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Near the Japanese city of Osaka there’s a quiet community called Matsuzuka where you’ll find a man running a takoyaki stand. This friendly gentleman prepares takoyaki, a small ball-shaped snack made with batter, pieces of octopus, and other ingredients, topped with a tangy sauce and flakes of laver and dried bonito.
He lays out heated trays filled with half-sphere indentations and pours the batter across them. As it cooks he sprinkles chopped octopus, green onions, tempura scraps, and seasoning.
Taking a metal skewer, he skillfully separates each takoyaki and flips it over, using quick, smooth motions that speak to how many thousands of times he’s done this through the years. The takoyaki turn a rich, golden brown and when they’re done he hands them to you on a paper plate with a smile that’s as warm as the tasty morsels he’s just prepared.
Delicate pink cherry blossom petals float lazily through the air, blown over the nearby fence by the cool spring breeze. Whether it’s during a moonlit twilight, a smoky scarlet sunset, a clear sunny day, during a summer festival, or even a shadowy eclipse, the takoyaki man is always there, cooking up morsels of deliciousness that satisfy the soul as much as they do the stomach.
Matsuzuka Deskmat is inspired by the community where Takoyakeys spent summers in Japan visiting his grandparents.