I stayed at a farmer's guest house. They said that they've got a wild duck and invited me for a meal. I was surprised to see a duck in the whole body, not as meat when I arrived at their place. I asked host father how to eat this, and he quietly started to grill the duck's hair. We do eat ducks in Germany that I knew how it's taste. But I didn't expect to see cleaning and filleting process too.
I was a bit surprised to see it, but local kids gathered to join. They take duck's hair off like an ordinary thing to do. I thought kids would be scared as I did, but they were fine. They just helped their family. Those children always help their parents to do rice planting or collecting mountain herbs that they grow up familiar with nature. I was admired to see how strong they are.
We made a hot pot from the duck they cut. I often saw everyone cooking together when I visit Japanese family. It looks like cooking is already a beginning of a party. Most of the ingredients for their cuisine used something that grows in that area, and they cook various kinds of food.
Looking at others at the table is also interesting. Everyone takes a seat, one person says "Itadakimasu" a greeting before eating, and everyone else follows it. Itadakimasu means appreciation towards food like plants and animals, and also an appreciation for people who grow or cook them. I think that is a perfect and meaningful word.
A lot of Japanese Sake is provided in Japanese feat especially in Akita. People become talkative even though many of them are usual shy and quiet when they drink some alcohol. They also try to communicate with me in English. If you are traveling to Japan, you should join a party of local people. (From Germany)