Ramen Review: Minimens (Despicable Me Minions themed ramen from Universal Studios Japan)

When I went to Japan (it’s been like five months now, but I’m still going to talk about it a little at some point), I happened to spend a day at Universal Studios Japan. Bearing in mind how much the Japanese seem to love Despicable Me’s annoying tiny yellow mascots, it’s no surprise my exchange partner considered a four-pack of their themed instant noodles to be a fitting gift.

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A good chunk of my suitcase was taken up by this…

When I found out the price works out that each cup is only about the equivalent of about US$4-5 per cup (about the same as any other instant ramen in Japan), I have to admit that I couldn’t really complain about the existence of the concept.

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Ramen Review: Yamadai New Touch Nostalgic Vegetable Tanmen Ramen

So I learnt my lesson from the last one, and opted for a non-spicy flavour. I honestly just picked it up because it was cheap and didn’t look like it was trying to replicate the breath of a dragon. Oh, and also because I like tanmen (or, at least I liked it the one time I tried it nearly two years ago).

I literally know nothing else because this time, they haven’t cared to even put any English instructions other than a couple of diagrams, so who knows? Maybe I prepared it comepletely wrong.

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You know you’re in trouble when the ther instructions have no numbers whatsoever.

Upon opening the pot, the seasoning hit me with a kind of nutty smell, like there was a bit of peanut butter in it, or something (again, no idea, since I can’t read the ingredients). The sweetcorn was…suspect but I gave it the benefit of the doubt as I poured hot water into the pot and covered it for about 3 minutes.

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So, how’d it taste?

20180308_171623Honestly…I don’t really know how to explain. It was kind of salty and kind of trying to be a little bit spicy, but doesn’t even compare to plain at Nando’s.  It did have a flavour though, just not a very strong one.

Despite that, it was pretty good. I’d say that the people at Yamadai did a pretty good job. The extremely mild taste is actually quite refreshing, especially in the heatwave we’ve been experiencing recently in England.

Would I buy it again? Probably yeah, if I can find it. I actually haven’t seen it in the shops near me since I bought it, actually quite a while ago, now.

In a nutshell: Not much flavour, but still refreshing.


I don’t know if this will be the last post for another month, but I do actually have quite a few things I want to talk about on here at the moment. I guess it will depend on how much work I have to do…

Ramen Review: Nongshim Shin Gourmet Spicy

I know I’ve given you radio silence for the last four months(?) but today’s post won’t be where I’ve explain myself. If you want to know where I’ve been, you’re going to have to hand on a little bit longer (I’ve been away so long, what’s another day?)


Today, I’ll be reviewing one of the many instant ramens I’ve recently managed to acquire from the world foods isle of this enormous supermarket that happens to be pretty much opposite my nearest Ikea.

Anyway, on today’s menu is Nongshim’s Shin Noodle Soup Gourmet SPICY (or at least, that’s the name I can gleam from the packaging). As far as I know, this particular variety comes in both pot and brick(?) form. I’m assuming they’re the same, but for reference, I had the pot version because it was cheaper.

So, right of the bat, I was pretty hesitant to touch it, since I’m not the world’s biggest fan of spicy food (anything about a medium at Nando’s will have me buying an entire platter for myself if I have to) and the labelling makes it very clear that this ramen is ‘Gourmet SPICY’ (whatever, that means).

Once I found some food prep gloves, I proceeded to follow the sparce instructions: Empty included sachet on top of noodles, fill with water up to inside mark, microwave for 5 1/2 minutes.

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I’ll admit that the colour and smell of the soup was looking pretty scary, so I poured myself a pint of milk, since it looked like I’d be needing it.

Cautiously, with myhands shaking, I took a small mouthful of the bright red concoction. To my surprise it wasn’t really that…wait a minute…hot, HOT! The noodles were accompanied by half my glass of milk.

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The only measure of hotness where I live.

It’s not the kind of hot that suddenly hits you in the face after lying dormant for a few seconds, but the rarer kind that slowly crawls all over your tongue and the only way to quench it is to down all 568 mililitres of your pint of milk every three mouthfuls or just keep on eating like an insane masochist who doesn’t mind if their tongue falls off.

That being said, I wouldn’t rank it higher than ‘hot’ on the Nando’s Peri-ometer. Nothing a lot of mayonaise can’t handle. As for taste other that spicyness, I’m going to be totally honest and say it was somewhat lacking. I’ll eat the other one remaining in my cupboard, but I won’t go out of my way to find it again any time soon.

In a nutshell: Spicy but not much else.


So, what do you think? Something simple to get me back into writing more frequently. A post explaining my long absense is to come (hopefully sooner than it took this post to reach you), but for now, I guess I’ll be taking requests for instant ramen and this season’s anime (as in winter 2018) that I should totally watch before next season.

