Dinner and breakfast are often included in a stay at a ryokan (旅館) or Japanese style inn. At one I stayed in Kujyu, Oita Prefecture (久住大分県), near Mt. Aso (阿蘇山), traditional roof tiles known as kawara (瓦) are the inspiration for the pictured barbeque grill. In this case, the metal roof tile, which seems to be casted from aluminum, is purpose made for the barbeque as the underside has downstands so it can sit securely on the gel flame stove. It leads me to wonder if real traditional roof tiles were used in this manner for some kind of traditional cuisine. I could not find any information on whether traditional Japanese roof tiles were used for cooking but apparently they are used for serving soba. The dish is called kawarasoba (瓦そば), literally roof tile soba. Kawara are glazed making them very similar to ceramic tableware. I wonder if the inventor ran out of plates one day and decided to use a box of spare roof tiles that were out back. I’ve read that this originate from Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi-ken (下関山口県), which actually puts it not too far from Kujyu.
So for anyone looking for a unique party idea, get a box of traditional glazed Japanese roof tiles and use them to serve food to your guests.