Monday, 29 November 2010

Arakura Persimmon (Translation of the Post on 27th Nov)


In Arakura shrine in Sengen Park, the cherry trees can be viewed in full bloom in early spring (early April).
If you go up the long long stairs beside the shrine, Chureitou, a monument to the dead who died in the war after the Russo-Japanese war (1904-05), soon comes into your sight.
It is familiar with Fujifabric fans as it is sung in 'Ukigumo' (Floating Cloud).
The monument is situated in Arakura district in Fujiyoshida City in Yamanashi Prefecture, where Mt. Fuji can be viewed so beautifully.

A local speciality of Arakura district is a small-sized astringent persimmon called Arakura Kaki.
(Due to the cold climate in Fujiyoshida, it is said that sweet persimmon trees cannot grow up in this area.)
When dried in the sun, an astringent taste of Arakura persimmon turns to be so sweet, and they used to be very popular as a souvenir before.  The scenery of dried persimmons hanging down tied on strings under the roof in each home was an icon of a winter season in Arakura, but these days, they are not produced much any more because a society is composed largely elderly people there.
There are not enough people either who can climb up a tree, or who are skilful at making dried persimmons.  They get naturally dried on a tree if not being picked, and many animals, like a monkey and a bear, come down to the town from a mountain.  It could be dangerous for residents, so many persimmon trees have been cut down nowadays.
A dried persimmon is also called Korogaki in Yamanashi Prefecture.

According to legend, around 1500A.C, Takeda Shingen, who is a preeminent daimyo gave an order to transplant good persimmon trees in and supported making dried persimmons.  In Edo Period (1603-1868A.D), it was counted as one of the eight unusual fruits same as grapes and peaches, and were presented as an offering to Tokugawa Bakufu.

Members of Arakura Dried Persimmons Association organize activities to keep this local speciality for next generation.  Tsuru University students cooperate to pick up persimmons in the house with a resident's permission to make Arakura Dried Persimmons.
There are sold in a disabled people home in Fujiyoshida City.

Please let me introduce a Haiku Poem by Takahama Kyoshi.
'A man comes eating a persimmon in Persimmon Village"

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