So it was a great surprise when the next morning they presented me with an entire pizza. “We didn’t think you’d want just pizza toast,” Mrs. Kumata — who insisted on being called “Mama” — said to me as she emerged from the kitchen with a thin-crust pie on a plate. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that pizza toast was everything. Was a totem. That pizza toast was the great unifier, the healer of this modern walker. That pizza toast was more than just pizza toast. It was the underdog fighting Pachinko Road. A food that had been forged in some bizarro cultural oven wedged between American GIs and poverty that somehow managed to shed all of that baggage over the years. It was unique, a quirk of reality. And most importantly: It was delicious.
Craig Mod is a brilliant writer and photographer. His ability to form a piece that delicately discusses history, cuisine, and rituals is inspiring. He has a unique ability to write as both a knowledgeable insider and curious outsider. I highly recommend subscribing to his newsletters: Roden and Ridgeline.