Posted by: yoko | December 5, 2004

Words From Childhood 2.15

Today’s word: samechau

Today’s word is a compound of two verbs: sameru, meaning for some object to become cold, and shimau, to completely do something. The actual phrase is samete shimau, but in colloquial Japanese, the words fuse together to become samechau, or to become completely cold.

When I was a kid, my family had noodles for lunch every weekend. And I mean every weekend. For the longest time, we had ramen for lunch.
This was before the days of 5 packets for a dollar, folks; we had to buy cases at a grocery in Chinatown. My mom, being ever accommodating, would individually prepare ramen for each of us: my dad would get a poached egg in his, my sister would get no egg and a smaller bowl with the big bowl of noodles that she could scoop the noodles and broth into to cool them down, and I would have no small bowl and no egg.

If we dawdled getting to the dining room table, my mom would call out “Ramen ga samechau yo!” (The noodles will get cold!) She sometimes would say that the noodles would become “soaky.” Cold ramen noodles that have completely soaked up the broth are not appetizing in the least, let me tell you.

Some years later, I developed a strong liking to yakisoba, so my mom would make instant yakisoba for me, and ramen for everyone else. But sometime in high school, I suddenly got (literally) sick of eating yakisoba, and couldn’t eat another mouthful. I can’t remember what I ended up eating for lunch thereafter, though.

To this day, I still can’t eat yakisoba or instant ramen. Fresh noodle ramen and udon, however, are a different story.


  1. noodles noodles noodles. I love em all. I had some instant udon noodles for lunch just yesterday!
    Mom and I would put frozen peas in our Ramen. My stepfather liked it with a slice of provolone on top (I guess it mimics french onion soup) and my ex liked it with ranch dressing in it. I know, I know. Yuck.
    Now I just like my blue Oodles very al dente with almost all the broth drained out.

  2. i am totally in love with the word “soaky.”

  3. Okay, I admit it: I’m a great big fan of noodles. I love them, just love them. But as they are, without the broth. Or, as my grandma makes them: with cilantro and onion (very mexicanized). Sometimes she’ll add wonton to them. YUMMY!


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