Thursday, November 3, 2011

Won't Miss #383 - okonomiyaki

In theory, I should love okonomiyaki. Well, I should love it as much as you can love a food that looks like someone hurled the contents of their dinner onto a grill. For a society so obsessed with the appearance of food, it's surprising that this "Japanese savory pancake" is so popular. Okonomiyaki is a food that is prepared "as you like it", so you can customize the composition. Unfortunately my first experience with this particular dish was one of those typical negative experiences that foreigners have in Japan. I was in Japan visiting my then-boyfriend (now husband) and one of his students wanted to go for a meal with us. She arranged a time and date and met us at an okonomiyaki place. She chose the cuisine without consulting us about our tastes, but we were both relatively new to Japan and figured we'd go with the flow. All proceeded as planned except she showed up with 4 friends who didn't speak English and they proceeded to giggle and carry on in Japanese 95% of the time. She essentially wanted to show off having gaijin "friends" to her Japanese friends and ambushed us with a crowd of people who thought we were entertainment to accompany their meal, not actual human beings with whom they had to behave graciously. 

I didn't care for the (too fishy) okonomiyaki that I had during that titter-fest and though I'm sure that I could custom order a version I'd enjoy, I will forever associate it with an early experience with extremely rude behavior that showed some of the worst Japanese people can sometimes offer foreign visitors.