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SHIGA

Shiga foodies to look for a few good men

by Magdalena Osumi

Staff Writer

This weekend, diners in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, will get the chance to vote for their favorite ikemen. Although this term is used to describe an attractive man, the most important men (noodles) at this year’s Ikemen Battle will be those steaming in hot broth. The contest’s title is a pun, with the “men” in “ikemen” represented by the kanji character for noodles.

Each bowl of ramen costs ¥500. Guests can sample the dishes and then vote for the tastiest one. After they’ve had their fill, they are asked to drop their chopsticks into the ballot box of the restaurant serving the best soup.

The soup winner will be selected based on the weight of the chopsticks the restaurants receive from their customers, and the top three ikemen dishes will be announced on the second day of the competition.

About 15 restaurants from Shiga and its neighboring prefectures are set to take part in the competition, which will take place outdoors near the Shiga Prefectural Government’s main building.

Ikemen Battle 2013 will take place in the parking lot of the Shiga Prefectural Government building near JR Otsu and Keihan Shimanoseki stations in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, on Oct. 12 (from 4 p.m. till 9 p.m.) and Oct. 13 (from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m.). Admission is free, but visitors will be charged for food and drinks. For more information, call 077-565-4455 or visit www.ikemen-battle.com (in Japanese).