This was more than a week ago now, but I met a girl in one of my classes that introduced me to her friends and they ended up inviting me out to dinner. They said there were getting pizza so I said yes, naturally. They didn’t tell me until we got there that it was a surprise party for one of the girls, so I was even more flattered they brought me along.
First, they brought out some gnocchi that had some parmesan on top. I’m pretty sure they were basil flavored. They were great. Then we looked at the menus and there were some odd combination pizzas. Ones with fish eggs and mayo, and stuff like that. There were some normal ones too. I chose a simple pesto pizza and they chose a variety of other things. As Japanese people often do, we all shared so I got to try the assortment of Japanified pizzas. First came the margarita pizza another girl asked for. It was good. Though, I immediately noticed the very small amount of cheese that was on the pizza. This continued to be the case with all the pizzas, but this makes sense since cheese is very expensive here. Next came out the pesto pizza. It was great. I love pesto, and even without a lot of cheese, the pesto carried the pizza for me. Off to a strong start. So far everything is tasty and is fairly standard despite the distinct lack of cheese. The next pizza to arrive is this nicely displayed pizza. It has a bunch of some meat laid out with an egg in the middle. The meat was some form of pork. Back in America, I’m a half vegetarian, meaning I don’t eat mammal, but here it would be difficult for me to be strict about it and I would have to miss out on a lot of classic Japanese dishes so I decided while I was here I’d let it go and eat whatever. I have to say the pork on this pizza didn’t totally make me regret being a half vegetarian. I figure I just haven’t developed a taste for it. I’m not much of a meat person anyway. The next one was a pizza similar to the margarita pizza except it had anchovies on it. I know
this is a classic in America too, so I tried it. It’s a margarita pizza with the flavor of fish. Not my forte, but I get why some people like it. Then we got something that looked nothing like pizza but it was actually pretty good. Gotta be honest, I’m not totally sure what was on it, but it was pretty and tasted good, so I didn’t really care. I think the most surprising thing of all was the pasta we had that night. At some point, we had spicy penne pasta which all of us agreed was very spicy. And a white pasta which had sounded good to me. What was in the white pasta was startling, to say the least. I had been eating it and it actually tasted pretty good. I was pleased with it until I realized the sauce was made out of tiny fish. I started seeing all the little eyes and thought about the tiny colorful fish I had as a kid and was a bit disturbed. I finished it though I felt a little weird after.
I felt bad that I was so surprised by all the food. I don’t know why but I was expecting something like Olive Garden or Cheesecake factory and it was not like that. Foreigners must come to Japan a lot and find themselves eating an unfamiliar version of Itailian food. The experience made me wonder though, how is American Italian food different from actual Italian food. I bet we’ve Americanized it, much like with have with every type of food we’ve appropriated. I wonder how Japanese people like the Americanized Italian food when they visit. Or better yet Italian food in Italy. Eating Italian food in Italy is one of my bucket list goals for sure. Japanese food is better in Japan so I can only imagine Italian food would work the same way.
After we had all eaten, the birthday girl got her surprised. The restaurant had put together a beautifully decorated plate with a little ice cream and cake on it. She was very surprised but I think she felt good that her friends had thought about her like that. That night was great. I had new food experiences and had great conversations with new friends. I definitely want to go out with them again. I really appreciated them taking me into their friend group. I’ve been very lucky in friendship here.
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