Sunday, May 26, 2013

Subway Surfers (Tokyo), Cute Kill (Zombies), One Epic Knight Endless Runners For Android and Iphone

Tap and swipe games on touch devices can be so much fun! No D-pads or other controls, but the implementations are the limit.  These 3 games in the endless runner genre are pretty good as:
  1. They don't need you to both swipe and tilt your device like Temple Run (fun, but I don't like it as much as these).  They are swipe only or tilt only.
  2. They are good implementations of the genre.
  3. They are innovative in their own way.
  4. They are FUN and stack up well against any dedicated hand held game. 
More anime and Japan apps lists here.
Subway Surfers (Tokyo Theme version reviewed)
Subway Surfers is a pretty fun little endless runner where you and your graffiti artist friends go running down the train tracks being chased by a railway cop and his dog.  The controls work pretty good and you need to flip back and forth on 3 rail tracks while dodging, jumping, or sliding under obstacles.  The graphics are fresh and right now (MAY 2013) it is showing a city theme of Tokyo.  It is very pretty and I love the background graphics.  I don't think I'm updating it to the next city on my Ipad when the next update rolls out (or save a backup).   There are cherry blossoms, signage and buildings that look like Tokyo, vending machines on the rail platforms, and Tori Gates.  Very nice.  Best of all it is free and availabe for android and IOS.  Some of the unlockables cost a godawful number of coins, but the base game is still fun.  Might be worthwhile splurging $5 to double the number of coins collected per run.  I might do it just because I've enjoyed the game so much.  The paint powered jet pack is awesome.

Cute Kill
This was going to be added to my Zombie Games and Cover Shooter post, but I figured it belonged here more.  This game has you playing the role of the older sister carrying her baby brother who know how to handle all sorts of weaponry from pistols to grenade launchers.  You are running for safety (the end of the level) while the baby shoots behind you at the pursuing monsters, zombies, and undead beasties.  This is way more fun than it sounds and you have a combat knife for close in work.  There are even comics between major level sets and you're trying to find your parents.  I saw a guy on the plane playing this and snagged my own copy after we landed.  You shouldn't have to spend money on this, but I bought a few diamonds to support the developer. This game require tilting from side to side with automatic firing.  On Android and IOS.

One Epic Knight
This is from the creators of Tiny Heroes (a great dungeon defence game - well worth its low price).  Epic Knight has you, the Knight, running through the tunnels and jumping chasms, dodging traps, and is an epic amount of fun.  My fingertips hurt from playing this game for awhile.   You collect coins, jewels, treasure chests, shields and swords, and mana crystals.  Shields allow you to smash obstacles / traps. Swords allow you to kill monsters (orcs, chests disguised as monsters, and jelly cubes).  With enough mana crystals you will go on a super speed and powered rampage for awhile and be invincible.  Excellent design, great power ups to purchase, and did I mention the Treasure Hoard you can find in the Dragon's Lair!  For Iphone only.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Anime Apps - Hatsune Miku Flick, Amairo Clock, and Bullet Hell From Cave For Iphone and Ipad.

A short post about some anime related apps that are clocks and games today.  This is the one thing that Iphones and Androids have going for them.  This vast amount of stuff to download, often for free, but it is usually still cheaper than buying a $20 to $40 game for a PS Vita or Nintendo DS.  The only drawback are the touch controls which are not suitable for all types of games, but the ones I have listed today work just great for touch!

More anime and Japan apps lists here.

Mirai Inc
Looks like Danny Choo just partnered up with Yuzusoft to produce an even more interactive clock with 4 cute anime girls that will talk to you when you touch them (appropriately I trust).  It'll even speak the time in Japanese so you can learn it and you can shoot your own background to use.  Big app though at 500 MB.*clock/id625672662

Miku Flick
A Hatsune Miku game... Yeah!  But  This looks like an interesting little rhythm game where you can flick different letter in English or Japanese characters in beat to the music.  Was very popular in Japan for a bit. The better you do, the more songs you unlock.  But wait, did I say it was a little game earlier? Whoops.  It is actually over a gigabyte to download, so it is pretty large.  There is also a Miku Flick 2.

Cave is a famous Japanese company for making bullet hell shooters.  These are arcade games, often top down where you fight off wave after wave of enemies, power up your fighter, and then take on the boss for the level.  They're called bullet hell as you have to watch the patterns and weave in and out of the mass of shots the baddies fire at you.  I'm only okay at this stuff, but still enjoy playing them for every once in a while.

