My school cafeteria is extremely crowded. The food is overpriced and pretty bad. The day with the worst food is called “Roast day” and on that day everyone gets the most decent option in the cafeteria: noodles. On a lucky day, a student would get their noodles… halfway through lunch? The American School in Japan’s project is a noodle shop that will eliminate this problem. With a relatively small, separate structure, students and faculty can enjoy a vast menu of noodles from all around the world.
As I was brainstorming ideas for this project I knew that I wanted to make a change at my school. It was the most convenient location as I go there almost every day and I know the place quite well. I started to think about issues that the current structure of my school has and things that could be improved; I easily pinpointed this to be our cafeteria. Our dreadfully crowded cafeteria and it’s equally horrible, overpriced food needed to be changed.
So what did we need to fix this mess?
First, I wanted to fix how crowded our cafeteria was. I was considering several options but ultimately I decided on building another structure apart from the cafeteria. For the food, I decided that noodles specifically ramen and udon was quite popular and also had very long wait lines. By separating the noodles from the cafeteria as a separate structure, this would manage the flow of students effectively. In addition, noodles are very nutritious, inclusive (many types are vegan-friendly) and overall, has a lot of variety.
As I have seen many ramen shops in Japan I am extremely familiar with the traditional style/design of the shops. What I really looked for was rather modern looking noodle shops that would blend in nicely into a school environment. I thought that for materials, using light colored wood and warm colored lighting would be suitable so that it would give a warm and welcoming feel.
The noodle shop would be located on the American School in Japan campus in the courtyard. I selected a location where students could buy their noodles on the way to the cafeteria or outside courtyard seats to sit and eat.
- Register area/counter
- Sitting area (both inside and outside)
- Storage room
- Room for cleaning
Additional ideas: (after interviews)
- Since I will be using bowls and chopsticks that are not disposable (meant to be used for a long time) I do not think there will be too much garbage. I think that there will be a window where you can put empty bowls and there will be a sink which will have a disposer. I think this can be used a compost and maybe connect to some compost bin which can be used to grow herbs or plants in the school.
- Want: chopsticks, fork, spoons, napkins, wet tissue, paper aprons, different types of noodles (thick, thin, soft, hard…), toppings (ginger, ネギ）and free water. Global noodles from ramen to pasta to stir fry. All types of pasta (gnocchi,penne etc), space to move around, functional
- Want: Mixture of noodles (Thai noodles for example udon), Stand up counters and stand up tables, take away, Japanese atmosphere, take away noodles (link up with cup noodle museum to make ASIJ noodles) Cup noodle dispenser, outside hot water taps, window where things are returned, disposer sink (fertilizer, compost), noodle herb garden, field, one of the counselors offices (into noodle shops), Noodle of the month, Noodle museum Japan (visit).Healthy, Social, constat flow, cultural, global, ecologically beneficial, mini internships for catering, summer jobs training.