Chef Akila Inoue is as charismatic as he is precise: after enrolling into his three-and-a-half-hour buckwheat-noodle-making class at the Tsukiji Soba Academy, expect to be slightly mystified by a whiteboard full of complicated calculations of ratios of ingredients to humidity levels—before his blessedly simple mathematical formula for the ultimate bowl of soba noodles is revealed, that is. Then, the fun really begins. Wearing head scarves and aprons, with sleeves rolled up, students learn from the entertaining chef (who normally teaches professionals) how to create a flawlessly soft buckwheat dough, which is then cut into the quintessential thin slivers. Once that’s done, you’ll cook and dine on your very own soba noodles. You’ll even learn the proper techniques for dipping cold soba—and how to execute the all-important soba slurp.