Station Soba and Omusubi
Here’s an example of the quintessential “station soba” that we picked up in a rush this afternoon. Train stations are of course everywhere in Tokyo, and many of those had quick udon & soba shops built for speed. How? First off, there is no one taking orders. Simply throw in a few coins (about 400 to 500 Yen’s worth, or US$3.30 to $4.20) into a machine at the door and pick your dish.
From there, hand in your ticket at the counter, and in just a few minutes, your piping hot bowl of noodles (or cold noodles, in my case today), is ready. Bring that to the standing-room-only rows of counters and slurp away. Bus your tray, and you’re done with your meal in less than 10 minutes. It’s quick, cheap, more conveniently located than McDonald’s, and decently good, thus making it a great thing to pick up when you’re in a rush in busy Tokyo. Today's soba from a shop called Ozumi did just the job.
Admittedly, that meal was actually a bit lighter than I wanted though, so I stopped by this omusubi shop while walking down the street. These rice balls were much bigger than the triangular machine-shaped onigiri from places like 7-Eleven, but are basically the same thing. I picked up a special chizu okaka variant, which was basically like squeezable cheese mixed with bonito flakes into a sesame-covered rice ball (no seaweed cover on this one). Grab your own little tasty yet filling snack for between 100 to 180 Yen (US$0.85 to US$1.50).