Japanese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Japanese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm writing a skit but I need a counter for bowls of ramen. ひとつ ふたつ somehow sounds weird. Is there a counter for bowls?

share|improve this question

Quote from 数え方の辞典 (which I have introduced here before):




share|improve this answer
I take it 玉 would mostly be used in the sense of 替え玉{かえだま}? – nkjt Mar 24 '13 at 12:20
@nkjt うどん[玉]{たま}にも「うどん[2玉]{ふたたま}買ってきて~」とかいいます。 fujimuraya.com/shopping/shop/udon/image/m0100l.jpg ←普通、これ位の大きさのが[1玉]{ひとたま}。ゆでてある「和そば」や、焼きそば・ラーメン用のゆで麺も、よく「玉」で数えます – user1016 May 13 '13 at 19:57
A very misleading answer for most J-leaners. One would need a near-native level proficiency to make use of it. – l'électeur Oct 18 '13 at 2:51
@TokyoNagoya どう、どう・・・。(← I mean, "Easy", not "How") – user1016 Oct 18 '13 at 10:44
まあ、OPがコンテクストを提示してないし、レストラン/ラーメン屋での会話だとも書いてないし・・・「一日にラーメン3杯食えます」って言ってるかもしれないし・・しょ‌​うがないよね~汗 ^^; – user1016 Oct 18 '13 at 11:03

How significant is it when a Japanese learner says a word or phrase sounds weird? ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ, etc. is by far the most often used way of ordering ramen in a restaurant.

玉 is the counter for the noodle part of a ramen, not for the entire bowl of ramen with noodles, soup, toppings, etc.

杯 is the counter for the whole thing --- noodles, soup and toppings. Some people use this counter for ordering ramen but it is much less common to do so than to use ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ.

丁 is the counter almost exclusively used by the waiter/waitress to tell the kitchen how many ramen has just been ordered.

本 is almost irrelevant to the original question because it is only used to count the strands of noodle.  

share|improve this answer
Come to think of it... we use ひとつ、ふたつ、みっつ when ordering coffee, udon, yakisoba, sushi, cheeseburger, french fries and... just about anything! (...except kushi-age and yakitori, maybe?) – user1016 Oct 18 '13 at 4:03
“How significant is it when a Japanese learner says a word or phrase sounds weird?” What is this sentence supposed to mean? It sounds a little insulting. – Tsuyoshi Ito Oct 18 '13 at 10:22
@Tokyo どう、どう・・・ – user1016 Oct 18 '13 at 10:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.