Thursday, August 21, 2014

Let's discuss Japanese pizza again...

We ordered pizza last night.  Well, we ordered pizza for me.  My wife ate udon.  She's on an udon kick lately because she's been having some stomach problems and udon makes her feel better.  The less written about this the better.  I, on the other hand, went for my traditional comfort food.  Our delivery service of choice is Aoki's Pizza because we like their pies.

These pizzas aren't really anything special.  There are better pizzas available even here in Japan.  There's a place called Pizza Garlic, which I think is still open.  They have delicious pies.  Marisa is another pizza restaurant with stone oven pies.  They have excellent pizza there.  Kind of "craft pizza," definitely not New York or Chicago style, but amazingly tasty.  I even like Happy Valley's pizza.  The crust is a bit on the thin side even for a soft, bready type crust, but you can get a simple pepperoni pizza there.  The trouble is, all these options require hopping a bus or driving a car.  Aoki's brings a reasonably edible delivery-style pizza with thick, bready crust right to your house or apartment.  So while it's not as memorable as any of those other restaurants, or even compared to American delivery pizza, it's within the standards I grew up with.

Which true pizza connoisseurs would probably find laughable, but I'm a philistine due to geography.  The first pizza I ever tasted was probably Gargano's, which was a local tradition... in Albany, Georgia.  That's pretty far from the places where people debate pizza.  Then we got Domino's and life was never the same.  There are some serious pizza snobs out there and I salute their dedication to pizza perfection, but I am not among them.  I go for familiarity.  Aoki's Pizza gives me this even while adding all those exotic Japanese pizza toppings.  You know, like seaweed, corn, squid or octopus and even mayonnaise.

We've tried Pizza Time and Pizza-La.  Pizza Time, while delicious, proved to be a bit greasy.  You know, that orange pizza grease.  I don't really like having to blot my cheese before eating a slice.  We're willing to try Pizza Time again, but for now we're Aoki's customers.  Pizza-La was the first pizza I ate here in Japan, back when a friend and I came for a two-week visit.  Our hosts ordered pizza one night.  I seem to remember we tried to order one matching American tastes, but it probably had corn on it.  Have I eaten a Pizza-La pizza since then?  It's likely, but I can't remember.  If I have, it must not have actively offended me or else I'm sure I would remember.  That's not a glowing recommendation, but you can order Pizza-La in English from their online site.  This means there's another Pizza-La pie in my future.

When I lived in a small, rural community in Chiba prefecture, the local delivery pizza place was met with derision by its target demographic, school kids.  The all said they loved pizza, but openly mocked this company in class when we discussed food.  I can't remember the chain's name and I never tried one of their pies.  Maybe that's just as well.

Here's a quick tip for English conversation instructors-- ordering a pizza makes for an easy lesson in making simple requests.  Give your students a few topping and drink choices, throw in a salad and drill them on how to ask for things, make one the restaurant employee and one the customer and your students practically teach themselves.

Thus concludes today's pizza topic.

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