British Winter Solstice tradition: pop over to Stonehenge (round about now) to watch the sun rise over the heel stone. Except that it's drizzling there at the moment...
Japanese Winter Solstice tradition: take a hot bath with a few dozen aromatic yuzu and some friends.
Which to do, which to do?
Stonehenge is only an hour away by car, but I feel strangely drawn to the yuzu option. Except that I can't buy yuzu in this country! Would satsumas do at a pinch?
(In Satsuma, by the way, they don't call satsumas satsumas, they call them mikan. My friend Chiho was surprised to hear that the region had somehow become the name of a fruit in English. I, conversely, had to stop myself from laughing every time she mentioned "the Satsuma wars" or "the lords of Satsuma".)
I was so enamoured of yuzu when in Japan that, wandering around the streets of Kyoto (as I think I mentioned here at the time) I made a little rhyme to express my love, in the style of Cole Porter:
There's a fruit called the yuzu I eat all the time;
It's bitter, but better than lemon or lime.
If you too like yuzu, feel free to share mine!
Won't you do the yuzu with me?
Now it occurs to me that, many years before, I had also improvised a paean to the humble satsuma - to be sung to the tune of "We'll have a Dalmatian plantation":
I am a satsuma consumer,
Consuming satsumas all day -
It's not just a rumour,
Has chased my blues away.
But - oh no! I don't have any satsumas either!
Oh well, Radox it will have to be... And happy sun-returning.
- Solstice Orange