People often have certain preconceptions about Japanese food. The layman might typically think of sushi - healthy, delicate, refined, prepared by highly trained masters, and savoured by straight faced diners in solemn temples dedicated to the de facto national dish.
But this is not the whole story. Japan is no stranger to filth - and I'm not talking about the abundance of dodgy porn, or unconventionally stocked vending machines.
A good example is okonomiyaki. A thick, gooey pancake which can be filled with cabbage, pork, seafood, noodles... pretty much anything. Before serving, it is topped with a sweet brown sauce (not a million miles away from HP sauce) and mayonnaise. It's heavy, greasy, stodgy, and delicious.
But the thing which really knocked me for six was the curry doughnut. Japanese bakeries are curious places, filled with tempting looking cakes and breads, which look quite innocent to unsuspecing western customers. French sounding shop names like "Vie de France" draw you further into a false sense of security. But beware, that delicious looking bun is quite possibly filled with red beans. And that enticing, golden doughnut? Probably filled with beef curry.
The first time I tasted one of these, it was a complete shock to the system. The first bite was confusing and disorientating. The second bite was bliss. I had been converted. Vive la Japon.