Onto a small, desk-sized counter by the street window, Kamekichi Fujiwara slaps down a ball of dough and starts rolling. The 86-year-old owner of Tony’s Pizza in western Tokyo’s Kichijoji neighborhood kneads away until the lump — a mix of yeast and high-protein ōshon flour commonly used to make chewy, elastic ramen — begins to yield.

“I’m probably the only one in Japan who doesn’t use a floured board,” Fujiwara says. “Flavorless, dry flour sucks out the taste and moisture from the dough.