Here on the 8th floor of the Seibu in Shibuya -- the big department store next to Tsutaya and Starbucks, northwest side of the Scramble across from Hachiko -- it's shabu shabu with a twist. You get the same pot of water spiked with dashi (a fish-based consomme), but with a generous glob of cream-colored collagen, which dissolves as the broth comes to a boil, enriching its flavor and helping us gals maintain younger-looking skin. (That last part may be wishful thinking. One article I found on the subject quotes scientists saying that collagen, the high-protein connective tissue found between animal bones, is digested into amino acids just like other proteins, so eating meat and other protein-rich foods has the same effect. And Kuniko Takahashi, a nutrition scientist at Gunma University and author of Tabemono Joho Uso Honto (Truth and Falsehood of Food Information), wrote that collagen, as a protein, is "no better than average.")
It was a delicious meal in any case. The restaurant had this great green condiment of concentrated yuzu (citrus) and spicy pepper, which I added to my dipping sauce.
The plastic display outside the entrance to the restaurant takes the fake-food-as-art to a whole new level.
That long clump in the lower right-hand corner represents one of the side dishes we ordered: raw chopped meat mixed with bits of veg and spices, a sort of mini (raw) meatloaf. You drop spoonfuls of the stuff into the broth to cook.
Here's what the collagen looks like when it is first added to the pot:
Four of my lunch buddies (right outside the entrance to the building):