Featured,  Translation

The Idol Who Works at Ramen Shop – What’s Nakayama Seika’s Beloved Bowl?

Although there are numbers of delicious ramen shops, a bowl full of memories is another case. This series will ask various people around Tokyo about their “bowl of memories”; visiting the shop and hearing their stories. For the 3rd issue, we are hearing the story of Nakayama Seika, a member of idol group “KissBee”.

Part Time in a Ramen Shop! The Taste of Idol Waitress Nakayama Seika’s Memories

Nakayama Seika (Seika) is a member of idol group “KissBee” who also works part-time in a ramen shop, earning the title “idol waitress”. When we asked about her “bowl of memories”, she answered, “Of course it’s the ramen from Rairaitei Kawasaki Sugao branch!”

Miso ramen (690 JPY).


The two faces of Ms. Nakayama – as an idol and ramen shop waitress. This time, we will look at both. We also asked about her reason to continue. At the end of the article, we unveiled a secret story, “an encounter that became a life treasure.

Plenty of menus available.


Three keywords on Rairaitei Kawasaki Sugao branch:

  1. Witnessing Ms. Nakayama’s work
  2. Customizing menu to your own liking
  3. Balancing work is not that simple, why do you still continue?

Witnessing Ms. Nakayama’s Work

Juggling between live (stage performance) and part-time work. What is your source of power?

She holds it cheerfully with one hand, but actually its quite heavy.


“Welcome to the store!” as Ms. Nakayama greeted us. She debuted as a member of “KissBee” at the age of 19 and has been working part-time at Rairaitei Kawasaki Sugao branch since the age of 16 (high school, 1st year).

At July 30th this year, I’ve been working for 7 years! When I thought my time to find a part-time work had come, one of my criteria is a workplace with no restriction for hair color. Nakayama Seika
Glasses as well. Her natural work surprises the interviewer.


Being busier by each year, “My shift is twice a week; I will always present for the busy Saturdays! My off day is only one day per week, so when I’m not working (as an idol) I’m probably working part time,” said Ms. Nakayama cheerfully.

On weekends, I usually have two live performances per day, so after that I rush here and work from 10PM to 1AM. Even though there is live on the next day, I am feeling fine and happy.Nakayama Seika
“Rairaitei Kawasaki Sugao” can be reached from Tama Plaza Station within 30 minutes by foot. Located near nature spot “Ikuta Ryokuchi”, peaceful atmosphere flows.


She added, “Of course sometime it’s tiring, but it’s always fun when I come here, and I will be cheery in no time. Also, the presence of my strict manager who guided me is also big!

Early days, I was always being scolded. It was really hard to keep an eye on everything, 360 degrees.Nakayama Seika

She hoped to be able to eat ramen often as she started her part time, especially her favorite miso ramen. “Miso ramen from Rairaitei is my absolute favorite! But we also have Kyoto-style shouyu assari ramen (620 JPY),” she told us.

One reason that I am able to continue for these many years. While seeing the customers, I think to myself, “I really want to eat soon~” (Nakayama Seika)


There are also plenty of side menus! It’s affordable. I will introduce my three favorite menus!Nakayama Seika

Customizing menu to your own liking

Plenty of menu variations! Surely at least one will match your taste.

Ordering three menus recommended by Ms. Nakayama.


Rairatei’s menu comes with gyoza, fried dish, and white rice. Starting from 840 JPY, it’s affordable, but more than that, the choices are plentiful!

Giving recommendations to undecided customer. “Some fans came from as far as Hokkaido or Shiga. They came after the live in Saitama all the way to Kawasaki, I am really grateful.” (Nakayama Seika)


Side menu list are drawn by Ms. Nakayama herself.


The time when the fans are usually coming, we usually call it “Seika Rush”.Nakayama Seika
The first to come is “fried rice set” (840 JPY) which consists of miso ramen and fried rice.


“I really like the dense taste,” said Ms. Nakayama; she seems to always order with regular lard & lots of green onion (free), plus boiled egg topping (+100 JPY).


Mr. Imanaka, cooking. “A strict manager,” as Ms. Nakayama said, the atmosphere depicts that.


One attractive point from Rairatei is to customize the amount of lard and green onion to your liking. “Miso ramen is accented with the aroma of sesame. The boiled egg pickled in soy sauce all-day is also really delicious!” said Ms. Nakayama. From this point, we will talk about the shop, ramen, and else with branch manager Mr. Imanaka.

Ms. Nakayama taking a break. Of course, it’s miso ramen she’s eating.


“Not only for ramen, but you also can adjust the taste for fried rice. The taste may be deep, so please tell me which do you prefer!”, said Ms. Nakayama.


The soup is made by boiling chicken bones for 3 hours. We also added lard, but it should be still easy to eat. For the desired miso ramen taste, we use a combination of red pepper and secret sauce. With the noodles and the soup, I regard the ingredients as helpers to achieve the deliciousness. We added thinly sliced char-siu, and also bambo shoots as simple refreshment during meal.Mr. Imanaka

It’s really delicious put white rice on your remaining soup! Although it’s pretty boyish…” Ms. Nakayama added.

