The shared nature of Nabe cuisine, linked with the long history of this cooking method, dates back thousands of years to a time when tribes cooked their game in clay pots over an open fire to warm both their bodies and bellies during the freezing winter. After Buddhism was introduced in Japan in 552AD, beef was banned so the main ingredients for Nabe were seafood or chicken. Thus, the Nabe we know today evolved during the Edo Period (1603-1868) when Japan finally opened its borders to Western influences after a long period of social closure.
Retaining a strong focus on group dining, the proper way to eat modern Nabe is by using a larger pair of chopsticks to transport food from the hot pot to individual dishes, and then use smaller chopsticks for eating. Because Nabe broth is rich and flavourful, once you eat all the ingredients from the hot pot, some like to add rice or noodles to this broth to finish the meal.
If you ever come to Japan during winter, trying some Nabe cuisine can add something special to your journey and give you added impetus to make new friends.