Looking for freshly-made buckwheat noodles for lunch or just observe how to make Japanese “soba” (noodles from buckwheat flour)? Go to Ogawa Family Restaurant located at 6-9-1 Saiwaicho, Tachikawa City (Phone #: 042-535-5025). It’s within my block — about 3 minutes walk from Tamagawajosui Station and at the back of my schoolhouse. It’s great cultural exposure and healthy meal with a very reasonable price! Great to hop & eat lunch here today.

The first time I saw “soba-making” was at the train station in Nagano Prefecture. While waiting for my friends, I was captivated by a small eatery with glass windows. The chef in a clean white uniform was busy grinding buckwheat grains. I was awed at how fast he made the dry flour into a dough then cut them into long strips with a big knife. Quite a very impressive skill with rhythm and the cut of the well-stretched dough was in uniform length!

The local eatery was packed with commuters and the chef & waiter moved fast in serving them with a hot or cold bowl of noodles. What a joy & excitement when I found the same Japanese traditional restaurant when I moved to Tachikawa in 2010. It’s also a good place to meet my neighbors especially the employees of the bank and students of a tennis school in my district. The shop offers delivery service and it’s a blessing to my adult student’s family as they sometimes cannot go shopping nor cook dishes.

Like pasta, buckwheat noodles are available in dried form in grocery stores but they taste best if freshly made by hand. It’s a hands-on activity in making “soba” that it’s good for foreigners to learn and teach in their home countries.

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