The CUPNOODLES museum in Yokohama is as much a study of the Japanese identity as a historical look at how instant noodles became ubiquitous worldwide.
The expression "ganbaru!" means to slog through tough times, and that's what Momofuku Ando did in the late 1950s in an Osaka backyard shed to perfect a method for flash-frying noodles. The reconstructed shed at the museum immediately brought to mind Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. I have no idea if the two culinary powerhouses ever met, but I hope so. They had huge roles in what we eat today, and they both saw the results of their ganbaru well into life — Child published her first cookbook at age 50, and Ando struck noodle gold at age 48.
"Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Give him ramen noodles, and you don’t have to teach him anything."
The museum hasn't translated everything into English, but there's enough to enjoy the exhibit. You can't miss the CUPNOODLES factory, where you decorate your own styrofoam cup, fill it with your own ramen recipe and seal it to eat later. Start the process at the vending machines to the left to buy your blank cup.