One of the things I always look forward to when I go to Honlulu is visiting the Okonomiyaki restaurant in the International Marketplace — there just aren’t many places in the US where you can get it, and it’s one of my favorite Japanese foods — but this trip was so quick and conference-intensive that I didn’t really have time. So I thought that I’d missed my chance, but when I got to the Ala Moana mall food court I discovered that Honolulu has two Okonomiyaki places.
I don’t usually get the Hiroshima-style, though after a year without any, who cares?
The conference was a great success on a lot of fronts. I got “promoted” from Board-member-at-large to Secretary, which was fun; it’s not official until the ballots and proxies are tallied…. by me, and reported back to the board in my capacity as Secretary pro tem. I got to talk to all kinds of interesting people, about which I’ll have more to say later. The “hang out space” (i.e. the coffee, which is, I’m told, one of the items on which conferences regularly go over budget) was in the Korean Studies Center, which is a real eye-catching building
The Korea Center is right next door to a small, but also eye-catching, Thai pavilion
That Buddha-like figure in the pavilion is George O. Totten, III (follow the link for a more youthful picture of the distinguished scholar). I swear it was his idea, and he wants a print.
The book tables at the conference weren’t too exciting (I’ve already gotten most of the exam copies I want from UH press at this point). After the first night, I slipped down the road to Rainbow Books, where I pawed through piles until I found some stuff that I didn’t have and really wanted. I miss good used bookstores.
A confession: I love taking pictures of bugs and flowers. I won’t inflict a lot of them on you, but I can’t resist sharing this remarkable ant-like creature and the actual ant on the flowers (yes, bugs and flowers in one shot!).
You mentioned how rare it is to find okonomiyaki in the U.S.. I’ve been a few places too, and I know of only one place on the east coast that does real okonomiyaki, street-stall (not a “obligatory comfort food” at a Japanese restaurant) style.
NYC has a little nook near NYU that sells both okonomiyaki and takoyaki. The name’s Otafuku, on E. 9th St near 2nd Avenue. As of last year, run by two genuine Kansai women.
I would expect to find it in NY, LA, maybe even SF (though I never did during my early 90s sojourn in Berkeley): those are the kind of cities that really have one of everything, but I’m actually surprised that I hadn’t heard of it until now.
I’m hoping it catches on a little more. I’ve always thought that waffle irons — in their flat-sided grill configuration — would be great for cooking them.