Persimmons hang like jewels on leafless branches of the tree, like ornaments. Harvested and strung up in front of Japanese country houses like coral necklaces, this colorful display announces the end of fall and beginning of winter. Time to go in ~and digest~ and dream the year to come. They say if you can dream it, you can make it happen.

I’ve been thinking a lot about beauty lately. How if we look for it, we’ll see it. There’s a feeling of acceptance that comes from the perfection of nature and how it maintains its beauty even as it changes. The Japanese call this wabi-sabi, the simple, slow aesthetic that reveres authenticity above all.

We walked from Magome to Tsumago on the Nakasendō Trail, in perfect Basho poetic atmosphere. The bright orange and red maples peaking through the tall pines gave depth and color to the green and brown forest.

Persimmon trees were prevalent, becoming stunning tree sculptures. Leafless branches still held the bright vermilion orange fruit tight, reaching into the deep blue sky. The fruit became offerings on a shrine, as well as hung spaciously, one right after the other on ribbons to dry.

Farmers harvested in baskets and one house we passed had the husband in the tree throwing the fruit down to his wife playing catch. I caught the shot after many tries. The light on her face in the late afternoon sunlight was a glimpse into the life of a countrywoman’s joy, even though it was work.

There is everything right about harvesting what you have grown and dream about what you will cook and draw from your cellar the whole winter long.

It was the first trip I have taken for myself in a long time. For someone who travels for a living taking people to see and taste and meet all the people I love, I focused this time on taking pictures, going at my own pace, which is really slow… and allowing myself to take it all in… and be inspired. And I came back full of inspiration.

Trips take a long time to fulfill. Each of our Culinary Adventures needs the craftsmanship of an artisan. Every detail is so important and it has to flow from one experience to the next. I am working on a Japan trip, one brushstroke at a time. Stay tuned. The food is close to my heart.

I hope this Persimmon Pecan Cake recipe brings the walk alive for you.

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