If there is one word to describe Japanese cuisine then it has to be "artistic" in its purest sense. No other cuisine is so in harmony with nature, reflecting the rhythm of the seasons. No other accords food such awesome respect. No other prepares it with such an eye to detail - color, texture, flavor, balance - each ingredient's roll perfectly defined in the final dish. In Japan they first feast with their eyes, then comes the aroma, then taste, the palate pleasure. The secret to preparing Japanese cuisine at home is an understanding of the basic ingredients and of how a meal is composed; the culinary methods used are basically very simple. We trust that this book will encourage people at home to be adventurous and start preparing and cooking Japanese food in their own kitchens, however, the most important requirement of all is a love of good food prepared and presented with a sense of harmony.