I ordered my first delivery pizza in Japanese today!!

So happy :3

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My vampire pizza and side order! Read on.

Today was the last day of Halloween lessons at all my schools. I came home happy from this, but also very tired. I didn’t want to cook anything, but the nearest restaurants are farther than 7-11 and the supermarket. I’d seen a video a while back where Simon and Martina of EatYourKimchi, a YouTube channel I follow, ordered Chinese food over the phone in Korean, and I thought if they could do it, so could I–in Japanese, of course.

It was easy to choose the company, because Chicago Pizza in Otake frequently leaves fliers in the mail slot of my front door with coupons and things. I kept it because it included the whole menu and I thought I might be able to order pizza from them someday. I taped it to my door so I didn’t lose it by accident or have to file it somewhere, and that’s where it’s been since at least September.

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The flier that I find in my mail slot every month or so.

My parents can testify to this, but I’m actually pretty shy about making “real” phone calls and prefer to do business by email or online whenever possible. Whenever I make a phone call to someone I’ve never met, I have to take a deep breath and prepare myself^^; My roommate and I in Tokyo used to take turns answering the door and taking Japanese phone calls, because they were both unpredictable.

I didn’t want to give the person on the phone a difficult time, so I went online to try and find a guide in Japanese about how to order a pizza in Japan. After all, it could be different, right? I don’t know pizza ordering culture here (haha). You’d think fast food would just be the same as in the US, but then you travel to another country (like Korean) and discover that they have McDonald’s delivery motorbikes. Who knows what ordering a pizza could be like?

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“McDelivery” in Seoul, South Korea (2011)

I found a site in Japanese by a guy who used to be a part-timer at a pizza delivery place; it explained the “correct” order in which to order a pizza. He has a big chip on his shoulder and says some mean things which is why I don’t want to link him, but it was also so bitter-sounding that it made me laugh while I read it. However, due to the plethora of specific bad experiences that he’s had, his how-to guide for correctly ordering a pizza is detailed and perfect. I took notes, practiced saying “I’d like to order a pizza” politely, and dialed the number.

The ordering call went exactly as the pizza ordering guide had said, and the only difficult part was trying to explain how to spell my name in Japanese. I wasn’t sure if the guy taking my order had got it, so I tried spelling it in English for him, but that didn’t show up on my receipt later, so I guess that wasn’t necessary. (In the end, I think ordering a delivery pizza really is about the same as in the US, just in Japanese.)

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Pizza options from the menu!

I think the guy who took my call was the same guy who came by with my pizza less than a half hour later, because he asked me if they’d spelled my name right on the receipt. They were close! My last name was perfect; my first name got a little mangled. My first name is hard to say in Japanese–it comes out as su-te-fa-nii. The kids at the kindergarten can’t say it because they can’t make the “fa” sound yet, so they have to say “su-te-ha-nii,” and if I don’t speak clearly and slowly (even when saying it in Japanese) people don’t always catch it the first time. I’ve had it mistaken at Starbucks in the US before, too, so I probably just need to speak up.

In addition the bitter “how to order a pizza” page, I also read some of the part-timer’s other complaint pages, and I think that helped convince me to prepare to be a good US ambassador when the pizza guy showed up at my door. What I’m referring to is my apartment’s main walkway from the door–I don’t think I’ve ever cleaned up that area so fast. That guy must have come within 15-20 minutes from when I called, because I’d just thrown all the extra shoes and bags off to the side where they can’t be seen from the door and vacuumed the whole walkway when the doorbell rang. I almost shoved the vaccuum into the main room behind me and tried to shut the door, and when I opened the door, there was only a clean apartment behind me (hehe).

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Dracula Pizza! :K

Because it was too funny to pass up on the last day of Halloween, I’d ordered the so-called “Dracula” pizza. The ingredients (with tomato sauce) are bacon, sausage, roasted garlic, hokuhoku garlic (what does that mean?), and garlic oil. Get it? (haha.) I think it sold me after having “garlic” on the list of ingredients three times. The pizza is a small, which was 25cm (about 10″) in diameter, and I got the “heavy” (ヘビー, meaning “thick”) crust.

I also had a side order of french fries, which to my surprise, were actually called “french fries” (フレンチフライ) instead of “potato fries” (ポテトフライ) as usual. I ordered a soda, too.

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The fries were wrapped in paper, and the pizza was placed on top of a white sheet of paper as well. For the fries, it was probably to keep all the grease from leaking through, but for the pizza, I thought that it might keep all the grease off the cardboard so you can store it nicely until the one day a month that you’re allowed to put it outside for trash collection. Eating your fries with ketchup is not really a thing in Japan, but I have lots of ketchup at home, so I was prepared! (I think people just eat them plain, because whenever I’m eating out somewhere, they’ll just bring a plate of fries but no dip.)

I usually watch TV, YouTube, or at least listen to music while I eat, because otherwise eating alone at home feels lame; but today as I turned on the video, I realized I cared more about the taste of my pizza than the video I was watching, and paused it. I’ve never had pizza from the city of Chicago, and I still prefer Murphy’s and Mary’s pizza to most other kinds, but I was reminded today of why I absolutely love pizza. The total cost of the pizza, fries, drink, and delivery (which was…free? I don’t see it on the receipt) was ¥2,030, including tax. Food delivery is fun! I might have to try Chinese next.

Song of the Day: “Ghostbusters” Theme

7 thoughts on “I ordered my first delivery pizza in Japanese today!!

  1. woohoo! How fun. Guess you’re making me research the yen to dollar exchange rate…which is swell; all in all, thanks for keeping my brain alert. That pizza looks way better than the Shakey’s pizzas we used to have in Shinjuku in 1982. Thanks!

  2. Good for you! We ate pizza last night, too. Yours looks delicious! Did it taste as good as it looks in the picture? That could become a frequent habit. I don’t think I could go very long without a slice of pizza now and then. Pizza treat night is a very satisfying reward after a hard day’s work.
    Good blog(as always). Great pictures.

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