Mikan Hunting!

Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 | 0 comments

    I went mikan picking on October 30th but never got around to blogging about it due to various factors such as a traumatized cat, working extra hours the past couple of weeks, and trying to finish making our wedding album (yes, you heard right and yes again, our wedding ceremony was indeed almost 2 years ago). What can I say, I love taking pictures but am not so great about printing them! Anyway, I did write everything about the mikan picking out on that day, but I didn't get the chance to upload any photos. Here it is finally, in its entirety:

Today I went mikan (mandarin orange) picking and had lunch with a former student and another friend. This was, amazingly, the first time I'd gone mandarin orange picking here (literally called 'mikan hunting', for reasons unbeknownst to me). I say 'amazingly', since Shizuoka is famous throughout Japan for mikan, among other items, such as green tea. But I usually just buy mandarin oranges from neighborhood stands, since lots of people have trees around their houses and have way too many oranges to eat by themselves.

...After filling a bag with at least 30 or 40 mandarin oranges (which are going to occupy way too much space in the fridge for weeks to come), we had what was supposed to be a picnic lunch but instead ended up being lunch inside an open-air building overlooking the orange groves and some local vegetable gardens. My former student's cousin owns the orange groves and the building, but I guess that my student had never seen the area, since she'd assumed that we'd be eating outside in the groves themselves. Whatever the case, a table was fine by me, especially since the building also housed a bathroom, and I had been dreading the idea of peeing in a rather exposed orange grove!

Lunch was 'chirashi-zushi' along with potato salad, some fried chicken pieces, and fresh persimmons. 'Chirashi' means 'spread-around' and 'sushi' changes to 'zushi' for this particular word combination. Basically, it's sushi rice covered with various toppings that are spread evenly over it. For this lunch, it was Unagi chirashi-zushi, and it was wonderful! ('Unagi' is 'eel'). For those of you gagging at the idea of eating eel, all I can say is that you'd most likely love it if you ever tasted it without knowing what it was.

The potato salad was...well, potato salad. Pretty good, but I'm not a big fan of potato salad. It seems like a lot of Japanese people like it way than a lot of Americans I know. Same goes for the fried chicken...again, just not a big fan. Especially when the skin is left on it, ew. Not to say that it doesn't have a good flavor, but the texture isn't my deal, and all my brain can do when it's in my mouth is scream 'Ahhh BAD CHOLESTEROL!!!!!' so it kind of ruins the moment. Yeah, I know, I'm picky. The persimmons were great though; I'd never eaten one until I got here, and then I fell in love with them!
I'm not sure if my friends were trying to make me feel at home with the American-style food or if they really like that stuff, but it was nice of them to make everything in any case. (I slacked off and just bought some chocolates for dessert, lazy me).

Coming back to the present...another Wasabi update! She's doing much better---nipping, running circles around the room like a rabid dog, sucking on her 'thumb', nipping, eating, eating, eating, howling, and more nipping. So, back to her usual self. Thanks everyone for all the thoughts and prayers! Yuki and I are both really relieved that our 'baby' is finally feeling ok!