Mt. Aso and Fukuoka – The Final Leg

Mt. Aso from Aso City
Mt. Aso from Aso City

After a nice relaxing visit at the Omata’s we had one last big stop on our list – hike an active volcano. Mt. Aso, or Aso San, is known for being a temperamental hot spot that has been smoking for years. At its peak, Nakadake crater, there are about 8 inner craters and a small lake of boiling hot, blue water. The crater is off limits but there are zones outside the most toxic spot with a cable car taking visitors to its edge. Unluckily for us, Nakadake was misbehaving as recently as March, causing the closest safe zone (1 KM around the crater) to be closed off. That, combined with super foggy conditions, made our visit to Aso a somewhat disappointing one.

But before leaving the town of Aso however, we got a chance to ride a classical scenic train that wraps around the southern valley of the mountain. Between the quaint towns of Tateno and Takamori, this hour-long “tour” gave us a glimpse at the communities that live so close to this active volcano. Continue reading Mt. Aso and Fukuoka – The Final Leg

Ramen (La Mian) as a Meal

Nong Xin Ramen- 5 pack

My favorite “fast food” in all of Asia is actually a Korean Ramen called “Shin Ramyun” or 辛拉面 in Chinese. It’s basically a brick of ramen, some dried veges, and a packet of seasoning. This is not a meal in itself, nor is a Cup Noodles. Asian teenagers often eat this as a snack, but I’ll show you how college students often turn it into a proper meal.

1~ Boil water in a pot, add chopped onions, sliced mushrooms (shitake are nice), and let them cook for a minute or two.

2~ Add the ramen brick. Move it around with chopsticks or a fork. Loosen it up. Add the seasoning packet.

3~ Then, crack a couple eggs into the pot. Don’t move it too much while they cook.

4~ Test a noodle to make sure it’s soft. When its ready, turn off heat and pour a serving off into your bowl.

5~ Add water if its too spicy. You don’t need ice cubes.