Postcard from Japan

Just back from almost 3 weeks in Japan, where it’s autumn. The Japanese, despite being a very urbanised culture, remain in tune with the seasons and have well-established traditions to mark the passing of time.

Photo: Sandra Simpson

One of the very visible seasonal fruits was the persimmon (Diospyros kaki) – still on trees or peeled and hanging to dry to make hoshigaki, a popular sweet. This website takes you through the steps of drying the persimmons and which fruit to choose. And this Martha Stewart video shows a couple of Japanese-American women explaining how to do it (4:24).

Hanging out to dry in Takayama. Photo: Sandra Simpson

In this June 2015 article about growing persimmons Kate Marshall of Waimea Nurseries says New Zealand annually produces about 15,000 tonnes of commercially grown persimmons (the NZ Persimmon Industry Council is a bit more cautious saying it’s “about” 12,800 tonnes). In 2011, according to Wikipedia, Japan produced 207,500 tonnes and South Korea 390,820.

Fresh for dessert after a wonderful multi-course meal in Kyoto – the flesh was jelly-like and delicious. Photo: Sandra Simpson

And the tree foliage colours really well in autumn, even in Tauranga’s warmer climate.

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