Make sure you have the storage to download these games and make sure your IOS device will run them as they seem to really tax your system.  Cave has demo versions available for you to try first to make sure it'll work on your older device and all that - so demo first before you buy to make sure you're not wasting your cash as these shooters are not cheap, but they're good. They have more than I listed, so check them out on itunes.

DoDonPachi Resurrection HD

Bug Princess 2


Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Amazing Bow Tower, Giant Head, Giant Steel Trees, and Cool Calgary Architecture Part 2

Continued from Peace Bridge...

After reaching Stephen Avenue Mall, we headed east towards city hall.  Stephen Avenue is a large outdoor pedestrian street that is closed to traffic.  There are cafes and sidewalk patios down its length and it is a nice place to walk.  Plenty of people hang out there and it is full of historic buildings, including an old Hudson Bay Department Store.  Lots of buildings made of sandstone.  This street is a big change from an empty concrete wasteland in the 1970s and 1980s when I was a kid.
Stephen Avenue looking east.
Some historic buildings including the bay and a bank.  You can see the Bow towering up behind the bank.

The first thing we saw were a grove of giant, 25 metre high steel trees (kind of fan-like) that are situated between TD Square and Banker's Hall.  Both of these are very nice buildings too with three story malls in both places.  The grove of metal trees is pretty cool and you can see all types of photo angles.  They are something to see and look very futuristic.  I don't live in Calgary anymore, but it is nice seeing all these building I used to work in as I was a contractor for many companies.
Steel Trees on Stephen Avenue.
Steel Trees again and another walkway connecting The Core to Bankers Hall.
After the trees we went into the rebuilt TD Square and Eaton Centre which are now called The Core.  Some high-end department stores like Holt Renfrew anchor the Core and there are plenty of places to shop here. This is a very pretty mall that is two city blocks long and spans over several streets.  The longest glass roof in Canada is here in this building and it is a beauty.  The food courts on the top floor and the rebuilt Devonian Gardens get plenty of sunlight here.  It is a great place to go in the winter to get away from the cold.  The large indoor garden here is popular with for everyone to visit and there is a small playground for the children. By this time we were thirsty and we grabbed some nice Jugo Juice and rest in the garden.
The massive glass roof at The Core
The Core Mall.  Very modern and very neat visuals.
Devonian Garden Park.  Look out, they have topiaries!
After the mall, we finally headed down to Centre Street where the Calgary Tower and The Bow are.
This is a great life size bronze of two businessmen talking.
I had watched The Bow being built for five years.  Today I got to go up to it and inside to the +15 level where we walked through a number of different buildings on our way out of downtown.  The Bow is a 58 story high office tower in Calgary, Alberta that was completed in late 2012.  It is the headquarters for EnCana Corporation and Cenovus Energy.  Located in downtown Calgary it is the tallest office building  in the city at 236 metres (774 feet) and the tallest in Canada outside of Toronto.
This is a very cool looking building with some awesome curves, and sky gardens on three floors based on the information I saw.  I'm not sure the sky gardens are open to the public, but they look like really nice places with fantastic views out to the mountains and over the city.  Lucky employees in this building.  The outer wall of the building looked like some kind of curtain wall and it is just tremendous to look at.  Very high tech.  The six story underground parkade is a bit of feat too.  The interior of the building wasn't quite finished when we went as the second floor shops and food court area were not open yet.
Backlit Calgary Tower - worst shot of the trip.
The Bow
The Bow up close.
Still some of the neatest things about this building are the exterior view of it and the fantastic sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.  I love Roppongi Hills in Japan with the giant spider, but this is a pretty nice too.  Not to the same massive scale, but pretty darn big!  The sculpture is of a giant wire (make it cable as it is so big) and looks like a 3D grid model of a human head titled "Wonderland."  You can get some neat pictures around the head and you can go inside it too!
Giant Head Sculpture / Model!
Giant Head
The cool look up the nostrils and get a neat building view shot.
That pretty much concludes a brief architectural tour of Calgary's downtown and you can tell it is unique and pretty futuristic.  Hope you enjoyed it.  I love the modern architecture of Tokyo and both cities in my home province have some pretty awesome buildings too!  We didn't even get down to Olympic Plaze or City Hall either.

