Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Gaijin Chronicles : Mikan and Japanese Gift Giving Etiquette

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/08 Food, Traditional Culture , ,

Early autumn of 2012, my friends and I went to Kuroisan Green Park in Setouchi-shi, Okayama for mikan harvesting.  Mikan, according to its Wikipedia entry, is a sweet,  seedless,  and easy-peeling citrus species about the size of mandarin oranges but smaller than an orange. For a fee of 700 yen, we were led to the orchard where we can harvest and eat mikan to our heart’s content.

Mikan

mikan

 

mikan3

mikan orchard

 

The mikan trees are relatively short and the fruits can easily be picked without needing special tools. Having some garden gloves would come in handy though you could do away with it entirely.

Kuroisan Green Park

We saw a lot of families  there. Mikan harvesting is definitely an activity the whole family can do together. Kindergarteners also arrived in busloads. Mikan harvesting or any other fruit harvesting is really popular among young school children. Other participants brought along picnic baskets with them and had lunch beside the trees.

When we went there it was the middle of the mikan harvest  season. Most of the trees near the foot paths were bare of fruits. One must go higher up or lower down a slope to get to those trees with fruits thus it is advisable to wear appropriate footwear because the slopes could get steep.

mikan4

mikan tree

By the entrance, we were also given a small plastic bag each to fill with mikan to take home. I ended up having more than enough so  I gave some of it to my Japanese sensei. During our next study session, she announced that aside  from the usual Kanji and vocabulary lessons, we will be having a special lesson on Japanese gift giving etiquette.

Japanese Gift Giving Etiquette

Uh-oh! A warning sign flashed in my head. Did I gave her spoiled mikans? But those were freshly picked. Were they sour? Did worms bore on it? —  I was frantically recalling what I did wrong to warrant “special” lessons.

And so apparently, it is is ill-advised in Japanese culture to give gifts with the numbers four or nine. Four (4) in Japanese is “shi” which is the same pronunciation for the Japanese word for death. Nine(9) is “ku” which is the same pronunciation for the Japanese word for suffering,  agony, or torture. Similarly, one should not give gifts in fours or nines.  I gave Sensei four mikans —  Such a major faux-pas. I was so embarrassed at my blunder that I was profusely asking for her forgiveness at the same time wishing to hide under the table. Sensei then reassured me that she didn’t really mind my mistake considering that I’m a gaijin(foreigner) and still unfamiliar with Japanese ways. She stressed though that I must be careful next time as I might give gifts to  people  who are not as understanding and forgiving.

Anyway, for those interested to go mikan harvesting, go to this link  for more information. Exact harvest dates changes from year to year but it usually starts around October. So better check their website for details around that time.

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Box of Kibi-dango

Kibi-dango (Dumpling with millet)

Kibi-dango In “Momotarou”, “Kibi-dango” plays a very important role – bait to attract three animals and seduce them into the battle against “Oni”(Japanese demons). I love “Kibi-dango”, especially the plain one, but if you ask me whether I can fight against somebody like Chuck Norris for it, my answer is “Absolutely no way!!!” The present […]

Read Article

4881450065_fe7f37024d_z

Playing with Flowers in Cards: Hanafuda 2

As we learned in our first post about Hanafuda (花札), they are Japanese playing cards that are used to play a number of games. The name comes from two Japanese words hana (花) which means flowers and fuda (札) which can mean cards. Some call it “flower cards” in English. In this post, we will […]

Read Article

A couple enjoying the view at Ginshoji

Momijigari: Hunting for Autumn Colors

I have never been to any form of hunting trip till my friends and I head out to Kyoto this year to experience Momijigari which literally translates to maple leaf (momiji) hunting (gari). Just like Hanami (sakura viewing) in spring, Momijigari in autumn is well rooted in the Japanese culture and recently has also gained […]

Read Article

Ninja

We are ninjas: What ninja is and the origin

What is “ninja”? From “Mansenshuukai” a.k.a. “Bansenshuukai” (a famous ninjutsu-sho, a book about ninja’s tricks), an excellent ninja is described as one who makes a great success but; Makes no sound Has no odor Remains nameless Never win a name for himself / herself Makes outstanding achievements just like creating this world About the expression […]

Read Article

yomifuda

Karuta: Traditional Japanese Playing Cards – More Karuta Variations and Karuta in Popular Culture

In our previous post about the Japanese traditional card game karuta, we listed some of popular karuta variations. In this post, we will post more of these karuta variations and karuta in popular culture. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – […]

Read Article

Sakura - hanami -

Hanami

Imagine yourself standing underneath a canopy of Cherry Blossom trees (Sakura) in full bloom, its delicate petals slowly dancing in the gentle spring breeze blowing. Its sounds like a scene from a movie right? But for the Japanese people these is no movie, it happens every spring. The annual Hanami – the Japanese tradition of […]

Read Article

Family crest of the Tokugawa

Mystery tour : Muramasa , a cursed blade – Part 2 –

Muramasa (2) Blessed swords for hostile forces against Tokugawa If “Muramasa” blades really harm the Tokugawa, they are very fortunate weapons for enemies. Nobushige Sanada (1567 – 1615), much more commonly known as Yukimura Sanada, who was against the Tokugawa, is said that he carried “Muramasa” sword(s) with him. There is also a legend that […]

Read Article

10 yen coin

The Japanese Era Calendar Scheme

If you’ve been staying in Japan for some time now, then you’ve probably come across some government forms or some sort of application form that need filling up. You’ll notice that in some forms wherein you need to fill up a date, the format is quite different. That’s because some require you to use the […]

Read Article

shio-ramen

Shio Ramen; How to taste & enjoy it.

[Noodle Name] Shio (“salt”) Ramen [Noodle Type] Ramen [Noodle Variation] Soup Style [Noodle Flavor] Shio (Salt base)   [Feature of Shio Ramen] Shio Ramen  is one of the Japanese noodle soup dish. It made with plenty of salt based flavor and any combination of chicken, vegetables, fish, and seaweed. In many cases, the soup of Shio ramen does not boil. […]

Read Article

hinamatsuri

Hinamatsuri – A Festival of Dolls

Today, March 3, is Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) in Japan. Though hina (雛) literally means a young bird or a chick, the day is also called Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day. On this day, families with girls wish their daughters a successful and happy life. Families with young daughters mark this day by setting up a display […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