I debated for a while on an essay to write for a graduate school program: the point of the exercise is to judge your ability to write, analyze and organize your thoughts on paper--or via electronic means.
The major problem was that I did not know what I wanted to write; there were plenty of subjects that came to mind, but none of them fell into the "I feel like writing about this subject today." A night at Yokohama Stadium during a Baystars-Giants game came to mind, but I rejected that idea along with anything related to my current career or anything else relating to my past experiences. I felt, and I felt this most of the time when writing essays for my other applications, that these topics were either trite, irrelevant and that my writing style felt forced.
All of these ideas were slowly bobbing in my mind as I stirred in the ねぎ and チャシュー in my ramen at my favorite ラーメン屋 in the area when inspriation hit me. Why not write about ramen? Everyone in the US thinks of ramen in the form of the instant noodles in a package, not the dish that I know about, not the dish where artists constantly hone thier craft to create another delicious bowl.
And of course, I'm sure this essay will make little to no sense to whoever reads it.