In the morning, I received a call from the security company saying that a glass had been broken. I thought it might be a prank, but I rushed to the restaurant and found that the ticket machine had disappeared. I had no idea that the entire ticket machine had been stolen. ……
Hiromasa Yoneda, owner of “Budoya Shin,” a Yokohama-style ramen restaurant in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture, recalls his shock at the time. The cash in the ticket machine was about 700,000 yen, including three days’ worth of sales. The ticket machines themselves were priced at about 700,000 yen each, and the total damage, including the cost of replacing the glass, amounted to nearly 1.5 million yen.
At this point, the damage was enormous, but a further problem came to Yoneda’s mind. It was a problem related to the “foundation” of Ikei-Ramen.
The soup has been made by hand since the establishment of the restaurant in May of last year. The kitchen was not ransacked, but it was clear that thieves had entered the store, and there was no proof that they had not tampered with the soup. My own first thought when I entered the restaurant was, ‘That’s disgusting. We cannot serve such soup to our customers. I decided to discard it out of sheer desperation.
It was 14 years ago in 2009. At the time, Mr. Yoneda was working as a host in downtown Tokyo and decided to change to a day job. He entered “Nidaime Budoya” (Nakano Ward, Tokyo), which caught his eye through Town Work, as a part-time clerk. Yoneda, who is from Aomori Prefecture, was unfamiliar with ikebana ramen and mistakenly thought the word “ikebana” was “yakei. Later, after being promoted to an employee, he moved from one affiliated restaurant to another in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
After training at more than five restaurants, he finally opened his first restaurant, “Kokoro”. The “Budouka” main restaurant (Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo) sent him “soul seed soup” as a “ceremony” for his independence, and he poured it into a small bowl to start the history of “Kokoro”. The soup was the same for the days when he struggled as the owner of the restaurant.
In fact, until I threw away the soup, my emotions didn’t stir,” he said. Perhaps it was because I was determined to move forward and not look down. However, as I was throwing away the soup, one cup at a time, using a snowflake pot instead of a skidor, I gradually realized that my emotions were rising up in anger.
Our history is a little over a year old, but this soup has been connected for 17 years since the main restaurant was founded in ’06. Why should we throw away a soup filled with everyone’s thoughts and memories like this?
X (formerly Twitter),
Until this soup came to Chiba, it was made at the Budouya main restaurant by many people who took their work very seriously. You can buy things with money, but you can’t buy the passion and feelings of the craftsmen. Think about how I would feel about throwing this away.
I threw this at the culprit. I usually try not to mutter harsh words, but I could not suppress them. With a heavy heart, he reported the incident to the “head store.
I explained the situation to Mr. Takizaka (Shigeaki), the owner of the main restaurant, and asked him if he would share the soup again, knowing it would be impossible. He was very grateful and said, ‘Sure, come and get it. Come and get it. I immediately drove to Tokyo, received about 30 liters of seed broth, and hurried back to Chiba to start preparing it.
Normally, it would take at least three days to make soup from water, but thanks to the tane soup, we managed to open the next day in the evening. My head was a bit fuzzy from the all-night work, though (laughs).”
Since then, customers who learned of the incident have been rushing to the restaurant one after another to offer their support. As the owner of the restaurant, he was determined not to be seen in a depressed state, but the support of kind customers and friends was great,
Yoneda’s eyes narrowed as she said, “I realized that it is people who hurt people, but it is also people who help people.
Yoneda says, narrowing his eyes. Thanks to the “heart” of the people involved with Ikei-Ramen, the unique soup with a strong thickening consistency has been revived. The second chapter of the “heart” that defies even the most dastardly thieves has begun.
Interview, text, and photographs： Keitaro Haga