The remaining two recommended menus are fried rice (480 JPY) and gyoza with cheese (330 JPY). Fried rice rich of soy sauce flavor and the gravy gyoza also serve as good companions for sake.

As you chew, the taste of soy sauce and aroma of green onion spread. “Because the taste is solid, you can tone down the taste by removing the green onion!”, said Ms. Nakayama.


“Gyoza with cheese”, which is full of cheese.


How was it? Please try a lot and find your own beloved flavor!Nakayama Seika

Balancing work is not that simple, why do you still continue?

It’s nice to be really into something!

Talking about the shop with Mr. Imanaka. Mr. Imanaka worked as snowboarding instructor until the age of 23, then a car shop before being here.


As Ms. Nakayama had her break, we secretly listened to the manager’s story. “At first time, she was really unsophisticated,” told Mr. Imanaka. As he can run the shop on his own now, it was told that he started from washing the dishes.

I joined from self-run shop and started from washing. You can’t set up a branch store if you’re not a branch manager. When joining, I decided to give my best here.Mr. Imanaka
“She has the ability to create a good atmosphere. She can enjoy any environment. She’s active, she’s amazing, isn’t she?” Mr. Imanaka described Ms. Nakayama.


Yahoo: She said, “I was taught a lot of important things as a human by the manager.”

Mr. Imanaka: We talked a lot, but honestly I forgot what I have said to her. Everyone is connected to each other like a family, but on the beginning I think it was pretty strict.

Yahoo: She said something about strict as well.

Mr. Imanaka: To continue working here or to go out to the society, there is a choice like that. Anyway it’s not the end of part-time; I hope she can be a polished human being through here.

“I have a teacher whom I am indebted to big time. Because I am really grateful to be able to meet this person, I want to convey it to everyone as well,” said Mr. Imanaka.


Yahoo: Did anything change since Ms. Nakayama debuted?

Mr. Imanaka: It was “I debuted!” post-work report. (laughs)

Yahoo: Eh!

Mr. Imanaka: “I become an idol!” “Is that so!? Please do your best,” something like that. I don’t really know how it feels, but she is doing her best so I think that is fine.

Yahoo: Have you ever come to her live?

Mr. Imanaka: Some other workmates have, but I have never come. That’s why I am really surprised when “Seika Rush” happens.

Since the beginning, Ms. Nakayama never has any thought to quit. She also said that things that she learned here help her life as an idol as well. “I can’t thank my manager enough. When I was a student, not knowing anything, he taught me common sense and care as a person,” said Ms. Nakayama.

“He was scary. but now he has become kind,” said Ms. Nakayama. Mr. Imanaka smiled.


Yahoo: How does your experience here help you?

Seika: I got accustomed to being standing all the time, I got strength. I think my communication skill improved as well. Even with older people, whom until now I’m really nervous with, I became able to talk naturally. Being able to notice trivial changes on the customers, I’m confident that no one is better than me on that!

Yahoo: Does your management ask you to concentrate as an idol?

Seika: I thought what would happen if I were opposed, but I took it positively like “it’s ok~”.

“Things I learned here, lots of those help me as an idol. I am really grateful to be able to work here,” said Ms. Nakayama.


Yahoo: Seems fans are coming today as well!

Seika: I hear voices like “Today’s live, here is really good~”; I keep working while thinking about that (laughs). Here fellow Seika-oshis are getting along well with each other, so this place has become a place for relaxation, I am happy about that. Really, no one is here but warm people.

“Everyone gets along well, I really love Rairaitei Kawasaki Sugao that really feels like home. Everyone, please come, I am waiting for you!” said Ms. Nakayama.

Being ramen shop staff is not easy! Hearing a secret story of the new era.

In Rairaitei, part timers are called “freshmen”. “Since I started working, I think the strength of my left hand is not enough,” said Ms. Nakayama.


During lunch time, there are lots of two bowls set. Those are heavy and I could not hold it. “It’s bad! I cannot work if I’m like this!” Then I brought some bowls home and practiced.Nakayama Seika

“Instead of relying only on the power of your fingers, you can hold if you use your palm well!” she said as she turned around with a smile.

Take a break, take a ramen. A glimpse of Ms. Nakayama’s love towards ramen.


“Seems that it will be even busier from now on,” she said. “When it gets busier, I wonder if I can attend just a day within a month. I am an employee, but I really want to convey my gratitude to the manager for raising me,” she added with a serious look.



Original article: “忘れられないあの味「私の一杯」: ラーメン店で働く現役アイドル・中山星香が愛する一杯とは?”
Link: https://lifemagazine.yahoo.co.jp/articles/17247
Publish Date: 2018/11/11
Coverage: 金城和子
Photography: 三佐和隆士

Please credit the original article and eigokissbee.net if you take reference from this article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *