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Can Finishing A Big Bowl Of Ramen Make Dreams Come True?
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Can Finishing A Big Bowl Of Ramen Make Dreams Come True?


Can Finishing A Big Bowl Of Ramen Make Dreams Come True?
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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Ramen is trendier than ever in the U.S. - steaming bowls of the slurp-able Japanese noodle soup can be found in tiny shops and top restaurants. In Cambridge, Massachusetts there is a place where eating a bowl of ramen and could make your dreams come true - or at least be with a really full belly. Andrea Shea, of member station WBUR in Boston, explains.

ANDREA SHEA, BYLINE: There aren't many restaurants where everyone yells praise at you for finishing your food. But that is what happens at Yume Wo Katare.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Everyone, she did a good job.

SHEA: But you earn those cheers by taking part in a highly regimented ramen experience. It begins with standing in a long line outside that starts snaking down the sidewalk well before the doors open at five p.m.

CHRIS SHIPLEY: Yeah, I have waited in lines over an hour.

SHEA: Customer Chris Shipley says it's worth it. He's been coming here once a month for about a year.

SHIPLEY: It's an interactive kind of experience, even if you're going alone.

SHEA: Once inside, 34-year-old owner and ramen master Tsuyoshi Nishioka shouts his welcome from behind a long counter that separates the open kitchen from the shop's 18-seat dining room. There are only two choices - ramen that's topped with pork, or ramen topped with more pork. Nishioka's homemade noodles swim in fatty pork broth. Next, diners are told where to sit - three rows of tables face the chef. It feels kind of like a classroom. And there's a question on the wall - what's your purpose in life?

MAKOTO YAMAMOTO: Thank you for coming to Yume Wo Katare. Which means, talk about your dreams, in Japanese.

SHEA: That's server, Makoto Yamamoto explaining the shop's concept.

YAMAMOTO: We want the customers to accomplish all their dreams in life, you know, whatever dreams you do have. And how we can help you with - is that ramen he's preparing right now. So you can finish this hard bowl of ramen, you can do anything in your life.

SHEA: Since opening Yume Wo Katare a couple of years ago, the chef Nishioka has been encouraging people to reclaim claim abandoned dreams and nurture new ones - like a ramen guru, he says attaining one's goals requires deep concentration. So does eating a heaping pile of his noodles.

TSUYOSHI NISHIOKA: When ramen is coming - grab chop chopsticks don't stop until you finish eating the bowl.

SHEA: If you slurp down everything in the bowl, which no small task, the room erupts.

If you eat your noodles but can't drink all of the broth, you get a good job.


MAN: Everyone - good job.

SHEA: The goal, the chef Nishioka says, is to push people beyond what they think they're capable. Server Makoto Yamamoto started working at the Cambridge restaurant a month ago and says it's inspirational.

YAMAMOTO: The atmosphere for this restaurant creates is unique, I feel like. We can just dissolve the wall between employer, employees and customers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey everyone, this guy gets almost.


SHEA: For NPR News, I'm Andrea Shea, in Boston.

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