the story itself is even quirkier than one might imagine---and that's no bad thing!). _The Ramen King and I_ is not necessarily a life-changing book, but it is a life-affirming one, with some of the deepest pleasures being in the little things, like the unique and witty perspective on Japanese culture that Raskin, as an American who has spent considerable time in Japan and learned the language, has to offer. (His summations of the plots of various Japanese comic books alone would have made this book worth reading!) All in all, this is a clever and enlightening book that I'm grateful to have stumbled upon, and I would enjoy reading more from Andy Raskin in the future.
coolmama on LibraryThing 5 months ago
OK, so Andy is a sex addict who used Momofuku Ando (inventor of Ramen Noodles) to get through his addiction issue and writes him letters and explains his life.Go with it, I know it sounds a bit, um, unconventional, but it actually is a charming and heart warming story.Now I want to Google Andy and read his short pieces - really nice reading!
amydross on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I looooooooved all of Raskin's fabulous food stories, from the first best piece of fatty tuna to the bowl of ramen that cost him his gall bladder. It's so common for western lit to show Japan as creepy, funny, or hyper-exotic, but Raskin does an excellent job of showing what makes Japanese culture so interesting and compelling without ever resorting to caricature or low humor. I got a real sense of his respect for (as opposed to fetishization of) Japanese culture. I was rather less interested in the author's romantic problems, but it gave some structure to what might otherwise have been a rambly set of anecdotes.
tintinintibet on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Read it in one sitting -- Raskin manages to write about a broad array of compelling topics (for me): Japanese culture (obviously, from the title, including restaurants and food), business magazine writing, relationships, and something akin to "setting his moral compass". The structure and style of the book is interesting in alternating chapters that reflect parallel story lines (kind of like "Everything is Illuminated" but done internally rather than with a second narrator -- maybe "Soul Moutain" had alternating chapters using a second, internal voice too?) -- and this trope gets even more condensed when there's even dialogue between the two.Okay, I'm making this out to be much crazier and far more difficult to understand or read than it is -- Raskin's writing style (despite the strange sounding structure I described) is straightforward. And since I mentioned "Everything Is Illuminated", I thought it had a forced, juvenile style over the last half/third of the book; Soul Mountain was too annoying to finish, largely due to it's convoluted organization.Raskin does not suffer from pretentious words, phrases, or references. He's big into Japanese culture broadly -- and there's plenty of reference to manga comics, finer points of sushi, and samurai films like Musashi or those of Kurosawa -- but there's also American references, to the Brady Bunch, American neighborhoods (Dolores Park in SF, Upper West Side in NYC, etc.).....I don't know where I'm going with this.Similar books.....well, I think there's a spectrum of the "adult male growing up" genre that this book seems to take some pieces of. "Iron & Silk" and, actually, the other Mark Salzman books are superficially similar (white American finds inspiration in Asia). I hesitate to mention something akin to the "Frog King" by Adam Davies, but "Ramen King and I" is much bigger in scope and depth, and therefore more compelling for me. What I really hesitate to compare it to is "Average American Male" or "American Psycho", which are the extremities of this genre and people who really liked those may find Raskin's work too tame. Palahniuk? Yeah, his books have some genre similarities, but I'd still say Palahniuk is closer to those last two examples than he is to Raskin. Alain de Botton -- maybe if you combined "How Proust Can Change Your Life" (hilarious the first read, less so in retrospect) with "On Love" (or whatever his other sappy books are) with "Consolations of Philosophy" (which didn't hold my interest) -- maybe then you'd get closer than any of the prior examples.
Marek More than 1 year ago
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.
mark4gwh More than 1 year ago
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).