One rare night I got back to the hotel early enough (meaning before the shops closed down for the night) for a quick trip to a local ramen shop less than a block from the hotel. It was a larger shop than the one I ate at back in Sapporo a year ago, but it was still crowded. And the place was well known enough that there was always a small queue of people at the front door waiting to be seated and served. Tables were empty only briefly.
I know that each region in Japan is known for a distinctive ramen recipe, especially Sapporo, but to be honest, when I ate there that night, I thought it was as good as Sapporo. Not that my taste buds have that kind of memory, but I remember how good it was back that last December, and this was, to me, just as good.
The photo shows a small local business (i.e. not a commercial franchise), with two cooks (one making noodles and the other the soup) and a waitress (who I believe may have also been the manager and possibly the owner). I liked the shop not only because of the good food, but because it was filled with humanity. It was the first time since arriving that I didn’t feel out of place.