HIROSHIMA: Misleadingly called "Japanese pizza," okonomiaki is a popular food in parts of Japan, especially in Hiroshima. The customer chooses from a wide variety of ingredients, including various vegetables and--in this case--fried noodles (a specialty of Hiroshima), and the whole is formed into a cake, fused together with egg, and fried on a grill in front of you, brushed with a "syrup" that gives okonomiaki it's distinctive taste. These are tiny, informal joints specializing in fast food. The result is delicious, but nothing like pizza. May 18, 1998