Saturday, October 27, 2007

Pear Hunt

OCTOBER 14, 2007
A fortnight ago, the foreign students in my kosen were treated to another trip. It has been some while since our last outing, which was the Nagaoka Fireworks Festival in August. This time, it was the 梨狩り (Nashi Gari) or literally pear hunt. The farm was in a small town called 加茂 (Kamo), about one hour drive from our place. Yes, the sensei drove all of us there. How cool is that!
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Upon reaching the farm, we were introduced to the owner and had some short introduction by him. Besides just pears, there were some other fruit trees there like apples, oranges and persimmons. No papaya or banana though. Finally, it was the time for some pear hunt.
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The pears were planted systematically in rows. The branches are widely spread across and tied to the supporting poles for each tree.
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The species of the pear in the farm is the Nashi pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) which has brownish skin. They have a high water content and a crisp, grainy texture, very different from the buttery European varieties. Also, Nashi pears are not as intensely sweet, having a more refreshing, light taste.
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When we got there, that guy gave us a brief explanation on how to pick a nice pear and the right way of plucking it to avoid from damaging the tree. Try looking for pears which has smooth skin texture was what he told us.

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Obviously, all there were just waiting for his cue to start out pear feast. All got busy straight away as soon as he said "Okay, you can go ahead and start plucking". So, I started looking for my pear.
If summer is the season for strawberries and grapes, come autumn, it will be pear season. In this farm, every single pear is wrapped with two layers of paper - one red and newspaper as the outer layer; to avoid it being over-exposed to sunlight as well as to protect it from pest.

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The first bite I got on the pear I plucked myself was just juicy and pure sweet. The water content in the pear was high and at the end of the day, I just managed to finish two pears although we were told that we can have as many pears as we could.
You just couldn't stop yourself from camwhoring, even if you are in a pear farm.
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It was not just me. The rest did the same thing as well.
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from left: Joann, Fadzli Shah and me
Of all the time, Yan Kuang only wanted to have a photo taken after he had finished his pear. Me, without any pear with me at that time, turned around and simply plucked one to balance up things.
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with Yan Kuang with my 'pang-sai' position
And finally, a group photo in the pear farm with the rest.
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We gone international as well. Malaysia, Mongolia and Bangladesh.
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from left: Fong Zyin, Yan Kuang, Hasan, Calvin and Sodo (wondering what Joann is doing behind us)
The person behind this annual trip trip was the always smiling Tada-san. She is like the person who take care the welfare of the students in the hostel, particularly the foreign students here. The reason we got to have a eat-all-you-can pear time there was also because she knows the owner of that farm.

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smile, Tada-san =D
One thing new that I learned from the trip was the way the Japanese peel fruits skin. Normally, we will move our knife away from us when we peel the skin of fruits, but the Japanese do it the opposite way. In fact, Tada-san spent most of the time peeling the pears for us and she did it without breaking the long skin. Here is a video to make it clear what am I trying to explain.
By the way, that was my voice in the video.
If you noticed all of the photos above, I was either squatting down or had to bend down a little bit. The reason is the height of the pear canopy is only like 1.6m tall. Yes, it was kinda suffering to be bending all the time there.
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But it was fun. Before we were leave, we got to know something unexpectedly. That guy took us to one area and told us that we could pluck all the pears within that area and take them back. Although those pears did not look as good as the earlier ones, but it was still in good condition. Here is a portion of our harvest.
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We spent almost one hour at the farm and it was the time to return, after a satisfying time at the pear farm.
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this just reminds me of Bollywood - is it because of the way they walked?
The were five racks of pears in total for us to take home.
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Before we leave, a group photo with of us who went there, together with the owner of the farm as well. The next outing will be experiencing the Japanese culture, which happens to be today.
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Here is the final shot of the day on a plastic toy tractor. It should be just another candid shot. But later, came some naughty 'creative' thinking from the guys and we laughed like mad each time another guy got it. I guess only those who were there will get what it means. I will give you a hint here: note the red thing.
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Now, got what it means?

12 comments:

amalina said...

i tot haru=ichigo,natsu=budou,aki=kaki,n fuyu=mikan.....

calvin said...

@ amalina:
autumn is not just the season for persimmon, but for pears as well.

Reena said...

i cracked up at the 'pang sai position' caption lol. good one.

michelleg said...

awww.. poor thing. 1.6m only. =)

Zhen said...

awww omg! the fruit looked so sweet!

calvin said...

@ reena:
lesson learnt. i will never pose like that again =P

calvin said...

@ michelleg:
actually it makes sense. how are they going to reach the pears if they make it more than 2 metres tall, right?

calvin said...

@ zhen:
they don't just look sweet, but they taste sweet as well ^.^

jo said...

lol..joann is trying to ruin your picture!!!and she succeeded!!

calvin said...

@ jo:
got pay your pants?
got day, can revenge!
payback time in the next trip =P

Nyblaque said...

I found your blog in a Google search on the Nashi Pear. I couldnt stop drooling. Your pictures are GORGEOUS!! I learned so much more from your blog about this amazing fruit!

Eating this fruit has helped me curb my urge for processed sweets(bad sugar) for months. I can't stop talking about it. I eat one of these and I dont want anything sweet for dayS!!!

calvin said...

@ nyblaque:
hi there! i'm glad that what's written here has been useful for you. thanks for your kind comments :)

yup, i love nashi pears a lot too. the juicyness and sweetness just make me cannot resist for more of it every time i eat them!