There is perhaps nothing more simple and divine at the Japanese table than a pristine bowl of snow white shinmai, new rice, to close an autumn meal. Like the wafer at mass, newly harvested rice speaks to the Japanese soul of the divine, of things both eternal and ephemeral.
Drawing back a clump of desiccated fronds, I find an emerald trumpet of delicate leaves cradling a cluster of quilted button like buds. I raise the dirty, wet stem to my nose and drink in the earthy, pungent aroma of spring breaking from winter. This is fukinoto.
The almanac tells us that it is the season of first winter. Far north in Hokkaido where the seasonal divisions are more pronounced like in New England, first flurries must be falling fast. But here the songbirds still chirp on days warm enough to dry our laundry outside. But signs of winter are creeping in. […]
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