Japanese Students Eat a Bowl of “Success Ramen” at Ichiran Before Exams

19.January.2018 | FOOD / SPOT

Internationally recognised ramen chain Ichiran are currently selling their Gokaku Ramen (‘Success Ramen’) at their Dazaifu Sando branch. It has been almost a year since they began serving it and has been praised by people both in and out of Japan.

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Gokaku Ramen uses a natural pork ramen broth, inside which sits 59cm long noodles made from a special blend of wheat flour.

 

The Dazaifu Sando branch also sells its own merchandise, such as Gokaku Chopsticks. The restaurant is visited by many people preparing to take exams hoping to increase their chances of success. Since students visit the local Dazaifu Tenman-gū Shrine to pray to Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of scholarship, to pray for success on their exams, Ichiran wanted to support them and so created this dish.

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The number of high school students and university students, as well as those taking state examinations and employment examinations, declaring that they have passed successfully continues to flourish.

 

 

But the success isn’t limited to Japan, as people who have eaten Goraku Ramen from overseas have claimed success too. Both them and their families have expressed their gratitude to the restaurant.

 

Select comments from customers (*translated from Japanese):

・Thanks to you, I was able to get into my first choice high school. Thank you so much.

・My little brother ate a bowl of Gokaku Ramen and passed his exams for the University of Tokyo.

・I passed my National Nursing Exam. Thank you! What a wonderful meal.

・I said “I will pass my exams for Kyushu University” to everyone yesterday. Announcements were revealed yesterday, and I passed. Thank you very much!!

・I ate this ramen, took my exam, and actually passed. Thank  you so much!!!

・I passed my Teacher Employment Examination!!!

 

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“Gokaku” in Japanese is a homophone for “success” and “pentagon”. The Dazaifu Sando branch of Ichiran is scattered with lots of pentagon shaped bits and bobs, including the donburi bowls used for the meals, the 59cm noodles, cups (pictured) above, chopsticks and more.

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Even the toilets. The sign reads toire, which means “toilet,” but with the extra lines drawn in a different colour it reads tooru, which is the verb “pass,” as in to pass an exam. The toilet paper holders also make up the kanji “合” used in 合格 (gokaku) to mean “success.” Even the staff’s name tags aren’t just regular tags – they are ema, which are small wooden plaques found at temples and shrines on which people write prayers and wishes.

 

If you have an exam coming up, whether for school or even the JLPT, then make sure you stop by Ichiran in Dazaifu for a bowl of Gokaku Ramen!

 

 

■Information

Ichiran (Dazaifu Sando branch)

Address: 2-6-2 Saifu, Dazaifu-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture)

Opening Hours: 9am-7pm (open all year round)

Access: 1-minute by foot from Dazaifu Station via Nishitetsu

Contact: 092-921-5117

Homepage: https://ichiran.com/shop/kyushu/dazaifu-sando/

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    Egg Rice Bowl – ¥320

    ChiMy ordered the Negi Ramen (¥540) together with the Egg Rice Bowl. She works as both as an illustrator and DJ. She actually frequents Kourakuen after her DJ sets, so she already had in mind her order.

    With their bellies full and their minds filled with inspiration from each of their dishes, it was time to get drawing.

    They laid out their crayons, pencils, coloured pencils and erasers onto the table. The competition allows both digital and hand drawn submissions. MOSHI MOSHI Friends went the traditional hand drawn route.

    ChiMy got stuck right in, using the pens she normally uses for her works.

    Everyone was chatty just moments ago, but as soon as they put pen to paper, they went straight into serious mode. We could see them incorporating different elements of their food into their drawings, like noodles, egg, seaweed, narutomaki, rice bowls, and so on.

    Each person who participates in the contest can submit as many entries as they like. Estuna seemed to be drawing both a boy and a girl.

    “Does this kid [character] even have a gender to begin with?” Daniel pondered as he worked on his character.

    Our members had to come up with fitting names for their child too.

     

    After about an hour of working hard, our members’ adorable children were finally complete.

    ChiMy’s character is called “En-chan.” She has a rice bowl for a hat and her hair is made of noodles. Her hair also has a stylish narutomaki hair clip.

    Sammy named her character “Umen,” which makes use of both Papa’s noodles and Mama’s narutomaki. His cute shoes are actually eggs!

    Naomi create a super adorable sibling pair, called Chad The E-Boy and VSCO-chan respectively. They have matching wavy noodle hair, as you’d expect from a brother and sister.

    Estuna’s idea was a twin brother and sister called “Menyuyu-chan” and “Rakutaro” who transform when they eat noodles. It’s cool that she even added some lore to their character!

    Daniel’s character is “Ramen Baby,” a creepy-cute ramen bowl who eats their own noodles, aka themselves. The diaper adds that baby touch to the character.

    Peter conceived “Mugimen,” who has a Native American-like appearance and whose torso is an egg. His headpiece is wheat which is a fundamental ingredient of ramen.

    Everyone was able to come up with their own unique ideas and put them on paper. It’s interesting to see how all their ideas came together and how their dishes inspired what they drew.

     

    The MOSHI MOSHI Friends left feeling satisfied after their tasty food at Kourakuen and being engrossed in their work.

     

    Submissions for the contest close at 23:59 (JST) on Friday October 25. Don’t worry if you’re not confident in your drawing skills as Japanese illustrator Shashamin will take your idea and add any finishing touches to your design and colouring. Anyone and everyone are encouraged to get involved.

     

    *All listed prices of the menu items include tax

    *Select branches may not stock select menu options listed in this article

    *To see the full menu, please visit Kourakuen’s official website at https://www.kourakuen.co.jp/

     

    Models: Etsuna, NaomiChiMy, Peter, Sammy, Daniel

    Writer: Ellie (MOSHI MOSHI NIPPON)

    Photographer: pon

    Translator: Joshua Kitosi-Isanga

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