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Japanese culture, which can be called “a culture of harmony,”
places importance on harmony among friends.
One cultural form for confirming harmony involves friends getting together
to drink sake and eat, and naberyori is appropriate for such gatherings.
Soup stock and ingredients are put in a pot and heated;
four or five persons sit around it,
put soup and ingredients from the pot into their own bowls and eat.
This enhances the bond of friendship and stimulates the discussion.
There are all sorts of ingredients and soup stocks, as many flavors and ways of preparing,
in fact, as there are households.
Typical ingredients include fish, shellfish, a variety of vegetables and meats,
and soup stocks are seasoned by soy bean paste or soy sauce.
This is a typical contemporary Japanese dish featuring beef.
There was the Japanese cultural belief,
following Buddhist teaching, that eating meat was traditionally considered repugnant.
However, in the Meiji Period(1868-1912),
when Western cooking came into Japan
and eating meat ceased to be a taboo, Sukiyaki became popular.
Beef, vegetables and tofu are put into an iron pot,
seasoned with soy sauce and sugar, heated,
then dipped in a raw, beaten egg and eaten.
The name well expresses the distinctive aspect of this dish.
The Japanese hear the sound of lightly swishing the very thinly sliced beef in boiling water,
then taking it out, as “shabushabu.
” Very high-grade beef is sliced no thicker than one to two millimeters and laid out on a plate.
To eat, one slice is put into the boiling water for three to four seconds until the color of the meat changes.
This is then dipped into a sauce based on soy sauce or pounded sesame dressing and eaten.
This is one kind of cookpot dishes,
It is a typical wintertime dish in which various kinds of minced fish are processed
and put in the pot,
and Japanese radishes, kelp, eggs
and the like are added and cooked.
It is often prepared in the home,
but in cities people are fond of Oden at street stalls.
In winter, white-collar workers drinking warmed Sake
while eating Oden at street stalls are conspicuous.
In recent years,
Oden can be bought, warmed up, even at convenience stores.