Making friends over a Japanese dinner
Nicely set tables, placed very close to the floor and chairs with no legs. Western men trying to bend their legs trying to get into a position that is similar to how tailors used to sit. But this looks more like modern art or a lumberyard where the planks have tipped slightly to the side.
On the almost legless tables there are a vast amount of plates and pots. Underneath one of the small pots there is a lively fire going on. Our Japanese guide, Daichi, tells us that when the fire has gone out the soup is ready. Ingenious! To wash it down we get small porcelain mugs with lukewarm sake, soft as velvet. The Swedes say kampai! Joaquin from Chile says scholl, because he went to German school and Daichi says skål thanks to his teacher that was married to someone from Dalarna in Sweden. The bonding works well, especially afterwards when we all decide to let go of the good manners and stretch our stiff legs.