Africa

Japanese stir-fried noodles a huge hit in Kenya

Yaki udon, a Japanese stir-fried noodle dish made with thick, flat wheat noodles, is a popular and much-loved staple of Japanese cuisine. Both yaki udon and yakisoba—a similar dish which uses a thinner buckwheat noodle instead—are cheap, tasty, and readily available from many street food stalls and Japanese-style pubs). So when one of our RocketNews24 Japan reporters read that not only had a yaki udon restaurant opened up in Kenya, but that it was that it was a huge hit with the locals, he just had to check it out for himself.

Read on for our Japanese reporter’s restaurant review as he travels halfway across the world for a bowl of noodles.

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We celebrate Pocky Day by sharing Japanese candy with the Maasai people of Kenya

Along with having a pleasing smell, one of the essential requirements of being part of the RocketNews24 team is a certain measure of eloquence. I can proudly say that the rest of the crew writes really, really good (they also help me out a lot, quite obviously).

But sometimes, words aren’t quite enough. How can mere prose do justice to the subtle hues of a cherry blossom, or the reverberations of a temple bell? Sometimes, in order to properly carry out our mission of spreading the simple joys of Japanese culture, we have to carry it with us and head out into the world, which is just what we did recently while traveling Africa.

Unfortunately cherry blossom season is still about five months away, and we couldn’t fit our cast-iron bell in the overhead bin, so we settled for the next best thing: bringing boxes of the chocolaty snack Pocky to share with the Maasai people of Kenya.

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Popular Japanese travel guide for East Africa is filled with thrilling tales of danger

Japan is, by almost any criteria, an extremely safe country. You can wander most back alleys of Tokyo in the dead of night without any sense of danger, and calmly carry huge amounts of cash secure in the knowledge that you’re about as likely to come across a mugger in downtown as a man riding a horse.

While this bubble of safety is definitely a plus when you’re inside it, the flipside is that Japanese travelers, unaccustomed to street crime, violent or otherwise, tend to be extremely risk averse when going abroad. Driving this point home is the East Africa edition of a popular series of Japanese guidebooks, which is filled with warnings of danger that seem more like something out of a pulp action novel than a travel reference.

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