Destination Bow Tower, Urban Rice, Peace Bridge, and Cool Calgary Architecture Part 1

I was down in Calgary for the May long weekend and enjoyed an afternoon strolling around the city's down town area.  My final destination was The Bow, a recently completed skyscraper, that is a beautiful building.  We started in the trendy district of Kensington which is full of coffee shops, fashion stores, and all kinds of eclectic businesses.  There, we had morning dim sum at the Urban Rice restaurant that is obviously a hit with the Chinese locals as it was packed for breakfast on the Saturday.  They moved to this Kensington location from their Chinatown location where they have been for a few years.
Dim Sum!
My quick review of the Urban Rice would be that the service was good, and it was a good small to medium sized Chinese restaurant.  For dim sum we ordered off cards (kind of like what you do at some sushi bars) and had a pretty good feast of everything from sui mai (pork dumplings), shrimp dumplings, rice crepes, steamed BBQ pork buns, sticky rice (or lo mai gai) wrapped in lotus leaves, and many more.  We were full when we left for the rest of our walk around town.  All of the food was pretty tasty and I'd rate it a 3.5 or a 4 out of 5.  The Urban Rice is located at: #314D, 10 Street NW Calgary (403)283-8608.  It is right next to the Roasterie where you can get a great coffee.
The old Lido Cafe and it's classic sign.
Kensington Shops
Walking down to the Bow River we wanted to cross over the snazzy new pedestrian bridge that was also opened in 2012.  The Peace Bridge is beautifully illuminated at night and looks very modern and high tech.  From the side, it does look like a Chinese finger puzzle, but walking through it is a very pleasant experience as it is so pretty.  With a beautiful red coloured steel frame, this tubular looking bridge with its diamond shaped windows is a must see on any walk along the Bow River or visit to Princes Island Park.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) Bridge with Transit Train
Peace Bridge over the Bow River
Peace Bridge and Canterra Tower
Way too cool tubular bridge.

Shot down the centre of the bridge.

Neat bridge.

Gorgeous river views.

Another of Calgary's wonders.  A very nice river promenade down by Princes Island Park.  The bicycle path system here along their river systems is awesome - world class - I loved it when I lived here.  Ride for 50 km or more easy without cars.

After visiting the Eau Claire Market, we had a look through it and while it isn't anything like it was at its height of popularity, it was good to see that many of the old shops were still in business.  It was still a fairly busy place.  Outside here, the Joey Tomatoes and the Barley Mill Pub are excellent places to grab a beer and a meal.  When I lived here, after work, there would be many a beer consumed over at the Barley Mill.

Eau Claire Market eare

Beautiful Spring day with blossoms everywhere.

I love this cow bench! Needs a new paint job now, but it is a classic.

I always thought this tower looked like the Nakatomi Building from Die Hard.
Walking south down 3rd Street you pass by other old favourite restaurants like the Spaghetti Factory for dinner or lunch on the way to Stephen Avenue Mall.  One of the coolest things about Calgary is the +15 walkway system.  You will notice that Calgary is unusual for have a very densely packed core of office towers.  Well, the city took advantage of that fact and connect most of the towers together at the 2nd floor level via a network of pedestrian overpasses that are enclosed.
+15 Walkway
Another +15 Walkway.  You can see The Bow tower peaking out at the end.
You can go 10 city blocks indoors via the  +15 system and you can double that distance by going in a complete loop of the downtown.  Not many cities can brag about this, but it is amazingly handy in the harsh winter months as you don't need a parka to get around.  Street level of downtown, except along 8th Avenue isn't usually much to write about, but the 2nd level on a lot of buildings is where the action is at from food courts to shops.  Lots of office workers do a lunchtime walkabout on the walkways to stretch their legs.

Continued in Part 2 with The Bow tower coverage... 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tostzilla's Gyudon (Beef Bowl) Recipe

I tried gyudon at a Yoshinoya on my first visit to Tokyo four years ago and it made an impression that stuck.  It ate it at a small outlet in Ginza where people were continuously coming and going.  There was also an interesting assortment of people dining out at the time from businessmen to some people who were really down and out on their luck.  Beef bowl is a cheap and very tasty meal that is for everyone which is also why it is a favoured meal for students in anime (along with cup noodle).
When we went back to Tokyo this year we just did not have time to try Yoshinoya, but did have dinner at a Sukiya one night.  Apparently my beef bowl recipe that I cook up holds up pretty good based on my family reactions so I'm happy :)  Anyhow, back in Edmonton, Canada, where this I reside, there are no places to eat this around here so I had to figure out how to cook it myself.  The recipe I came up with is based on my trial and error and I cook up a batch every week or two weeks. 

