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Winter is Alive with Citrus

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

I am not sure why I used to thing the whole natural world dies off in winter time.  I guess it was because i assumed it just got to cold for flowers to bloom or for fruit to ripen on the its branches.  It is probably just because I didn’t take the time to pause and to really observe the natural world around me.

Living in the urban jungle of modern day Japan I loose myself in the concrete and steel of its man-made structures. All the twist and turns of the human created environment my eye had become trapped.  It wasn’t until experiencing the after effects of the March 11th disasters that my eye had refocused to see the natural world around me.  Even if that natural whorl is confined to tiny roadside gardens and terra-cotta pots, the natural world is right there in front of my lens, if I choose to look for it.

This brings me too the bounty being spotted in the cold winter air.  I have come across trees that are just bursting with winter citrus.  Yuzu trees, an asian citrus used in seasoning, are ripe and bright yellow among the home gardens out in the suburbs of Chiba Prefecture.  They are all plump and ready for the picking.

Open your heart and eyes to the changing seasons.  Enjoy the bounty that we are blessed with even during the chilly winter  month.  Peel open a nice juicy citrus and get some of that vital vitamins and minerals.

Boutiful Citrus Tree, Chiba, Japan

Yuzu (유자, ゆず,  柚子) Citrus Ripening on Tree, Chiba, Japan

Real Natural Ancient Variety of Mikan (Mandarin, Satsuma, Orange)

Monday, December 5th, 2011

I am not a big fan of winter time here in Japan.  In fact, I would be the happiest if the temperature here would be springish all year round.  I like wearing coats, and scarfs, and preparing myself for the cold weather.  That being said, in general I prefer mild temperatures that accompany spring and early autumn.

The best gift that we receive in the winter time is the abundance of the mikan fruit.  Sometimes they are referred to as satsuma oranges or mandarin oranges.  They are a close varietal to tangerines, yet their flavors are not quite the same.  They tend to be a bit more squared on the tops and bottoms, and their skin is rather loose and easy to peel once you get one of your fingers popped into the air gap between the skin and the flesh.

The one in the photography came from a friend of my wife’s family from the rural part of Chiba prefecture.  They are much larger than the mikans that I can usually find in the store.  They are less perfect.  They are bumpy.  They have green spots across their dimpled skin.  Because of their imperfections, they are more prefect to me.  These are probably what the first variety of mikans were like before they were farmed on a massive scale.

Enjoy this mikan in its natural state.  The best part about winter in Japan.  The simple fruit in its own packaging.

Ancient Variety Mikan (みかん Satsuma Orange) Fruit

Looking into Shibuya

Sunday, May 2nd, 2010

Looking into some of the window of Shibuya, I get the feeling that there is no rhyme or reason why some of these store fronts still exist.  Shibuya is full of trends.  The trendy teen’s mecca for shopping and clubbing, yet in the heart not far from the station, there is a shop that is selling clothes for the over 70 crowd.  It looks as if no one has actually stepped into the shop for 15 years.  So, wander, get lost and see what turns up when you turn the corner.

The Other Shibuya Store

Down in Castle Rock

Graffiti Noodles (Ramen Style)

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