Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pear Picking

It was a public holiday in Japan yesterday, as it was the 体育の日 or Health and Sports Day to commemorate the opening of the 1964 Tokyo summer Olympics, and also to promote sports and a healthy lifestyle among the people here. That gave us the opportunity for another trip to be organised for the international students in my college on the day. Just like the previous year, we went for nashigari, or literally, "pear hunt". This was my second time joining the trip and we went to the exact place like last year. The numbers of international students who joined in this time were comparatively lesser because some of them just came back from a football tournament in Gifu in the wee hours of the morning and were too tired to join us.
The farm is located in Kamo city, about forty-minute drive from Nagaoka.
The pear farm.
The weather was just perfect for an outdoor outing, because the sky was blue and the sun was shining brightly in a chilling morning, despite early worries that it might rain on that day.
This farm is owned by one of the former classmates of the office lady in our office, Mrs Tada. He is nice enough to allow such a huge group of us, comprising more ten of us to go to his farm and pluck and eat as many pears as we wanted, free-of-charge. After a simple greeting from him,upon reaching his house, we walked to the pear farm which is just nearby. The girls meanwhile, went there by a truck.
Looks like they are the illegal Bangla settlers who will be sent for sale.

There are a few types of pears planted in this farm but the main ones would be the nashi pear (Pyrus pyrifolia) and La France, which is the soft green type. However, we only got to try the nashi pear, and not the green one because it is relatively expensive. One La France pear could fetch up as much as 300 yen (RM 10) in Japan.
The trees are planted in rows and the branches are widely spread using thick wires so that it will be easier when they harvest the pears. Steel poles and bamboos are used to support the weight of the trees so that the branches would not come falling down. For someone who is as tall as me, it is indeed not the place that I would want to be because I had to bend down all the time to avoid hitting the pears hanging from the trees. The pears are carefully wrapped with two layers of newspaper to protect the fruit from being attacked by pesticides, and also to allow the fruit achieve optimum growth.
One of the nashi pear's tree, with supportive bamboo.
A closer look at the pear.

Upon reaching the spot, we started hunting for our pears. The guy didn't explain much already this time, he just show the way to pluck the pears to the juniors who was there for the first time. To pluck a pear, it is very simple; just move it upwards and the twig will break instantly. As for selecting pears which are sweet and juicy, the trick is to choose the huge ones, which has smooth skin and white spots on it. The bigger the pear is, the juicier it will be.
However, the ones with reddish skins are said to be sour and we were advised to avoid those kind.
The owner showing the students how to pluck a pear.
Mrs Tada distributing the knifes for peeling the skin of the pears, that made Azie looked so shocked.

After the explanations were done, we began to look for our pears.
From left: Mrs Tada, Sato sensei, Mr Iseki, the owner of the pear farm and Yamaguchi sensei.
Everyone were busy indulging on their freshly plucked pears, that they didn't even bother to look at the camera.
Being under the shade of the trees, that doesn't mean we couldn't camwhore there.
With Mrs Tada and Joann.
Ridzuan was peeling his pear, while Ulya was waiting to feast on her pear.
Yan Kuang sneaked out from the hospital to join us as well.
As I have mentioned earlier, there is another type of pear which is also planted here. It offers something different, in terms of taste and texture. It is still sweet, but the flesh is not as crispy and juicy as nashi pear. Yet, I still love this type of pear, in which they call it La France.
Another type of pear found in that farm.
As we were not allowed to pluck these type from the tree, we looked for the ones which have fallen down on the ground and picked them up on our way back. In fact, those which have fallen down are actually much sweeter because they were ripe enough already. Although most of them were slightly spoilt on the bottom part, but they still taste great. Sweet and yummy.
Aki, Ikram (from Tsuruoka Kosen) and Ridzuan with their pears.
See how messy I bite on the pear.
Halfway through our walk, we saw a dump-site which has enough supply of pears that could last us for a year.
The place was smelly because the pears were spoiled already.
At another point, there was a electronic board to indicate the amount of sound and oscillation from the road construction that was going on at that area. However, three of us decided to play some mischief. They walked towards that board and shouted like crazy people, that the sensei in front was wondering what happened to them.
This is the normal range. When they shouted, it raised until almost 90 dB.
After we had reached the owner's house, we bought a couple of boxes back for those who didn't go with us. Too bad that this time, we were not allowed to pluck and bring back the pears already, unlike last year when we took almost two hundred pears back. My senior came out with a hypothesis, that the owner might have not covered his losses from our visit last year yet, hence he couldn't afford to let us do the same thing again this time.
The son was processing the pears before they are put into the boxes.
Pears which had chicken pox. No way that they are selling these.

One pear could weight more than one kilogram.
Before we leave the place, we had one group shot together.
It was indeed an enjoyable trip.


Endoru said...

The pears looked juicy and nice. I guess it is just the right season for pears. Anyway, what happened to Yan Kuang junior's leg ?

Kae Vin said...

I know u broke ur fren's leg to grab the pear from him.

So mean.

By the way, how much is the pear costing u?

Cieri said...

what`s wrong with LYK?

Tau Sar Phneah said...

thanks for showing and sharing with us how pear grown on the trees..(real ones)..as never seen pear trees... :) :)

calvin said...

@ endoru:
not only the pears were juicy and nice, they were super sweet too :)

yan kuang? he was practising his role as a handicapped guy in the upcoming sketch during the college festival. well, that was what he told our japanese lecturer when was asked about his leg xD

calvin said...

@ specialhuman:
does my face tell you that i'm that mean? the real truth is, i'm much worse than that =P

one box of pears, containing six to eight pears depending on their sizes is priced at 1,500 yen (RM 50). but the owner sold us at a discounted price of 1,300 yen (RM 43) per box.

calvin said...

@ cieri:
nothing wrong with his leg. he said he just wanted to try a new fashion for his leg xD

calvin said...

@ tau sar phneah:
no worries. before this, i didn't know how does a pear tree look like too. i only know how to eat them back then =P

but is there a such thing as fake pears grown on trees?

K3ViN said...

wah sooo nice 2 c it with my own eye hw pear grow.... Look very yummy nia... can i have one? haha

calvin said...

@ k3vin:
yes, the pears were really delicious. go get one in the pasar malam xD

Anonymous said...

apa hal dengan yan kuang? gaduh dengan perempuan tapi kalah?

calvin said...

@ baocong:
no lar, he fought with the basketball and let the ball rolled over him =P