Throw a rock in Japan and there’s a good chance that it will hit a vending machine. Their population currently stands at a whopping 5.51 million machines. And then there’s the selection to choose from, ranging from coffee, alcohol and cigarettes to umbrellas, fresh vegetables and canned bread. Now you can add Japanese ramen noodles to the list. Found around Akihabara, these canned noodles are apparently quite popular. Takeshi Yamada, owner of the famed Menya Musashi ramen shop in Tokyo, put east and west together to create this product to offset the food shortage caused by the Niigata earthquake of 2004. Like Chikin Ramen, dire times are the mothers of invention. My hat’s off to Yamada-san. Plus, you can buy it hot out of a Japanese vending machine! Get your ramen to go, along with a cup of Boss Coffee or a pet bottle of Ooi o-cha!

Mainichi Daily News