Mits and I love eating tako yaki. My first order was with Mits on my first trip to Japan in 2009. I really didn’t know what to expect but Mits kept raving about the soft, gooey, street confection months before our trip, so anticipation for my first order was high. The tako yaki stall we stumbled onto was close to the Nishiki food market in the covered, downtown, shopping district of Kyoto. The scene unfolding before me was amazingly new: large, whole octopus being plunged into steamy water, batter being poured on to desk-size, iron pans with a hundred half spheres depressed into them, and the deft work of the tako yaki chef as he scraped and turned all the individual pockets of runny batter into spheres as the dough cooked. Upon ordering the chef flipped five into a dish and slathered the steamy balls in thick, salty-sweet sauce then sprinkled shaved bonito (which is a dried and smoked fish) on top.