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Published: March 9th 2008
The Mikan Mobile
the prefecture that I call home in Japan is famous for this tasty orange treat, the mikan. Throughout the winter, I am given bag after bag of mikan from my neighbors, friends, or the random old man promoting international friendship on a street corner. At least I will never have to worry about a vitamin C deficiency.
The Japanese tend to have a strong affinity with wind. It is a word that is constantly mentioned throughout their literature, song, art and language, and in the spring, this is especially so. As the seasons begin to change giant gusts of wind thunder throughout all reaches of this country. They are known as “haru kaze”, or spring wind, and as the name suggests, it marks the coming of the spring. In some areas it does considerable damage, such as derailing trains, while in others it is just a minor nuisance and dishevels your hair.
Luckily, I live in the later of the two. The worst thing that I have to deal with is the sporadic disruption of the island ferries. At times the winds are too severe or the swells are too large for the ferry to make the hour commute across the open sea. This makes it impossible for me to return home or to pick up my weekly grocery supply on the neighboring island. After a couple of disasters my first year, I have now learned how to cope with the bad effects of the wind and my cupboards are stocked with canned foods, just in case.
The winds have once again returned and gone and they have undeniably brought with them the first taste of spring. Daffodils have sprouted all over the island and the first blossoms on the plum trees have begun to bloom, marking the short arrival of their older sister, the cherry blossom. And soon it will be time again to pack away my heated table and store my layers of winter clothing.
All and all, it is ever increasingly looking like I have survived my second winter on the island and it was considerably better than that of last year. I am on the edge of my seat and can’t wait to experience my second spring in Japan, a time when I truly believe this country is at its best.
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