I open the door spilling warm, steamy air out into the street. It’s an unseasonably cold, wet and miserable day in springtime Calgary; I step inside and let the warmth embrace me.

“Irashaimase”, comes the gentle call from chefs and waitstaff alike. Welcome.

Taking a seat at the bar where I can see the chefs in action, I order an Asahi beer and settle in with the menu.

It’s gotta be ramen. That’s why I’ve come – to practice my slurping. Unlike here in Canada, in Japan it’s considered polite to slurp while eating noodles. It’s going to take some practice to break the ‘good manners’ my parents taught me as a girl.

I order a tonkotsu ramen; I like the richness of the pork broth compared to the saltier, soy-based shoyu ramen.

Sssslllluuuurrrrpppppp!! I can hear tables behind me getting started on their noodles. Good, it’s not just a cultural myth that it’s polite; I’m not going to make an ass out of myself as I feared I might.

Before long a steaming hot bowl of soup is placed in front of me, the noodles hidden by the pork chashu and baby corn (who knew?) on top.

062012_noodleslurping-002-6540275Having spent so long in Asia I am unfazed by the chopsticks but…the slurping…could I do it? Intentionally make noise while I eat?

I reach in, pull up a small mound of noodles and…slurp. Just a little. Did anyone notice? Am I being rude? Nope – all I see as I look around are other noodle-lovers slurping their way through their own lunch.

I pull up a larger noodle mound….ssslllluuuuurrrppppp!!! This is kind of fun and I’m being polite!

062012_noodleslurping-007-1206088Sllluuurrrpp, sssllluuurrrpppp, ssllluurrrpppp…all through lunch right to the bottom of the bowl.

I think I did pretty good but I’ll be back at least once or twice before our trip so I don’t get out of practice.

Do you slurp while eating noodles? Could you?