Hiroshima #1: Oysters (牡蠣)

I have a confession: I don’t like oysters. I want to like them… I’ve tried to like them…but I just can’t seem to convince myself that they’re good no matter how I try them. I’ve had them raw, both plain and the New Orleans Acme Oyster style with tabasco; I’ve had them fried, baked, cooked… yeah, it’s not going to happen.

My parents happen to love oysters, however, so I still had plenty of chances to photograph them when I visited Hiroshima with them last year. Of course, this card is retired, so I wasn’t able to buy it directly from the post office… I found it on Yahoo Auctions instead, but didn’t have the postcard to take pictures with the oysters themselves.

An oyster restaurant with oysters actually growing before our eyes!

Fried oysters from the above restaurant

My parents’ grilled oysters from dinner. They reported deliciousness.

Actually, this past October on my tour, I had the chance to explore oysters in Kesennuma, Miyagi Prefecture. These oysters from Miyagi are often sent to prefectures like Hiroshima to seed their oyster industry, which made the 2011 earthquake and tsunami all the more devastating, as it didn’t just affect the Tohoku oyster industry, but that of all over Japan. You can read more about that here.

Wakayama #3 – Persimmon (柿)

I feel like every post I apologize for taking a long time to post, and if I do it for every post, then it doesn’t mean anything, so I’m not going to apologize this time.

Instead, I’m going to tell you that fall is in full swing here in Japan, with the days growing cooler, the nights downright cold, and fall colors creeping their way across the country. One of the ubiquitous fall fruits is the subject of today’s post… everybody’s favorite persimmon!

We call these “kaki” in Japanese. Apparently Wakayama Prefecture is famous for these yummy little fruits, but that’s kinda like being famous for air… these guys are ALL OVER the country. I must pass 20 heavily-laden trees on my way to my local train station, and often have to dodge fruit splatter from unpicked fallen ones. Everybody’s got a tree.

So you can buy them in the supermarket, but I doubt many people do; instead, they get them from their own tree, or their neighbors. I went to a hamburger restaurant today, and they were giving them away by the door for free!

Wasn’t kidding.

My neighbor’s tree

My husband picked this one (with their permission of course!)

You can pick kaki all over Japan, but since I’m supposed to be focusing on Wakayama (sorry Wakayama!) you can pick persimmon from September until about December in Katsuragi (link) for instance.

Enjoy a persimmon for a nice taste of fall, and I will do a better post for poor Wakayama at another time!

2015.01.20: I found a great video on the history of the persimmon tree in Japan by NHK here. It’s a bit long, but has lots of interesting information. It also mentions one of Nara’s postcards as well.