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SLURP! A Social and Culinary History of Ramen — Japan’s Favorite Noodle Soup, by Barak Kushner. Global Oriental, 2012, 289 pp., $90 (hardcover)

Under the heading “Ramen is Japan” Barak Kushner asserts: “Ramen (regular and instant) permeates all features of contemporary Japanese life.” He goes on to declare that a lifestyle investigation in 2004 showed that an overwhelming majority of Japanese prefer ramen to other noodle dishes including soba, udon or pasta. As someone who is particularly fond of zaru-soba and who is conscious of the pride of various regions such as Nagano in their own special varieties of soba and udon, I find this surprising.

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