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Death of a Noodle Master

Large crowds of customers lined up in front of a noodle restaurant in Tokyo to remember a dish created by restaurateur Kazuo Yamagishi, who passed away on April 2.

Yamagishi first served his special dish, called tsukemen, 54 years ago. It was an instant hit.

Tsukemen means "dipping noodles." You eat the ramen after swishing it in a separate bowl of thick soup.

Yamagishi got the idea from a staff meal served in the restaurant where he apprenticed as a teenager.

Now, more than 100 chefs who worked under him have opened their own restaurants across the country, featuring tsukemen on their menus.

On the day after Yamagishi's death, loyal customers flocked to the restaurant before it opened for business.

"I heard that Mr. Yamagishi passed away," said one. "So I wanted to taste his noodles one more time."

"He was a cheerful man who always said 'Welcome' and 'Thank you,'" said another. "That's how I remember him."

Yamagishi died of heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo. He was 80 years old.

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