Can’t afford a semester at Harvard? Too cool for Oxbridge? Didn’t pass the entrance exam for a fry-cook internship at the local burger takeaway?
Consider a degree in Ramenology instead.
Okay, there’s no such thing, but the Ramen University of the Japan Tourism Agency is currently accepting applications for “Ramen Exchange Students”. Successful applicants will be given an all-expenses-paid, four-day scholarship to study one of Japan’s most iconic dishes on its home turf. Transportation including round-trip airfare, lodging, and meals are free. (Hospitalisation costs for excessive sodium intake not included.)
The catch (well, one of several – always pays to read the fine print) is that one has to be a citizen and resident of Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, or the Philippines.
Well, colour me interested. I’ve eaten ramen more times than I can count, and I’ve even written about some of those experiences on my travel blog, so the prospect of a four-day jaunt focused on noodles seems awfully tempting. On the other hand, I’m flying off to Japan myself (again) in just a few weeks, so I might give this one a pass.
Right, so if you’re looking for the perfect excuse to indulge in your otaku fantasies whilst telling your parents – with complete honesty – that you’re travelling on a scholarship, then click away.
But be warned – that stuff is fiendishly addictive. Pretty soon the EU and other supranational overlords will be mandating warning labels on ramen packs and at noodle joints, with recommended dosages of no more than two bowls a year.
Until then, slurp on my comrades . . . slurp on.