Crisp, clear winter blue sky. No snow, but a 30 percent chance for Christmas day. We spent the morning rearranging things, weeding our belongings, deleting the dross to accentuate the good, useful, and beautiful in our home. Carlos made me a desk, a useful and beautiful thing where I will reacquaint myself with my Japanese books after much neglect during this harried autumn. As the light turns into sunset gold, the mailman brings the January/February issue of Saveur, the Saveur 100 issue, in which Japanese culinary culture is represented by kombu, Kajitsu restaurant in NYC, Sushi Shin in Tokyo, Nehoni Nenox knives, and yuzu kosho (yuzu-flavored chili paste and salt). Almost lost among the junk mail and supermarket flyers is a handmade postcard with a bunny cartoon: a 年賀状 (nengajo, New Year’s card) from one of my old English students. Reminders of Japan always seem to find me…

My newest ochoko, a birthday gift from my father. I christened it quickly with a lovely junmai ginjo sake.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year of the Rabbit!