Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Soba are buckwheat noodles, a common food in Japan. You can eat soba noodle soup at cheap restaurants where the customers eat standing at a counter, or at expensive specialty restaurants where the soba is made by hand in the front window of the restaurant, as pictured here.

Soba noodle soup is eaten with chopsticks, and should be slurped. I find it funny to stand in a restaurant eating soba with twenty standing slurping strangers. I like eating soba with chopsticks, but I'm not very good at slurping. At first it took me longer than average to eat a bowl of soba, but now I can eat it as quickly as the other customers.
Below is a plastic model of a plate of soba. Japanese restaurants usually have realistic-looking plastic models of their food in the front window. This is great for illiterate folks like me. The factory that makes most of this plastic "food" is in the mountains not far from Tokyo, and I've heard that tourists can try their hand at making plastic food there for a small fee.
I also like soba in the form of tea, made by pouring hot water over buckwheat kernels in a mug. More information about soba is available at

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