These cold bitter crisp days, lend themselves to being indoors, legs plummeted in the kotatsu, thermal, knit ware, scarf clad. Days of learning, hours of making. Friends full of generosity arrive and share their sushi and tempura skills, gathered from their foremothers, to be relished by generations of aspirating mothers.
The hospitality of a Japanese sake brewer is like no other. Surprises sit opposite and see into souls through the bottom of empty o-sake glasses. They shine light onto loneliness and honeyed voices soothe the losses so obvious to no one but you. Massaging rice at dawn, the warmth of sticky steamed nourishment shoots tingles to the heart. We sweat in the heat of fermentation, are chilled on the factory floor, sheltering from the rain. We stand rooted, awe-struck by the septuagenarian superman who climbs into the steamer in his shorts, shovelling the warmed rice into sunshine buckets.
In the bleak mid-winter, it's a selfish kind of love. These are heart swollen days, where the love inside cannot easily be expressed to the ones that deserve to feel it most. It is too cold for much. To my valentine: no sushi, no sake, but a dense dark chocolate cake in the making, with a side of welsh tapestry covered hot water bottle to make up for lost heat in these February winds.