Fall in the Inaka

Fall has come to the mountains, and we’ve been swept up in beautiful color and an astonishing amount of agriculture. Daikon, sweet potatoes, kaki (Japanese persimmon), and chestnuts are the foods of the season. Of course when you live in a town that’s main export is vegetables, you don’t really buy your veg at the supermarket. Most of my veggies nowadays either come from 1. my coworkers leaving some on my desk like some kind of magical produce fairy or 2. the variety of small farm stands and co-ops that dot the nearby roads and neighborhoods.

For example, this daikon stand outside someone’s house in my neighborhood. The sign says 3 for 100 yen, and the daikon were about as long as my forearm and thicker than my wrist. For reference, one daikon of about the same size at the store is usually around 158 yen. Payment is done on the honor system, with just a little box for your hundred yen coins. Although an old man did squinted suspiciously at the random white lady rummaging around the daikons, I did pay my full 100 yen. Promise.

Kaki are a big thing in this area. It’s really funny to see the trees with their leaves all fallen off, but these big, bright orange fruit handing on them. Some will be eaten fresh, but most will be peeled and hung off laundry poles or porches with wooden skewers and twine. They dry out until they look like terrifying dark brown shrunken heads, then I’m told that they’re very sweet and can be eaten around Christmas. I’m sure some auntie in the neighborhood will give me some. The picture below is of the local train station, with the tin roof covered in drying kaki. The other picture is of my guinea pig, Kaki, eating a kaki. Kakiception.

Japan also LOVES seasonal flavors and products. So of course I had to indulge in these delicious fall flavored Kit-kats. There’s a flan one, and a Japanese chestnut flavored one.

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The Halloween one is flan, the front one is chestnut

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of all the awesome sweet potato flavored snacks I’ve been chowing down on. I love me some Japanese sweet potato.

Of course, no report on fall in Japan would be complete without some momiji viewing. Momiji, or Japanese Maple, is the prettiest fall tree ever. It just is. It has incredibly brilliant colors that make you just want to stare at it and contemplate the futility of our passing existences. Ahem. I mean, they’re gorgeous.

Happy fall, from the Japanese mountain inaka to you! And to the Americans out there, Happy Thanksgiving!

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