Friday, December 26, 2008

Candle Night Update

Candle Night is an increasingly popular opportunity for people to get together, turn off the electrical appliances and see things in a different light -- candlelight. So I did that on the eve of the Winter Solstice, conveniently near Christmas that it could also be a chance to have stollen and cookies and party-like food and wine and give people little gifts, as well as an opportunity to have a break from hectic Tokyo life.
I got nice gifts too, and wine and big, sweet strawberries and most of a handmade gateau chocola dusted with powdered sugar and lit by little Santa and snowman candles. We agreed that a dozen people is pretty much the maximum number of people who can occupy the place at one time, especially during a feeding frenzy when everyone is holding a lighted candle. But a pleasant time was had by all. I recommend that.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Holiday Mood

Yes, it is gradually beginning to look a lot like Christmas. No snow in Tokyo, although it is snowing waay south of us in Fukuoka, for instance, and up north in the ski areas, which must make those folks happy.
At least I have the tree up, and some additional Christmas-ish decorations, and I threw a little party with the basic Thanksgiving menu:
Roast turkey and my secret oyster-liver stuffing
baked ham with honey-mustard glaze
mashed garlic potatoes
orange-cinnamon yams
almond green beans
deviled eggs, pickled beets
cranberry-walnut-orange Jell-O with mini marshmallows
raspberry-strawberry salad
pumpkin pie
graham cracker-custard pie with merengue
apple spice-walnut-date cake
egg nog ice cream (with rum instead of bourbon)
And the early arrival guests helped me bake the chocolate chip-pecan cookies.
If you are in the neighborhood, we will be observing Candle Night. It is supposed to be on Dec. 21 this time, to mark the winter solstice, but so many people have to work, including me, so it will be a day early to allow for rest time. Since Japan does not treat Christmas as a holiday (The nearest holiday is Dec. 23, the emperor's birthday), we have to make do with what we've got, right?