When I first arrived in Japan, I didn't like Japanese sweets much. Coming from a land of vanilla cupcakes, apple crisps and gooey brownies, the so-called "sweets" of Japan were not very appealing to me. Maybe too delicate, not sweet enough, not rich enough.
My taste has changed in the past few years, and I can now appreciate Japanese desserts, which are called wagashi. The traditional confectionaries are usually made from mochi (rice cake), red bean paste, and fruits. I remember taking a huge bite of what I thought was a chocolate-filled bread, only to find out it was red bean paste, to my dismay. Red bean paste (anko in Japanese) used to make me so sad.
A few days ago I went to a cafe that serves Japanese sweets. I ate a delicious bowl of fruits, red beans, a cubed jelly called kanten, sprinkled with dark honey. On the side, I ate a stick of grilled dango (mochi balls) covered in a sweet sauce. I drank a hot ginger apple tea, as it was such a chilly, rainy day.
It was very tasty and it felt quite light and almost healthy- as far as desserts go!