Last weekend I hopped the train to Yokohama—about an hour out of Tokyo—to join friends for the Christmas Market in a former warehouse district now converted to event and boutique space. On Christmas Eve Sunday I’d been invited back for Christmas lunch Japanese style in their home.
That featured a selection of fish pates on crackers, scrumptious pumpkin salad (because I’m allergic to potato), green salad with prosciutto and balsamic vinegar, fresh bread (home baked by M the man of the house), a teriyaki roasted chicken and a chocolate cake log. In addition, K prepared home made black sesame seed ice cream simply because it’s my favourite. (How sweet is that?) I brought the bubbly.
Of course, I forgot to photograph anything as we were busy having a good time not clutching our phones. I remembered just before we cut into the cake.
As is typical when friends gather to eat, I got back to Tokyo in the early evening too full to look at food. However, when there’s a ½ bottle of Veuve Clicquot in the house for the occasion there’s nothing to do for it but indulge.
In case I got hungry (I did) I put out the Japanese oranges—not wrapped for shipping in bright cardboard boxes—but in piled in plastic bags with twist ties at the local grocery store. Then I put out a bit of sliced beef, vegetables, pumpernickel bread, and cheese.
The Sweet Thea’s Christmas cake (made in Langley, BC) traveled with me from Canada as I wasn’t going to go a year without a proper fruit cake. To make it look more festive I added a couple of sugar cookie Christmas trees bought in a local bakery to the plate.
As it was the Fourth Advent Sunday I put on the carols, darkened the room and lit the candles. After a bit I turned on the YouTube fireplace and the tree lights. I poured a glass and marveled at the stillness and beauty that a slight of hand with tinsel, music and light can create out of the darkness as Christmas enveloped the room.
Here in Tokyo I thought about Christmases past. The little church in Black Creek where after a Christmas Eve of gloriously singing our merry-bright childhood hearts out, at the end of the program we received, in a paper bag of nuts and candy, a Japanese orange. How far apart those worlds seem and how close.