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Year 2005. I was invited by my colleagues in Japan to a farewell party when I finished my long professional assignment. It was winter and they took me to a restaurant located near the base of the Fuji Mountain, passing the militar barracks in Gotemba road, and they ordered a dish traditionally served during winter and called Shabu Shabu. For those who know Korean hotpot food shabu shabu is virtually the same. The table has a built-in electrical pot in the centre of the table so everybody can reach the pot with their tools. The table is set in a hole (as is customary in Japan for hotpot foods) so we seat on the tatami floor with the legs underneath the table and the feet inside the hole. This gives the feeling to be seating in a chair instead on the floor with legs crossed as in the traditional way. Due to a genetic malformation on my hips they knew I could not cross my legs so they always avoided to take me to a very strictly traditional Japanese restaurante with low table and no possibility to extend the legs underneath; in which man have to cross the legs and woman have to kneel and seat in their heels.

The shabu shabu consists mainly of chopped vegetables and meat very thinly sliced. Once the water on the pot is boiling we put the vegetables and meet inside to scald until each one judges his part is good to eat. Once done we can add the traditional soya sauce mixed with wasabi which gives a delicious seasoning and taste to the food.

This particular restaurant was built in a traditional hut design only missing the culm on the roof, isolated near the forest and nicely decorated. On the entrance and facing the Fuji Mountain east side there were a few bonfires along the alley coming from the car parking. This photo was taken in one of the bonfires with the logs burning in a kind of middle age iron baskets.

//jb2014