Saturday, October 20, 2012

Night 6 @ Yume Wo Katare: Craziness in the rain

Please see my Everything you need to know about Yume Wo Katare post 
for more information.


I thought that the rain would keep people away tonight but by 5:45pm there were 55 people in line. By 6pm the line was already to the end of Dunkin Donuts. The first guy told me he got in line at 4:30pm!!! That's the earliest the line has started. Doors opened at 5:50pm and the line was closed at 9:25pm, apparently because they were running out of broth. The wait was well over 2 hours for a lot of people. By 7pm, around 40 people had gotten in and received their food, but things slowed down later on. There were some particularly slow eaters tonight. The last customers were in the door by 10:25pm but didn't get their food another 10:45pm.

The crowd tonight was very heavily MIT. Twenty people showed up from Sloan and I saw at least 2 others from MIT (they had an MIT umbrella :). The Sloan guys told me that someone had invited a few friends and then it turned into a chain mail and the next thing they knew there were 20 of them. They had to split up into several groups.


There were a lot more families with young kids than I've seen before. When one family got to the front of the line the little boy was jumping up and down yelling, "Tabetai! Tabetai! Tabetai!" (want to eat!). It was pretty funny. Earlier in the night I'd actually heard an adult in line yelling, "I'm hungry!" Someone in line asked me why there was a seat that had been empty for the hours she'd been standing in line. Just because there's an empty seat, doesn't mean that it's available. The number of people who are let in next is based on the number of each group. They usually only let 5 or 6 people in at a time, but sometimes it's only 4. They generally won't let people jump the queue by more than a few people, so if a group of 4 is followed by groups of 4, 5, 3, and 2, the group of 2 can't move ahead.

I know it's frustrating for people to see an open seat, but they've figured out a system to work for them. The main reason the line moves so slowly is that many people eat slowly, talk, text, and surf the Internet while they're eating, and sometimes continue to sit at the table after they've finished eating. If people ate quickly and left without chatting with their friends for 30 minutes, the line would move more quickly. Being Japanese, the owners are too polite to rush people out the door. It surprises me that after waiting in line for 2 hours people aren't more mindful of the people behind them. 

I asked my fellow volunteer how long it takes him to eat ramen and he said 10 minutes. Even when I hurry and don't talk, it takes me a good 15-20 minutes to eat Yume Wo Katare ramen. He said to me that girls always eat more slowly. I gather that most men in Japan can inhale a bowl of ramen in 5-10 minutes.


People continue to ask me when the best day/time is to come and I still don't have a good answer. I thought the rain would deter people but it seems not. It was surprisingly warm tonight so maybe if it's cold and rainy on a weeknight, maybe that would deter people, but on the other hand, that's perfect ramen weather. You really need to be in the first 6-12, although if the line starts at 4:30pm, then you're still going to be waiting a long time for your ramen. It seems that you ought to get in arrive by 9pm to ensure the line hasn't closed.


This is what the guys eat at the end of a long night.
10:45pm Bowl #5!


I really am beginning to think that getting through a bowl of Yume Wo Katare ramen is a process of building up endurance. I did better tonight than I did on Wednesday night and left less broth behind.

Gochisousama deshita!


  1. Very nice to meet you tonight (I was the guy in tie die who asked if you were indeed you). It was a great experience and it is very cool of you to help them get off the ground. I'm curious if you've been lucky enough to try Guchi's yet. I'm friendly w/ the folks who run it and I know they're excited to get out to Yume Wo Katare soon.
    Do you have a twitter account I could follow?

    1. Hey - nice meeting you too. No tweets for me. I haven't made it to Guchi's. I didn't hear about it until quite late - possibly over the summer after they'd stopped until fall. I'd really like to go, but know the lines are long and since they start so late I'm not sure when I'll get to go, but I'm dying to.

      Lots of Japanese restaurant people have been coming to check out Yume Wo Katare. :) Two sushi restaurant owners were there tonight. Cafe Mami and Ebi Sushi owners have come and all the staff of Sapporo showed up one night after work with someone from ChoChos. I'm sure the Nishiokas will be happy if meet the Guchi's people if they don't already know them.

  2. Just saw your blog when I was looking 4 japanese food in boston online. And I suddenly realized that I was the first guy at 4:30 that day. I feel proud and glad of it. Is that any one break my record yet? :)

    1. As far as I know, you're the record holder, although there have been a few days I wasn't at Yume Wo Katare or didn't get a chance to ask the first person what time they arrived. I think the latest the line has started has been 5:15. :)