Beef Bowl or 牛丼 in Japanese
This is a very simple dish for dinner or lunch with the advantage of being very delicious too and easy to make.  This is similar to the famous dish at Yoshinoya or Sukiya.

  • 500g (a pound) thinly sliced beef, cut into 5 cm wide slices that are 1-2 mm thick.  You can use the frozen beef slices that you get for beef hot pot.  This is not lean beef as it should have some fat / marbling.  You just have to slice into narrower strips.  The beef should be tender when cooked.
  • 1 large onion, or two medium onions cut into thin slices
  • 2 teaspoons of cooking oil to cook the beef.
  • 4 tablespoons sake (Typical drinking sake - not cloudy, not flavoured).
  • 4 tablespoons mirin.  (Try to get real mirin [not the corn syrup stuff] from Taiwan, Korea, or Japan - keep it in the fridge afterwards).
  • 4 tablespoons Japanese soy sauce (e.g. Kikkoman, and not Chinese soy sauce that is saltier)
  • ¾ cup of dashi broth (You can try the instant dashi broth that comes in little packets of powder - otherwise you'll have way too much to use.  I use one of the little packets to mix with the water).
Instant Dashi Broth
Directions: This Recipes Serves 4 people.
  1. Cook rice – at least 4 big bowls worth for your meal (I use an Asian rice cooker so this is automagic - I mean automatic).
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan to a medium high heat.
  3. Sauté the onion until it becomes slightly translucent (wilted and not caramelized).
  4. Add the beef in and brown the beef (cook thoroughly – browning for flavour)
  5. When it achieves an even brown color, add the mirin, sake, soy sauce, and dashi  and continue frying.
  6. Simmer (say 10 - 15 minutes) under a medium heat until the sauce becomes somewhat thicker.  The sauce is not supposed to be thick as it should run through the rice when put on top.
  7. Put rice in a bowl, and place the beef mixture evenly over the top.  You might to dish out a little extra sauce too.
  8. Serve.  You might want to stir fry a little broccoli for some additional vegetable content.  This recipe reheats well for lunch the next day.

My ebook Raid on Kahamba made the Amazon top 100 free scifi list (FREE for a limited time)

Thanks to everyone who downloaded it here or from Reddit. It is now in the top 100 free science fiction downloads for Amazon! The high point was hitting #50, but that is still pretty good.

Raid on Kahamba is my novella length followup to HARM which introduced my battlefield mechas.  I write a "realistic" style of military SF that blends both anime mecha elements and hard SF elements together, but I try to keep my characters front and centre.  These stories are set in a future which has humanity sharing the world with the alien Blue Newts.  The Blue Newts invaded the Earth and basically reshaped the global political structure after they carved out their territories. 

Raid on Kahamba is a fast paced story about a team of commandos backed up by mechas racing to retrieve an alien artifact. The story continues building the Exocrisis Blue universe, has plenty of action, and keeps the focus on characters who will play a greater role later.

Amazon USA

Amazon Canada

Amazon UK

I haven't promoted Raid on Kahamba as much as HARM, but it is available free right now as I'm using up a number of my promo days due to it being enrolled in the Amazon KDP program.

If you enjoy it, also check out HARM, and I'm serializing the draft of Exocrisis Blue: Neo-Ace at Wattpad too.  Neo-Ace is the next installment of the Exocrisis Blue series.

If you grab a copy of Raid, I'd appreciate a good review if you enjoyed it, and please spread the word as the free link is only good till May 24th.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Lifetime of Anime to Watch on Crunchyroll

Classic Super Robot Toys. I remember really wanting the Great Mazinger in my youth!

It looks like Crunchyroll has taken off with full afterburners after cruising around for a few years.  They have been a completely legitimate web portal for anime for years now and they even turned a good profit this year with a growing subscriber base.  While I'm writing this post I have it open in another window and I'm looking at all of the available shows to watch for free.  I just did a count and there are just over 300 series to watch now (that's right, 300!).  This 2013 spring anime season had them pick up a huge number of first rate mecha and other anime shows to broadcast only an hour after they air in Japan for subscribers.  If you're not a subscriber for the $7 / month you get to watch them 1 week after they air without HD.  I'm watching the stuff on an iPAD without the subscription and pretty darn satisfied overall.  Even three or four years ago this would have been unthinkable.  Even now, a number of other Japanese animation companies are starting up other web portals for online distribution to combat piracy and to reach broader audiences.  Who knows how all this will play out?  I just hope it'll work out for everyone's best interests.

