As a child, I learned the song Winter's Fall. It was a sad, mystical, and brooding song. The lyrics are:
Grey are the clouds, gone are the leaves
Cold winter shrouds, the North Wind weaves
Snow on the rise, ice on the lake
Dark stormy skies, the walls do shake
King, queen, or knave - lady or knight
Passed 'round the brave, bright candlelight
Sharing the flame, warming us all,
Come join the game of Winter's Fall
This is the season now. The end of deep autumn and true winter at last. Winter, of course, is a time for merriment, celebrations, and that insatiable blur that takes hold and won't let go until the New Years. But, perhaps, just once it might be nice to experience a slower December. One where one can enjoy the stark newness to the woods, the watery light, and the deep chill and dark, long evenings. The December of yesterday, perhaps?
This meal was born out of two traditions - Christmas and Japanese New Year. Christmas with its spiritual background canvased against the anticipation and celebration. Japan, with its quiet solemnity and industrious business as we wrap up the new year. This meal - using a mix of traditional Japanese New Year's food allows one to pause over a good meal, savoring the treasures of yearend.