Thursday, November 28, 2013

Apple cider

   Today was Thanksgiving. For school lunch, they served an omelette, corn soup, and cucumber salad, and I shed a single tear.

   Japan has apple orchards, but they don't have apple cider. I don't know what they think they're doing with all those delicious apples.

   Chestnuts seem to be the token Autumn food here. Back in October, everyone was eating "kurikinto," which is chestnut paste shaped into a candy. It has two ingredients: chestnuts and sugar, but it's not very sweet. That fad has passed, but you can still buy baked or candied chestnuts and chestnut lattes.

   I drove past an apple orchard last weekend. I had to drive over an hour, into a more mountainous region of Japan, and then wind my way up a tiny one lane road that cut through a forest that looked like something out of Princess Mononoke. When I got to the top, the apple orchard was already picked clean, so I drove on and found a petting farm with goats, sheep, ponies, rabbits, and lots of little kids. The kids weren't for petting though, they were just visiting. 

   Way back in April or May, there were a few clear days when I caught a glimpse of some snow capped mountains off on in the distance. I don't know why Japan is so hazy, but most of the time, even when it's sunny, everything gets pale and fuzzy on the horizon. This trip, I finally got a better look: a whole range of snow capped mountains.

     Lately I've been missing home a lot, but this drive was a good reminder of why I'm living in Japan. I thought I came here for the language and the culture, but the thing I've enjoyed most is the land.


1 comment:

  1. After doing some fact checking, I realized that Kurikinto is actually Walnut paste, not Chestnut paste. This explains why it's so bitter.

    It's confusing, because the Japanese word for Chestnut definitely has "kuri" in it somewhere... But usually they call it "maron," from the French word.