This week I have mostly been eating.......

Okonomiyaki is probably my favourite Japanese food. The best way to describe it is as a cross between an omelette and a pancake, if that makes sense.
It also contains cabbage, pickled ginger, and either pork, prawns, or the dreaded squid. On top is worcester sauce, mayonnaise and dried fish flakes that dance in the heat of the hotplate that it is cooked on. Often you can cook it yourself at your table, adding to the fun. Yum!!!

Sushi (raw fish on rice balls)  is probably the most famous Japanese food, and I can tell you, it is a lot nicer than it sounds!!!
The fish is very fresh, unlike in England - in fact it is often kept in tanks and killed on the premises!
Raw fish served on its own is known as "sashimi". Sushi is fish served on top of balls of sticky rice, with a dash of wasabi (strong mustard/horseradish). If you like, you can add more wasabi, or eat your sushi with some pickled ginger and soy sauce. In sushi restaurants, green tea is usually provided free of charge, and it makes the perfect accompaniment - it really does help to settle your stomach.
There are two main kinds of sushi restaurants - those where you order the sushi you would like and pay at the end, as in a usual restaurant, and the kaiten sushi restaurants. Kaiten sushi comes round on a conveyor belt and you simply take the plates that you like the look of. Some of these offer all-you-can-eat deals, others charge you according to the amount of different coloured plates you have amassed - eg a red plate may be 100yen, a blue one 200yen, and so on.
Sushi is made from a wide variety of fish, including eel, tuna, salmon, prawns, fish eggs, sea urchin, makerel etc. The only ones I would really suggest you avoid are squid and octopus - which are very tough and chewy and almost impossible to swallow!!!
kaiten sushi - as demonstrated by James!

Yakitori are delicious chicken kebabs covered  in a sticky, sweet, soy sauce based marinade. The most basic form of Yakitori (grilled chicken) is just chicken and sauce, but other varieties are available. Chicken and leek, chicken meatballs, chicken hearts, chicken skin, chicken knuckles and chicken cartledge are a few alternative choices. I still can't understand who actually enjoys eating the knuckles and cartledge though - personally I stick to the meat. Yakitori is often available in Izakaya (Japanese style pubs) and also at stalls near to tourist attractions or at festival times.
A yakitori stall at Osaka Castle Park.

Pictured right is a selection of drinking snacks - a kind of "Japanese Ploughman's"! This one consists mostly of yummy beans/peas and yucky bits of squid and octopus!

Gyoza are originally Chinese but are now a very common Japanese food. They are dumplings stuffed with pork, cabbage, garlic etc. Dip them in soy sauce and spicy ra-yu before you eat them. A little restaurant selling delicious, cheap Chinese-style Japanese food has just opened in Momodani where we live. Yum!
A meal from our new restaurant - fried rice, karaage (fried chicken) and gyoza (right hand side).
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