Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Minori Kaboku Center

Japan is now in the middle of the fall, and it is time when we can see some trees bearing fruits and plants blooming. I'm not familiar with plants in Japan, but one of my friends likes them so much that we came to this center last weekend called "Minori Kaboku center". "Kaboku" means "flowers and trees".

Minori is the name of the place this center is situated in, and it is about 1 hour's drive to north from where I live. This center is a place where you can buy many kinds of plants, so anybody can come in for free.

In the fall we often have sweet potatoes. We don't have if for a meal, but as a snack. And when it's winter in Japan, a track loaded with a potato-baking machine goes about in towns to sell baked sweet potatoes that are called "Yakiimo" in Japanese.

Let me introduce three plants that I found interesting. This is a kind of orange called "Dekopon". It is as big as an orange, but not as sweet. 

You might not recognize the size of this plant, but it is about 30cm high. This is a kind of a pine tree "Black Pine Tree". I think this would look Japanese to you, wouldn't it? 

This one called "Hoozuki" can be also seen in the USA and the Southeast Asia, but we Japanese put it on the shelf to guide the spirits of the dead as it seems like a "Chouchin", which is a kind of lantern. Here's a link to a pic of Chouchin.

And I saw very old-fashioned caramel candies as these. The three packages on the upper shelf could be seen in the early Showa period (1926-1989), so those who're in their 60s would be amused to see these. From left to right: Black Sugar Caramel,  Milk Caramel, and Azuki Caramel. As I told you before, Azuki is "red bean paste".

Puppy dolls on sale. This is a kind of dog called "Shiba" , and is the most commonly seen dog in Japan, and it is owned by a baseball player "Ichiro", who belongs to the Mariners of the USA. The paper says, "A naughty Shiba sold for 2,940 yen". 

It was forecast in the summer that this fall was going to be relatively warmer than usual, but it's been a bit too cool because of rainy days....