In the top twenty anime series right now on Crunchyroll (as I write) we have:
  1. Naruto Shnippuden
  2. Oreimo
  3. Attack on Titan
  4. Hunter x Hunter
  5. Valvrave the Liberator
  6. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU
  7. Devil Survivor 2
  8. Sword Art Online
  9. Muromi-san
  10. Bleach
  11. Samurai Bride
  12. Shugo Chara
  13. Chihayafuru
  14. Reborn!
  15. Space Brothers
  16. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
  17. Majestic Prince
  18. Zettai Boei Leviatan
  19. Uta no Prince Sama
  20. Gintama
That is a lot of good anime for both new and long running series.  If you were to watch all that it is an easy 20 x 20 minutes of anime (skipping credits / commercials / end titles) for 400 minutes a week or almost 7 hours a week!  I think a lot of people are just being drowned in a flood of goodness.  And then there are complete series to watch too - so you can grab the popcorn, a coke, have a cup noodle, and binge on all the episodes.

Myself, I'm just watching a few shows as I just don't have the time to watch all this stuff.  I still buy the dvds of series I really like if they're available and not being sold at an obscene price, but all of this free stuff must mean that DVD sales must be hurting.

I'm currently watching a number of new series, mainly mecha related, and here are a few observations.
  • Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet - I think this is the best sci fi and mecha anime this season and it'll rank up there with the classics.   Interesting characters, good world building, interesting politics and it happens on long lost Earth!
  • Valvarave the Liberator - from the Gundam folks (but not Gundam).  Seems okay so far after two episodes, but it sure starts out in a manner similar to Gundam with space colonies, and sneak attacks.
  • Majestic Prince - another mecha anime.  Entertaining so far, but it is mech academy type fare with the misfits leading the charge against a previously unbeatable enemy.
  • Attack on Titan - actually I haven't seen it yet, but its in the queue.  I'm hoping it'll be good.  I hear good things about it.
Other good series if your time is limited and you want to binge:
  • Durarara - I never thought I would like this show so much - but what a great plot and set of characters.  Even the Celtic spirit Celty (go figure) works pretty good. It shows a seamier side of Ikebukuro in Tokyo where I stayed on my last trip there and it was a good show with otaku, crazed strongmen, gangs, spirits, and manipulators.
  • Sword Art Online - About people who get trapped in an MMORPG video game and live there until they escape.  Overcome the technical believability hurdles and you have a pretty good story all the way to the end.  Like .HACK, but different!
  • Space Brothers - this is pretty good character driven anime about two bothers.  One is an astronaut and the other wants to be one.  Lots of astronaut selection and training drama.
  •  R.O.D the Series.  -  This is a good action series where you have three wonderful sisters who are paper masters fighting against an unseen enemy that is manipulating the world.  A paper master is a person with "magical powers" to control paper as a weapon or tool (think origami on steroids or actually being able to make giant paper animals come to life).
  • Fate Zero - a magical / combat dueling series.  I like Fate / Stay Night but I found this series a little too much over the top.  Awesome animation with many fans though.
  • Muv Luv Total Eclipse.  I enjoyed the mecha action, but the story could have been better.
  • Angel Beats - I found this show to be way better than I thought and I actually quite like it.  Imagine a high school as purgatory in the afterlife.  What happens next?
  • Hanasaku Iroha - A girl moves to a hot springs inn to live with her grandmother.  Wonderful characters and setting for her to make new friends and resolve her feelings towards her boyfriend.  You want to kick her in the right direction after awhile but I like the show.
  • Bakemonogatari - A boy ends up meeting various people with supernatural problems and save them.  Very stylized animation.
  • Girls & Panzer - There actually isn't much fan service in this show - so it didn't get ruined - and it is about an alternate world where girls drive classic WWII tanks in competitions.  Lots of fun to watch, especially if you like tanks.
  • Wagnaria! - Comedy at a Japanese family restaurant (like a Denny's) and it was fun to watch.
  • Xamd: Lost Memories - really good biomechanical weapon and good SF series.  Kind of reminded me a bit of Miyazaki world building.
  • Vividred Operation - Magical Technology Girls!  Fun to watch, but edging towards too much fanservice.  Has all the classical magical girl tropes including the girl that never gives up and tries to save all her friends.
  • Tsuritama - I didn't get far into this but it looked pretty cool with fishing and aliens?
  • Love Live - School Idol - High school idols.  This was a pretty fun show about girls that band together to sing and dance their way to fame so they can attract more students to their school and not have it close.  The show had a good heart.
  • Kids on the Slope - A high school jazz anime set in the 60s about three kids who are bonded together by the music.  Had a good ending too, but it seemed rushed.  More of your serious anime.
  • Anohana - You need a premium membership to see this series - I got the DVDs instead.  A girls spirit returns to help her friends settle out of her tragic death years before when she was a little girl.  A bit Stand by Me with heavy anime overtones.  Very good show. 
  • Soranowoto - This is a slice of life at a military outpost in a post-devastation earth.  A young girl joins the army to learn how to bugle and zany adventures follow.  There is a dark side to this series that is quite serious and I really enjoyed it.  An original story too!
  • Puella Madoka Magica - the show that turned the magical girl genre on its head.  With innovative animation and a very cool twist, it is a must view if you can tolerate magical girls in any form.
  • Gosick - Mysterious girl and a Japanese boy solve mysteries in an early 20th century setting in Europe.  The girl dresses like she is out of Rozen Maiden with the lolita look too. Some mystical mumbo jumbo elements involved, but this series had a good ending and was quite good.  Would love to see a DVD release of this.
  • Plenty of mecha shows like Mazinkaiser SKL,Go Lion, Linebarrels of Iron, Star Driver, and Super Robot Wars OG The Inspector  too.
Crunchyroll is also a pretty good goldmine to watch a number of more classic series too:
  • Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumia (high school girl surrounded by Espers, Aliens, and Time Travelers). Lots of play on other anime.
  • Lucky Star (for mindless high school comedy that plays on otakudom and other anime including Haruhi)
  • Pretty Cure - the original series.  I still really like this magical girl anime and it wasn't heavy on fan service!
  • Gurren Lagaan - new anime in the classical super robot style.  If you like super robots you have to catch it for free!
  • Galaxy Express - space trains. A classic journey about a boy to the stars and vengeance.
  • Some of these are such long running shows they are classics like Naruto and Bleach.
There are tons more shows so start watching!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Tasty Nissin Instant Ramen

