Project X: Cup Noodle

March 1, 2007

I wanted to read one of these for the sheer novelty of it, and this was the most likely candidate (well, there was a fight between this and 7-11, but this was the one they had in stock at the comic store).  I may still pick up 7-11, because my roommate saw it and told me we needed it in our house.

When I started reading, I realized the boring potential of this book was great, and I know nothing about the manufacturing process of freeze-dried foods and noodles, nor did I want to know.  It managed to be fairly entertaining despite that.  You get to see the project in different stages, one of the better ones being the noodle cooking stage.  I’ve taken a package design class and know how boring that is, and I knew that the cup noodle was going to be a hard sell in the end, and the thought of eating shrimp freeze-dried still grosses me out, but I sympathized with the guy who had to keep making molds and frying noodles and not ever cooking the center of the brick.  Adding the part about his wife was a nice touch, but kind of random.

I also liked the Nissin director.  That guy would not take no for an answer, and when you tried to tell him that, he would retaliate with a scathing remark on your poor performance.  This is a guy who brewed up instant noodles in a shack in his backyard.  He’s HARD.

There were a ton of extras in the back that ranged from cool to the bizarre to the boring.  The cool was the history of the different flavors of Cup Noodle.  The bizarre were photos of everything you’d just read about, including that one guy and his wife.  The boring was a really long text timeline that I didn’t read because I had to get off the bus.

The fact that I can read things like this in English overrides any opinions I have about the entertainment value.  I may go for 7-11… I’m sure it will be a lot more boring, but strangely compelling in the same way this was.