Wednesday, August 19, 2009


When I was a kid, I used to love to eat white thin noodles ( Somen ) in the summer.

After being boiled, the noodles would be put into ice cold water. You pick the noodles with hashi (chopsticks) and put it into a soy source flavored soup.

It used to be that there would be a few colored noodles in one "bouquet" of somen noodles. The noodles would be normally white, but a few would be colored in yellow, red, blue, and green.

Although exactly the same in taste, the colored noodles fascinated me as a kid. When my mother brought a bowl of noodles, I would dash to pick the colored ones, in competition with my sister, who was 2 years younger than me. The height of our competition for the colors was when I was 6 and she was 4. I remember we had several bitter fights, and my mother would complain "what's all this fuss about colors? They are all the same in taste."

We actually knew that.

As years passed, I somehow grew out of the colors. When I was about 9, I remember vividly saying to my sister "you can have all the colored noodles you want." It was a sign of my maturity. It was also an end of my childhood enchantment by the colors.


Utako said...

I understand the bitter fights.
Your sister must have been disappointed that you dropped from the competition.

I ate Somen(thin noodles) five or six times this summer.

「 文月のものよ五色の糸そうめん 」
            ( 正岡子規 )
" for July
rainbow colored
thin noodles "

( Siki Masaoka )

kirainet said...

Haha, interesting.

I had the more or less the same experience. In Spain we have "normal pasta" and also "star shaped pasta". As children my brother and me would always ask for the "star shaped pasta" to my parents. But somehow after a while, I don't remember exactly when, we stopped asking for it. I guess that is when we started loosing a little bit of our "youth".

I don't remember the last time I ate star shaped pasta! Maybe 10 years ago or even more!

Spanish star shaped pasta soup ->

Anonymous said...

Maturity... To me this word seems foreign, why do people think that they have to act in a certain way just because they exist longer? As we live longer we see more things, and thus have more choices to choose from. In most cases, the choice we had access to as a child were limited...and the choices get more interesting, exciting, and complex as we grow older. Perhaps the choice to stop eating colored noodles was made because it was more fulfilling to not argue with your sister...

Tenmo said...

Actually, that was a really enchantment by the colors.

I'm sure that my children would have fights if they see a few fantastic colored somen noodles in white noodles.
Unfortunately, We live in foreign country now, so we haven't had a chance to eat them.

I will go to buy somen noodles at Japanese food market this weekend.

Anonymous said...

oh .. today's essay sets quite cool/warm picturesque dialogues act between the peoples @_@

(ma)gog said...

My sister is five years younger than me, it is really a shame that we never had fought over the coloured noodles...

gabriella said...

I always love your writings about your childhood memories. I am 71 year old female with frailing health, but your writings can kindle my embers of life. I don't think I really understand your qualia philosophy, but I know the feeling when reading such as today's 'Colors'. At your age, you would never know what old age really is.

Petrusa de Koker said...

Gabriella, I would love to hear some of your childhood memories. I am of similar age as Ken, but I am intrigued by the experiences of people growing up in a different era/place.
Ken, Gabriella's message shows that a whole lot of different people from different backgrounds and growing up in different times, enjoy your English blog. I hope this inspires you so much that you never stop writing on your English blog. I enjoyed this "Colours" entry as well.