Technology is a beautiful thing!* When I first heard of the Ramen Robots, I was very impressed and knew that one day I’d have to make a visit. So as luck would have it, I got a chance to pay that visit on my last trip to Japan. Immediately, I was in awe. The geek in me was exploding as I watched two recycled robot arms, aptly named R2B1 (manager) and R2B2 (asst. manager), take turns conversing, cracking jokes with one another, and oh yeah…preparing ramen. Notice how I said “preparing” rather than “making.” Just to clarify, the robots don’t actually make the soup or the noodles or the toppings. They just put everything together in that robotically-fine-tuned fashion. The other geek in me (yes there is more than just one) would love to take a look at the code that runs these two bad boys. Yes, I am a nerd…
*(I know some people might be against this sort of technology but let’s save that discussion for another day on another blog.)
Before I get to the you-know-what, I’d like to reenact, in loosely-translated English, a scene that I found hilarious. I didn’t get a chance to video it but you can see someone else’s here (via morimrim).
- R2B2: What were you doing yesterday at that restaurant?
- R2B1: Huh? I don’t know what you’re talking about.
- R2B2: Don’t act stupid fool. I saw you!
- R2B1: What? I was just eating some Japanese barbecue.
- R2B2: But you weren’t alone right?!?!
- R2B1: Yeah you’re right. I was on a date with some girl.
- R2B2: Oh yeah???
- R2B1: Yeah…she was just alright. Nothing special.
- R2B2: Dude, you’re talking about my girlfriend!!
- R2B1: …..bu..but it was nothing.
- R2B2: I know your my manager and all, (*pulls out a knife*) but you know you done f*d up, don’t you? You know it, don’t you? (If you didn’t get it, that was a Menace reference…nevermind.)
And the rest is a bit violent to describe to all you kids out there but let’s just say there were robot guts everywhere…just kidding. After a few attempted stabs from R2B2, R2B1 gracefully dodged them with his condiment-cover shield. Then they quickly made up and began making ramen and calling each other stupid like nothing ever happened. Awesome!
I did manage to take an amateur video of the ramen-preparing pair in action. As for the actual ramen, it was just an average bowl of Kumamoto-style tonkotsu. It was good, but not nearly as impressive as the robots. The soup was a bit plain, even with the kuro-mayu (burnt garlic), and the toppings (chashu, kikurage, negi) were fairly standard, although the chashu was pretty good. Anyhow, you can easily tell that most of the shopkeeper’s time went into the robots and not the ramen. Hence, if I were to come back again it would be for the robots and probably not the ramen.
This next video is of R2B1 spinning a dish on his mechanical finger. R2B2 yells out “wow brother! you’re awesome!” and shortly thereafter the dish stops spinning and you see R2B2 turn his back and crouch in shame. hahaha!
The last video is of the pair dancing in sync to the music. I guess they do this after their comedic acts are finished and there are no more customers ordering ramen. It’s actually quite soothing.
So there you have it! The infamous Ramen Robots of Fa~Men. Now go check them out for yourself!! Here are the directions: From Nagoya Station, take the Higashiyama Line (bound for Fujigaoka) to Fushimi. Then transfer to the Tsurumai Line (bound for Toyota) and get off at Oosukannon. Head north and look for a big sign that says Akamon Street. This map should also help. They are open for lunch from 11:30am to 3pm and for dinner from 5pm to 7:30pm. Closed on Wednesdays.
Other sites that mention Tonkotsu Ramen Fa~Men: