Mottainai (もったいない) is a Japanese word that helps to explain how Japanese are different from Americans.
It can be translated "what a waste!”
While an American will drop a full meal into a trash can, Japanese children are warned not to leave a single grain of rice at the dinner table.
Okonomiyaki お好み焼き is a kind of Japanese pancake, evolved as a way to use up leftovers.
The name is derived from the word okonomi,
“what you like”,
In Tokyo a few years back, Selina and I decided to give it a try.
She selected a grill-it-yourself joint, where a bowl of chopped up muck is turned out on to a “teppan,” a gas grill fitted right into our table.
Flipping them takes skill and so we let the server do it.
They were crispy around the edges, barely cooked through the middle and totally alien to our Western palate.
Honestly? I didn’t actually like them very much.