Why do I even like Animal Crossing?

I’ve been in love with Animal Crossing ever since I first played Wild World nearly 10 years ago. The gameplay is simple, and some would even argue repetitive, but there’s a charm about the games that taught me patience and money management skill I still use today.

I’ll admit that I was probably among the first people to cry out against a ‘pay-to-win’ mobile variant of one of my favourite games of all time, but it’s surprisingly not bad. Even with the addition of ‘Leaf Tickets’ in Pocket Camp, it doesn’t feel like the game is a freemium cash grab, but a genuine installment in the series that just so happens to be free and on mobile. Sure, the whole thing where you have to move around all your furniture just to invite one animal over is slightly more annoying than I think was intended, but at least I haven’t been in a frustrating position that can only be resolved with spending some of my IRL cash.

 

Despite the final game’s dismissal of my original skepticism, I only played it for about 4 hours when it came out and I haven’t touched it since.

So, then, why aren’t I enjoying it? What do I like about Animal Crossing that Pocket Camp has failed to capture? What do I even like about Animal Crossing?

To be honest, these feel like harder questions than the meaning of life…

Is there anyone out there who’s actually been enjoying this game?


If you enjoy reading my blog, please consider supporting me on Patreon to make it even better! There are a bunch of goals and rewards you can check out,  including more frequent posting, podcasts, live streams and more!

Become a patron of shoujoramen on WordPress

 

Gels from the ‘Tales of’ Series

While finishing off another packet of one of my favourite Japanese sweets, I remembered the little post I made back before I had a proper blog (so long ago that it feels like it was in another life) that lead to me finding them. Since all it’s been doing is rotting on my laptop, I figured, why not share it with you guys?


After watching the ‘Gel Abstainers’ skit in Tales of Xillia, I became pretty curious about what gels actually were. It turns out that ‘gels’ are called ‘gummies’ in the Japanese versions as they specifically refer to ‘Kasugai Fruit Gummy Candies’, whatever those were.

In the end, my curiosity got the better of me and so I ended up buying some packs from Japan Centre in Piccadilly Circus. Costing all £20 I had on hand, I got managed to get the apple, peach, lemonade (there wasn’t plain lemon) and pineapple flavours.

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Aside from the apple flavour being a much more dull yellow-y orange, instead of the game’s vibrant red and the pineapple ones being heart-shaped, I’d say they look pretty accurate compared to the games’ depiction of them. Size-wise, I was actually surprised by that they were a little larger than the size of a £1 coin (about an inch). I didn’t really know what size to expect, but this size just seemed a bit…awkward…

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A size comparison

On to taste, they more-or-less have the texture of disc shaped gummy bears (as expected) but the flavours themselves are literally divine. Biting into one genuinely felt like biting into a capsule filled with super pure fruit juice. I can definitely see how these could cure a status ailment.

If you want to try them out for yourself (and you live in Europe) but you can’t find them where you live, Japan Centre has a variety of flavours to try.

Looks like I found myself a new favourite sweet…


So NaNoWriMo’s more or less over for me (will probably talk about it at some point), so I’ll be back to posting (or at least trying to) once every weekend.

If you enjoy reading my blog, please consider supporting me on Patreon to make it even better! There are a bunch of goals and rewards you can check out,  including more frequent posting, podcasts, live streams and more!

Become a patron of shoujoramen on WordPress

 

Review: Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I’m sure you’re surprised that I’m not doing a new-season-first-impressions-whatever but I’m saving that for next week when I’ve actually seen everything I’m planning on at least trying this season.

Anyway, you people on Twitter already know of my annoyance last weekend when I was accused of being under 15 (for the first time in my life) but a couple days ago I finally got to see the sequel to my favourite spy movie.

 

I was mildly disappointed yet pleasantly surprised for a number of reasons…

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How I ended up building a PC

I think there are cracks in the hinge…

My MacBook Air has served me well these last three years but considering the directions my interests have been headed this past year  (mainly towards coding and PC gaming), I discovered that there’s only so much you can do with when it only has the about same amount of RAM as my phone and refuses to run Windows. I finally decided that it was about time for an upgrade around Christmas when it attempted to give up the ghost along with my history coursework.

With the specs I needed in mind, I appeared to be left with only two options: compromise with some of specifications to fit within my budget, or spend nearly £2000 to get what I wanted. Not particularly interested in doing either, I chose a third option: building my own.

The concept me of buying each individual part and then assembling them into a working unit that allowed you to even at least use Word, let alone run a demanding game like Civilization 6, seemed ridiculous to everyone apart from me (who had been blinded by the potential monetary savings). To be fair, at the time I didn’t even know what a CPU looked like, let alone how to install it in a motherboard…

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