Wednesday, August 10, 2005


There are so many things I have yet to digest in regard to my recent trip to the US and the many contrasts involved in going/being here/there. Thus this quick note on one I have already digested, with difficulty: pizza. One night in Santa Barbara we ordered a standard-sized pizza from a pizza place not far away that my brother Mick and his wife Liz hadn’t yet tried; the pizza was delivered right out of the oven in 10 minutes (or so it seemed), cost 20 dollars (plus tip), was about 2 feet in diameter and perfectly made, crispy crust with carefully arranged sauce and cheese and black olives, and was delicious to the last slice.

Last night, while editing in an office in Kyoto I sent out for a medium-sized pizza from Dominos, the only reputable pizza chain in the city; it came about an hour later, was about a foot in diameter, cost 2000 yen (about 20 dollars, no tip) and had clearly been sitting around for a while, maybe since afternoon or even morning, who knows (seemed like it had been reheated); anyway, Japanese consumers very seldom complain. The Japanized pizza (sweeter sauce, indefinite crust, minimal garnish) was lukewarm, tough, a bit of wet cardboard flavor to it, the cheese had long ago melted all over the slice lines so it had to be torn apart etc. By halfway through it was cold and had the consistency of an eraser. Not too appetizing to one who only days before had enjoyed the genuine item.

Odd that service and business self-respect are degenerating apace here, while they're improving (from what I remember) in California…

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