One of the most surprising things to me about living in Japan is how much seasonal foods & flowers impact daily life here. We’ve attended countless festivals celebrating the turn of the seasons, and one of my favorite apps is one called 72 Seasons, which outlines the changing of Japan’s seasons based on the ancient Japanese calendar of 72 weeks. It’s a culture that’s far more in tune with nature than I’m used to in America, and it’s something I hope stays with me, long after we’ve left Japan.
When we first moved here, it was strawberry season, and my son and his claw hand enjoyed a day picking all the strawberries we could eat.
By summer, blueberries were in season, and we picked all we could hold (and snuck a few into our bellies) on a hot, hot day and took them home to make cobbler, vanilla ice cream with blueberry swirl, muffins, and blueberry lemon bread.
Then fall rolled around, and it was apple season – my personal favorite. We eat 2-3 apples almost every day, and with apple season, I was ready to try out my first-ever pie (which came out INCREDIBLE thanks to these step-by-step instructions)!
When the air cooled down, it was time for root vegetables – and we were on our way to picking carrots & Japanese sweet potatoes, which are pretty different from American ones. They’re often purple, instead of orange, and are slightly less sweet than our versions. But just as much fun to pick!
Farms in Japan, at least near us, are tucked right in the middle of neighborhoods. It’s a use of space that I think helps keep the air cleaner and to keep people in touch with where their food comes from. Can’t beat buying this local!
We also snuck in a late fall treat of mikan (Mandarin oranges)!
We’re coming up on one year in Japan, and looking forward to what seasonal foods we’ll discover with another year. Rice planting and harvesting are high on my bucket list!
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