Orochon Ramen Special Level 2: Easy.


As morning calls for Saturday, I am sitting at my computer typing on another eventful Friday. I had to sacrifice my Business Calculus class for the bulk of my day.

The first event was the Meet the Industries Expo, at the Grand. I managed to meet a number of companies that were interested in my resume. I sent 9 copies, one each to the companies that were hiring positions in Information Systems. With two years left, to go, I wanted to see if I could find work. However, the lure of the Leadership Academy proved too strong, and so I wanted to go ahead and register for as many workshops as I could go for the semester. Of course, I may be overworking myself in a way, but I saw this as an opportunity to improve on what I could do. And a sweet medallion to wear during graduation…I could get all this done in 1 year. By the time Fall 2006 is through, I’ve completed this.

The big part of the day was when I headed to Little Tokyo with my friends from the Anime Club. After visiting a few stores that sold anime, even getting ticked off by the fact that I could take a picture of a statue that had oversized boobs (the figure couldn’t see what was ahead of her---unrealistic), we stopped by Orochon Ramen for dinner. The fact of the matter was that there was this spicy ramen soup, the spiciest of the spiciest, called Special Level 2. I decided that I was going to conquer that soup, no matter what. My friend, DJ of E, aka Eric, also ordered one. It turns out the bowls we had were switched (different bases), but a Special Level 2 is a Special Level 2, so it was dig in or die.

As I took a sip, it was very intense. As if they had put in so much kimchi base and hot chili stock into it. After sipping down the noodles (which was the easy part), it was time to tackle that monster that was the broth. I saw this as my rite of passage. DJ couldn’t finish the broth, and his friend Jeff took a few sips, but couldn’t wolf it down. Even by friend Mora couldn’t wolf it down, either.

I said to myself, I’m not going to let my friends down, the restaurant down, or myself down. This is my rite of passage, and I will go through this, no matter what. Midway through, the broth was tearing through my tongue, my throat, and my sinuses, which cleared. My breathing returned, any my cough had disappeared. But the broth still remained. There was a little bit left. At first, I thought I had reached my limit (I had also drank 4 cups of water) but there was no way I was going to give up this fight. Taking a deep breath, I wolfed down the rest of the remaining contents, finishing the soup in less than 30 minutes. When I completed the trip, I thought I was going to puke. But I told my gut to absorb the richness of the soup, and take it all in. I didn’t get a shirt (they ran out), but I had staked my claim as a person who finished Special Level 2 in less than 30 minutes, and my photo was on the wall.

A few reasons why I completed this…

1. No complaints. I knew this was going to be a very intense one, so I looked at this as something to enjoy. I never flinched, I took my time, pausing when I needed to, and eventually wolfed down the contents. I had to be humble.
2. Dairy before. At MIE, I at a vegetarian lasagna that had some calcium in it. Calcium is a buffer that helps take out some acidity. That may have made it easier.
3. Divine intervention. Indeed, the caption of the soup said, “For the Glory of God.” I wanted the man upstairs to help me finish this, and I did it.
4. Heart and determination. I wanted to finish my food. On every plate (with buffets being the main exception), I finish it clean, I wanted to do the same for this. I was on a mission, and it took heart.
5. I wanted to motivate myself that I can accomplish anything. Even wolfing down a hot, spicy bowl of ramen. Now, I can go back and enjoy wolfing it down at Level 7 (non-spicy) as a form of “retirement.”

The rest of the day was easy. I got the books I wanted to order (though I owe my friends some money for the second book I ordered), and I watched my friends bang on taikos, play on guitars, and do the usual shooting rounds at the arcade.

But wolfing down Special Level 2, the spiciest of the Orochon ramens, has to be one of my favorite accomplishments today. And the good thing is, I’ll live to tell my kids about it. Maybe.

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