fruit

What fruit is in season in Japan’s winter? Fragrant yuzu.

yuzu_inseason_farmersmarket

日本の冬は、どんなフルーツがシーズンでしょう? 良い香りのユズです。レモネードやドレッシングやお風呂に使います。特別な味と香りがします。

There’s giant ones and small ones at this Aoyama UNU farmers market stall. It’s good for lemonade, salad dressing, and bath water.

Yes, you can spend more than US$ 200 for a watermelon in Tokyo

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外国人は、こんなに高いフルーツに驚きます。伊勢丹デパ地下で、21,000円のスイカが売っています。もちろん、珍しいひょうたんの形で、王様の椅子に座っています。

Foreigners who imagine Tokyo is expensive always mention over-the-top fruit. Even if it were in a gourd shape, as this one is, who in the US or Europe would spend over $200 for a watermelon? In Japan, few purchase these trophy fruit, but they are always available at places like Isetan’s food emporium.

Fruit tree and old home covered in thick snow

showa_home_snow_fruittree_window

柿の木と昭和時代風の窓は、大雪の下で魔法にかけられたように見えます。

The Showa-era home and its old persimmon tree I always pass on the pedestrian path look magical under thick snow.

Unharvested persimmons and big moon over Nakano

persimmon_moon_nakano

日没に、収穫されなかった柿と大きな月が、同じ木みたいです。

These persimmon fruits are well past ripe, and just clinging to the branches. At dusk, the moon seems to be the same size as the fruit.

Deep purple, decorative pepper offers flowers and fruits. Viewable from kitchen desk.

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ベランダの紫色の唐辛子には、フルーツも花もあります。台所の机から、見えます。

From my kitchen desk, I can see this lovely decorative pepper, that has purple fruits and flowers at the same time.

Pomegranate fruit getting ripe in small Aoyama shrine


青山の小さな神社に、ザクロ果実がだんだん熟してきています。

This tiny shrine in crowded Aoyama, next to the Comme des Garcons flagship store, is full of trees, including a mature pomegranate tree. I must remember to come back and try one of these fruits.

Summer makes me want to jump in cold river

蒸し暑い天気のときに一番涼しいところは、冷たい川の中です。@a_small_lab と @jessmantell と御嶽に行きました。東京にあんな自然がまだあります。実がついたバナナを見て、驚きました。

In summer’s heat and humidity, the best place to be is in a cold river. Recently I met up with @a_small_lab and @jessmantell at the Tama river up in the foothills of western Tokyo. At Mitake, you can feel that you are in the mountains while being still in the city. It’s about an hour and a half by train from central Tokyo, and the water is cold!

I was very surprised to see bananas growing by the river. The fruit is now forming.

Iconic New York City human landscapes

ニューヨークの人類風景は珍しくて古いです。いつもうるさくて攻撃的なのに、さまざまな人たちがいて、それぞれのスタイルがあります。86番ストリートとレキシントン通りの地下鉄のホームと歩道の果物売りです。

I took both of these photos on 86th Street near Lexington. This sidewalk fruit stand, an elderly customer and her home health aide, seems very iconic of New York City in the summer.

Below on the subway platform, I like how well put together the ladies in early summer, before the heat and humidity take their toll. The contrast between their careful appearances and the decades of subway grime is also very New York City.

Yamamomo tree near Tokyo Metropolitan Government building

ヤマモモというフルーツの味はどんなでしょうか。このきれいな実のなる木はよく公園と道路で育っています。

Commonly called Japanese bayberry, this fruit tree near Tokyo Metropolitan Government was full of yamamomo fruits. This tree is apparently often planted along roads and in parks. I love how the fruit is at once edible and very ornamental.

Kiwi leaves spreading out on last year’s vine

キウイの葉はきれいな形です。春に、若葉がとても新鮮に見えます。キウイのフルーツのように、男性と女性の木がいるでしょうか。うちのベランダには一つだけしかないですが、たぶんどこか隣に違う性のキウイがあればいいです。

I love the shape of this kiwi vine’s leaves. They look so fresh and new. I am not sure if you need a male and female kiwi to produce fruit. I hope one of our neighbors has the right sexed kiwi to activate ours!

Blueberry flowers make me think of summer fruit on balcony

今、ブルーベーリが東京のベランダで咲いています。ブルーベーリは観賞植物でも食用でもあります。花は夏にできるフルーツを想像させます。

Blueberries are blooming on my Tokyo balcony garden. I love how this bush is both decorative and edible. But mostly these flowers make me think of summer fruit.

Still dormant persimmon bonsai on Tokyo balcony. Enjoying plants involves waiting.

今まで、この柿の盆栽は休眠中です。八年待たないと柿は実らないそうです。本当でしょうか。

My balcony garden is starting to perk up for spring, but this persimmon bonsai is still dormant. I remember the day I brought it back two years ago. My neighbor asked me what I have, and then gave me a sad look. “You know it takes eight years for persimmons to fruit, don’t you?” she asked me. I am more patient than I look.

Tokyo strawberries, with promise of fruit in all four seasons

ホームセンターで白花がいっぱい咲いているイチゴを買いました。「東京いちご」という名前は面白いです。4分の1の日本人は東京に住んでいるから、都市のために植物も野菜も開発して売り出すことは賢いと思います。このイチゴは四季に実をつけるそうです。ベランダのイチゴを食べたいです。

Recently I picked up strawberries from the home center, full of pretty white flowers. They were less than $2 each. I think it’s very interesting that they’re called “Tokyo strawberries.” In this urban country, it makes sense to develop and target plants, even vegetables, to city growers.

The label also boasts, “Pure Berry 2” with a registered trademark. But the biggest promise is strawberries in all four seasons. I am looking forward to my first balcony strawberry!

Quince buds on bare shrub with rotten fruit on ground

カリンのつぼみは真っ赤です。地面に腐った果物が見えます。外国では、カリンは普通、果物がなくて、装飾だけです。

I love the deep blood red of this quince bud. Quince is called カリン (karin) in Japanese. In the background, you can see two chartreuse fruit fallen on the ground. Tokyo quince is not just decorative.