“Pizza Toast and Coffee” by writer and filmmaker Craig Mod is a meditative short film about the owner of a mid-century cafe (kissa) owner and cancer survivor Yamane-san in Bügen, Japan, a suburb south of Tokyo, who makes a wonderfully unique version of the town’s traditional pizza toast.
Proprietor Yamane-san has survived four bouts of cancer and has run his cafe for close to forty-five years. He makes a mean pizza toast with a unique cutting style. Pizza toast is a staple of kissa culinary culture.
Yamane-san quietly scores the thick, hand-cut slice of bread in several places before putting on the traditional pizza toppings.
The crust on two of the long sides of the bread is cut eighty percent off — not entirely, but mostly. The bread is then scored into long thirds on one side, and then flipped and further scored into perpendicular shallow thirds. Flipped once more, the bread, thusly prepped, is topped with a light, sweet tomato sauce, mozzarella, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and thin-sliced salami.
The film is an accompaniment to Mod’s self-funded book Kissa by Kissa (available through his website).
Kissa by Kissa is a book about walking 1,000+km of the countryside of Japan along the ancient Nakasend? highway, the culture of toast (toast!), and mid-twentieth century Japanese cafés called kissaten.