Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours! As a token of my regard, here's a little wagashi bouquet made from homemade shiro-an and beet-stained nerikiri. I pressed each ball into a mold carved to look like a peony bud on the cusp of blooming, and dotted the buds with with kanten dewdrops.
And the black sesame seeds? While I was looking up pictures for the mold, I was surprised to see many peony buds crawling with ants--the suggestion of which makes my skin crawl in sympathy. Digging a little further I learned of an "old gardeners' tale" that says the ants actually encourage the buds to open.
I decided to throw in a few ersatz ants because I can't think of any better Valentine's wish than this: whatever temporary discomforts you may be experiencing, I hope that they will help you, in the end, to bloom bigger and brighter than ever!