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Japan for Beginners: The Country’s Most Effortless City

It feels silly to apply the term “life affirming” to a bowl of noodles. But when I arrived in Fukuoka, dead-tired after the long flight from New York, and my lips met the ramen invented there, a pork-based variety called tonkotsu, no phrase seemed more apt. My husband, a composer and conductor, has a regular gig at an orchestra in this seaside city on Kyushu, Japan’s southernmost main island, and for the second year in a row, I tagged along. At my insistence, our first stop off the plane was a tiny ramen restaurant, where all the diners tucked their noses in earthenware bowls of the piquant pork-bone broth. The…

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