Slid under the dividing partition, the handwritten note begins with “Don’t say anything”.

Out of all the many ramen joints in Japan, noodle lovers far and wide hold a special spot in their hearts for Japanese ramen chain Ichiran. Not only are their tonkotsu pork bone broth noodle dishes hearty and delicious, they’re also great value at under US$10 a bowl, but what really makes them stand out from their competitors is their unique dining system.

After ordering and paying at the machine, diners at Ichiran head to a vacant booth along a long wall, and after customising their noodles on paper, their final order is passed through a bamboo curtain in front of them. When the meal is ready, it’s served through the bamboo curtain to the diner, so there’s no need to speak or even see the face of another person throughout the whole process.

▼ This makes Ichiran a popular spot for solo diners, who like to slurp away in the private booths.

Usually, diners mind their own business at Ichiran, wolfing down their noodles in peace and quiet before heading out again. However, for one solo diner in Japan, a recent trip to Ichiran was fraught with so much fear it had them racing out the door.

The experience was shared online by Twitter user @nyoronyoro0515, who tweeted this image, saying:

“When I went to Ichiran, a middle-aged man next to me slid this under the partition, I’m seriously shaking”.

The note, written in the red ink of the Ichiran pen that sits inside every booth for ordering purposes, says:

“Don’t say anything. When you’ve finished eating, come to the toilet.”

Needless to say, the diner who received the note didn’t know what to make of it, and seeing as it was only him and an older man next to him inside the restaurant at the time, there was no one else it could’ve come from.

The diner says he hadn’t said a word the whole time during the meal, so he wasn’t sure why the note began with a request for him not to speak. But then “come to the toilet”? That was the part that was particularly unnerving for him, especially as the language used in the note was very casual and almost demanding in tone.

People on Twitter were equally frightened for the diner, leaving comments like:

“There’s only one word for this: terrifying.”
“I hope you ran away and escaped immediately!”
“Who has the free time to write notes when there’s a bowl of Ichiran ramen in front of you?”
“Even the writing on this looks scary.”
“You should file a complaint with Ichiran.”

The diner says they didn’t say anything to staff at the time, and after a few anxious minutes that seemed like an eternity, the man next to him eventually ordered a kaedama (second serving of noodles). That’s when the man who received the note stood up and left the store immediately, without visiting the toilet and without making eye contact with the person in the next booth, who looked just like an ordinary, middle-aged Japanese man.

A number of commenters online found it amusing that the note was written on Ichiran paper printed with the words “kodawaritai oishisa ga aru” in the bottom right-hand corner. This loosely translates to “It has a deliciousness you’ll want to obsess over“, and while it’s meant to be used for the noodles, it takes on a whole other meaning if, as many believe, this note was actually an invitation to get frisky in the bathroom.

As one commenter put it:

“I see. ‘It has a deliciousness you’ll want to obsess over’ so he wanted you to go to the toilet with him…”

Another commenter cheekily suggested he should’ve slid the note back with “katame de onegai shimasu” (“Hard, please“) written on the back of it, which is usually used to request a firmer noodle on order customisation sheets.

In the end, whether this was an unwanted advance or something more sinister remains yet to be known. However, the bathrooms at Ichiran really are worth writing about, as they’re famous for having dozens of toilet rolls in toilet roll holders on the walls of their toilet cubicles.

Source: Twitter/@nyoronyoro0515 via Hachima Kikou
Images: ©SoraNews24

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