Okonomiyaki restaurants are as popular in Japan as creperies are in France; they both make pancakes, but there the similarity ends. Japanese-style pancakes are so huge even a visiting American would be hard-pressed to finish one. The best place to sit in an Okonomiyaki restaurant is at the counter, where you can see them being put together and cooked on a mini-assembly line. The main ingredient of an Okonomiyaki pancake in most parts of Japan is cabbage and the first person in the line is the cabbage slicer. He uses a machette to slice cabbage leaves very thinly, almost parallel with the counter. The shredded cabbage (kyabetsu) goes to the first of two chefs on the hot-plate, who pours a circle of batter onto the hotplate and then adds the cabbage and other ingredients, such as prawn (ebi) and squid (ika). A second chef finishes the pancake off, adding an egg and sprinkling seaweed flakes (aonori) and bonito flakes (katsuo bushi) on the top. In Hiroshima, noodles are used instead of cabbage. This is my favourite kind. The cost will rarely exceed 1,000 yen (£6).