28 July, Japan – ‘All Over The Place – Asia’
On the list of ‘Top Ten Things To Do In Osaka’ is ‘Visit the Cup Noodle Ramen Noodle Museum’. I’ve got a suspicion I probably wouldn’t end up there on holiday, but it sounded perfect for ‘All Over The Place’, and they were certainly welcoming when we turned up at the crack of dawn to get a head start on the promised crowds. The staff were all lined up at the front waiting for us, business cards in hand.
We filmed an opening next to a replica of the shed where the inventor of instant noodles worked in the 1950s, and a few other bits and bobs, before the doors were opened to the public. I didn’t expect an instant noodle museum to be a big draw, but boy was I wrong. In no time at all the place was bursting with excited Japanese families, and the sizeable dining hall was full to the brim with people designing their own noodle cups and choosing their own flavourings. I guess Cup Noodle must be a brand like Marmite or Cadburys back home – one that evokes nostalgia and a sense of national pride. If you do find yourself in Osaka, maybe you should pay a visit after all.
We wrapped filming at about lunchtime, but no time to eat – we had a plane to catch, to the northern island of Hokkaido. It was only an hour long flight but as the plane landed it was already getting dark and was raining quite heavily. A bit worrying as we’ve got a couple of big items to film outside over the next couple of days. We met yet another ultra polite and helpful Japanese bus driver and made our way into the mountains. Our hotel is actually a ski lodge in the winter and is a kind of cross between a 1980s leisure centre and a student halls of residence. A lot of the crew were keen to try out the Onsen bath – a traditional giant Japanese bath where people… well, have a big bath together. Call me repressed and English (I am at least one of those things), but hanging out naked with my work colleagues isn’t really my idea of a good time, so I gave it the swerve!