Dinner was served in a private room with cushions on the floor surrounding two long tables. Each place setting had a first course of sweets, sashimi, salad, seafood noodle soup and, most entertaining, a live abalone wriggling in its shell above a hot plate. On cue, servers lit flames below the plates, and before the abalone could feel the heat, it was doused with sake. Once cooked, our little friend tasted like a chewy piece of octopus. More exotic dishes and dessert followed, served with sake and beer. We feasted on a similarly extensive culinary menu every evening.