|Kiritanbo-nabe, the entire family's pot.|
|My own dish from the kiritanbo-nabe.|
Not just at home but at restaurants as well, sharing seems very common. At a restaurant, for example, it's common to buy a large mix of items and try them all with your friends. (One of the most popular places for this around Kansai Gaidai is probably Torikizoku, where food is relatively cheap, allowing you to focus on being with your friends and enjoying the experience without having to really worry about the price!) Even the Italian restaurant near my host family's house is family oriented–the last time we went, we bought several types of pasta, pizzas, and salads and shared them all, partially so we could figure out what tasted best, partially because we were there as a family and so we thought it would be best to share. In contrast, at an Italian restaurant in America, for example, I think the more common thing to do even if you're with your family is to buy one meal for yourself, and if you share, it's not much more than a bite or two, whereas in Japan, the whole meal, regardless of whether it's Italian, Japanese, or any specific kind of food, is often based around sharing, which makes it more family-like. Granted, I am generalizing and there most likely are people who share whole meals in such restaurants in America, but in general from my own experiences, I think that it seems much more common in Japan.
|Meat for the yakiniku|
|My host family's yakiniku|
Both meals at a restaurant in Japan as well as at home are often very family-oriented, although I have to admit I prefer eating at home to eating at a restaurant. It's one thing to eat a nice meal as a family at a restaurant, but to have yakiniku with your family after having been warming up under a kotatsu makes the experience much more memorable.