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  • I am Kunimoto, the owner of Mengokoro Kunimoto

  • Have you ever dreamed of opening up your own ramen shop?

  • While most ramen-ya's kitchen's are wide open to see,

  • you may be surprised at all the work that goes into owning a ramen store yourself.

  • Ticket please.

  • Please wait.

  • Shio (salt) ramen

  • While ramen is Japanese fast food, it's not a fast process to make.

  • It takes time, dedication, hard work, and knowledge.

  • While he does buy his fresh noodles from a men-ya (that means noodle store),

  • most everything he makes is from scratch.

  • Thanks for waiting, here you go. Here you are.

  • Thank you for waiting. Here you go.

  • What kind of hours does he work?

  • 8am to 11:30pm, six days a week.

  • And this is not the, I'm out of the house, from 8am to 11:30pm,

  • so I'm working all that time even though I have breaks.

  • This is non-stop hard work from when he enters the shop until when he leaves.

  • If you add it all up, and I did, that's an 80 (really 93) hour work week!

  • My father used to own a Ramen restaurant.

  • He used to be a salary man, but he quit start his own restaurant.

  • When I was a teenager, I helped in the restaurant.

  • At that time, making Ramen wasn't what I wanted to do with my life.

  • It was just helping and it was a part time job.

  • I wanted to get out into the world so I started to work

  • as a sales man, but it was not for me

  • and I came to realize that

  • I wanted to create something

  • and make people happy

  • That's what I wanted to do.

  • I start working at 8:00AM. I make fish broth everyday.

  • And while I make the broth, I also prepare eggs.

  • Menya Musashi, No.1 Ramen restaurant in Japan at that time, came to my mind,

  • and I made a phone call

  • to ask them to take me as an apprentice.

  • I started at the Menya Musashi Shinjuku main shop,

  • I worked there for 4 1/2 years.

  • Kunimoto's restaurant has 4 main dishes.

  • Of course they all contain ramen noodles,

  • but they're actually not all the same thickness,

  • nor are they prepared the same way.

  • This is regular ramen.

  • Each restaurant will have their own take on the dish.

  • Kunimoto's version has a flavourful broth with fatty pork.

  • This is Shio ramen, and shio stands for salt.

  • It has a light broth and lean pork.

  • The noodles used are thinner than the regular ramen's.

  • - Large Shio (salt) ramen, here you are. - Thank you very much for waiting.

  • This is Noukou (thick) ramen.

  • This one has a thick broth, and you can really taste the fish.

  • It also comes with plenty of onions.

  • This last dish is Tsukemen.

  • The broth and noodles are separated in two different bowls.

  • Its flavour is most similar to the regular ramen, but it's broth is richer.

  • The noodles are cooled down, and the water squeezed out.

  • While the noodles are served cold, the broth is hot.

  • So you have a little break from 3:30pm to 5:00pm?

  • I... don't get a break.

  • I constantly cook broth,

  • and do some other chores, cook soup, and cool it down.

  • I don't really take a break, maybe 15 minutes if I can.

  • At 9:00am, a part timer comes and works until 3:00pm.

  • And from 3:00pm, I start preparing.

  • I have been looking for workers. I can't find anyone at all.

  • Right now, My parents help me. I feel awful to ask them to work for me.

  • If you expect other people to work like you do,

  • It can be too much for them as they're not an owner.

  • To train people as you would train yourself

  • is really tough...

  • Former co-workers at Menya Musashi,

  • They all have their own restaurants.

  • Everyone works crazy hours.

  • It is worse than mine. Like some work from 5:00 AM.

  • It's a tough job.

  • Since I work for myself, and I'm not someone's employee,

  • this is my only chance. I won't get another opportunity like this.

  • When I first opened this restaurant with my little brother, I gave it my life.

  • Make a living... yes I can.

  • What's the least favourite thing about owning a ramen restaurant?

  • There's nothing I don't like.

  • -Good work. - Yes, good work.

  • One by one, as much as I can,

  • I put my very best in every bowl I make.

  • With ramen, out of 100 customers, not everyone will like your food.

  • How can I say this...

  • As much as I can, with everything I have,

  • I try to put my very best into each bowl of ramen.

  • Then if someone says it's delicious, that's the best feeling.

  • When you think about being an owner, you think you're the boss of everyone,

  • and sure, you are, kind of...

  • But what you may not know, is that the shop owns you.

  • And instead of one boss, you have all your customers who you need to please.

  • If you think you'll get away from having to do the dirty tasks,

  • you may be sad to realize that you still may find yourself doing all of them.

  • From cleaning dishes, to washing walls, to scrubbing floors.

  • I asked him, if he had another owner-like employee,

  • would he be able to not work so much.

  • I can't believe his answer, which was

  • that he would have the mentee open up a second restaurant!

  • -It wasn't busy today so I finished early. - Oh!

  • I normally finish at this time (11:30pm), but I didn't.

  • Kunimoto is the first person in and the last person out.

  • So kids, this is what it's like to own a ramen restaurant.

  • Thank you!

  • - Thank you! - Thank you!

  • Oh hey! You're still watching?

  • If you're Kunimoto-san,

  • then thank you so much for letting me invade your restaurant for a couple days.

  • I would say keep up the hard work,

  • but you don't need me telling you that.

  • A special thanks to all those on Patreon

  • who supports these little documentaries of mine.

  • It means a lot to me.

  • And thanks to my wife, who helped translate and worked with me

  • to chop down 5 hours of footage into these 10 minutes.

  • Peace!

I am Kunimoto, the owner of Mengokoro Kunimoto

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    minami.kuo posted on 2019/11/11
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