Dinner was included in the accommodation cost, and our our hostess had it all lined up on a trolley outside the room.
We were ushered into the main room with the large low table, and asked to sit crosslegged as she laid out in perfect mirror image, two whopping meals.
I love the Japanese obsession with presentation and layout. What I really would have liked at the time was someone who could explain in detail, what each dish was and what it meant. I have read about the Japanese philosophy of fives - that is, five flavours and colours. The meal laid out before us certainly seemed to meet that criteria.
There was the obligatory rice, and a large range of unidentifiable pickled root vegetables, fish, miso soup, sushi and sashimi, candied bits and pieces, jellied stuff, steam boats and carefully styled fruit pieces.
Tea and beer accompanied the meal (beer was our choice!), and we sat wide-mouthed through most of the meal, contemplating the tastes and the meaning of it all.
Everything tasted extremely fresh, and it had obviously been prepared with love and dedication - soppy, but you know what I mean.
Then came the absolute best part of the meal - the phone call to reception to clear up the remnants of dinner.
The clearing was quick and efficient, and within a few minutes our clean-up lady was out of the room, leaving nothing but chocolates.
Another knock followed, and the futon-making man appeared, ready to make our beds for the evening.
Two layers of foam on the floor formed the bed, then the thickest duvet/doona ever was placed over the top. It's somehow comforting being low to the ground when you sleep...something about not having too far to fall out of bed :-).
In any case, it was the most inspiring meal. And breakfast was pretty much the same thing all over.