Thursday, July 22, 2010

THE TOP FIVE: #3 Mikans

I like fruit. Bananas are solid. Grapes are tasty. Apples have their moments. I never really cared for oranges. Perhaps they were just too much work. Too messy. Whatever the reason, I didn't often bother with them. That changed rather quickly in Japan. Mikans (Japanese oranges) happen to be among the numerous agricultural specialties of Shizuoka, my prefecture. At farms, in yards, and all over the city, trees were full of these little orange balls. They were so readily available that I began packing them in all my lunches. Then teachers, wanting to share their regional heritage, would share even more of the things with me. There was no getting enough. I loved them. And golly were they easy eating! They would get to the point where the orange outer layer was no longer skin, but a loose pouch holding the firm and juicy fruit inside. I have never held a fruit so ready to bust out of its casing. Of course this is all past tense. Mikan season is over, and not soon enough to occur for me. I am glad that the grocer isn't pushing some imported crap upon me, but sad that I had to say goodbye to mikans many months ago.

For me, a mikan is the flavor of Japan.

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