Everytime I go back to Japan, I get intrigued with the culnary culture there. Japanese food, unlike French or Chinese, it typically try to emphasize the natural taste of the seasonal ingredients rather than putting taste to them with heavy sauce. Maybe I am biased as I grew up with the food, but I just love the "simplicity," although I admit I am also a huge fan of French and Chinese :)
These are the spring veggies. You do Tempura with them, or you could simply grill them or saute them with soy sauce, mirin, sake, or dashi or any combination of them.
"Izakaya" we went during my recent visit had many great fish dishes. And they were unbelivably fresh and great. I can no longer tolerate any kind of sashimi we get here in LA :-(
Three small dishes. The top right dish is boiled Hotaruika (small squid). The top left dish is coocked scallop. The bottom dish is coocked scallop egg and organ (probably liver part based on the black color, which you typically don't eat unless it is VERY fresh)
And, of course, you cannot forget Yakitori and Kushiage! Kushiage is typically prepared individually in front of you, so that you get to eat freshly fried Kushi=skewer.