Instant ramen is something that I have been eating for a very long time.  My earliest recollection is in the 1970s with the Doll brand ramen out of Hong Kong.  It is a food product that might not be the healthiest for you, but I do like it a great deal.  Freshly made ramen from a good shop is always better, but if there isn't a shop handy then instant is the next best thing.  For my instant ramen eating I am predisposed towards Nissin brand products as their noodles have the best texture and the soup bases are good.  If anyone from Nissin is reading this, give me a buzz if you want me to try one of your products :)  I also think the Japanese paper cup for the cup noodles is very well designed with the insulating sleeve on the outside.
A few years ago they were running Gundam Cup Noodle promos.
A nicely detailed little model of a Gundam RX78-2 was included as a bonus.
Lots of ingredients for their basic soy flavoured ramen that was in the Gundam cup.
 In particular, the Nissin products from the Asian region are my favourites as they have the best flavours.  I also rarely just eat the noodles by themselves and add veggies, meat, and eggs whenever possible to the noodles.  Ramen that is ready in 3 minutes after adding the old boiling water seems to always hit the spot.  I've been to Japan twice now and both times I've hunted down their higher end instant ramen products that are not available in Canada.

On my last trip to Tokyo in February of 2013 I managed to find their new Nissin Raoh noodles that I read about in the news.  If you read the article you find out that these noodles are pretty high tech to produce the texture as they go through several production processes.  These noodles are actually pretty good for taste and texture and I tried both their bowl noodle and packet versions.
Nissin Raoh deluxe bowl noodles
 These are not two hundred yen products ($2) as they cost up to double that, but they are yummy!  The one pictured above is a soy sauce flavour.
Plenty of ingredients and flavour packets.
 There are powder ingredients, sauce packets, green onion, onion, a freeze dried piece of pork, bamboo shoots, etc.  It was actually a really nice bowl of noodles when it was done with a very flavourful soup and I enjoyed it all very much.
The noodles were good!
Some of the other Nissin products from Japan I have tried are pictured below. I'll post about some the easier to find products from their Hong Kong subsidiary and other Cup Noodle products in other posts.

The packet form of the Raoh noodles.
Tasty Shoyu!
Their Goota brand of deluxe bowl noodle.
Again, there are plenty of ingredients to add that included a piece of pork.
I only ever had this once years ago and it was a very tasty, savoury bowl of ramen in my memory.