New Year Holidays in Japan : Mikan
Mikan is one of the typical fruits in Japanese winter.
When my siblings and I were ever-hungry children, my mother always bought a box with 15 kg (approx. 530 oz, 33 lb) of mikan in winter.
We could easily eat up 15 mikan each at one sitting.
I suppose the Engel’s coefficient of my family must have been quite high at that time.
Like kotatsu, mikan is not a “New Year Holidays” special, but it’s inseparable to kotatsu (the standard mikan, “Unshuu mikan” – see below, is sometimes called as “kotatsu mikan”) and that’s why I’m writing this post.
Citrus plant is supposed to originally come from the areas around India, Thailand and Myanmar thirty million years ago.
However, it seems that its cultivation had been started in China.
According to several websites, there is a book about the cultivation of citrus plant, written in 22nd century BC.
Both in “Kojiki” (the oldest extant chronicle in the early 8th century) and “Nihon-shoki” (The Chronicles of Japan which was finished in 720), there is a story that Emperor Suinin sent Tajimamori to “Toko-yo no kuni” (Ideal world outside Japan) to bring back a fruit called “Tokijiku no kaku no mi” (lit. fruit with everlasting sweet-smell).
The description in “Nihon-shoki” says that the fruit is a.k.a. “tachibana”, which is a citrus plant.
“Unshuu mikan” (citrus unshiu) is believed to be appeared as a mutant fruit in the present Kagoshima in the Edo era, about 400 years ago.
The old “unshuu mikan” tree aged more than 300 years is found in a town in Kagoshima.
“Unshuu” is a name of the famous citrus-produced area in China (“Wenzhou” in Chinese pronunciation), but it is Japanese-born.
I saw a website saying the name “Unshuu” has been commonly used only since the Meiji era. (1868 – 1912)
Before that, its name varied with locality, like “Kara-mikan” (“Kara” means China, Korea, or outside Japan. The same kanji as the Chinese dynasty, “Tang”).
It’s sweet, usually seedless, and easy to peel.
Now, it is the most general mikan fruit in Japan, but it wasn’t widely cultivated until the late Meiji era.
Some say perhaps it was because of the superstition: The word “seedless” reminded people of infertility and they wanted to avoid it.
Mikan-gari (lit. Mikan hunting)
In Japan, there are places you can eat mikan as many as you like at a reasonable fee.
When I was in a kindergarten, we went on a day trip for mikan-gari.
I think it was here .
These kind of “fruit-picking” places are available throughout Japan.
Not only for mikan, but strawberries, Japanese pears, apples, grapes and so on.
If there is any specific fruit you want to gorge yourself in Japan, it’s worth checking if there’s an all-you-can-eat place.
[To know how many pieces there are without peeling it]
I tried this only several times long time ago, but I remember I got the correct result every time.
- Hull a mikan.
- Count the whitish grain-like small pattern.
[To make use of its peel]
The dried “mikan” peel is used as a Kampo medicine called “chin-pi”.
Wash the peel well with hot water, dry it with a towel, put it on a strainer and dry it in the sun
When it’s thoroughly dried, slice it to thin strips to preserve it.
*: In a Kampo medicine website, it says that “chin-pi” is the mikan peel dried in the shade for a year.
I doubt if it will not get moldy at home that way.
According to several websites, dried peels help your digestion, clean your skin, improve blood flow, prevent a cold, etc.
– Usage –
- For bath.
Put a cloth bag with a double handful of sliced dried peels into the bathtub filled with warm water.Actually, my family didn’t bother to dry nor slice peels.
We just put a laundry net with raw mikan peels into the bathtub.
It was all right.
- As a mikan drink.
Put sliced dried peels in a tea strainer.
Pour hot water and drink it.
- As a seasoning.
Grate a dried peel.
Latest posts by kara (see all)
- Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese - June 24, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese - May 29, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Go-chisou sama” – Phrase after meal - May 27, 2015
Last time, we talked about the history and origin of the game shogi. In this post, we will learn the pieces use in shogi. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts by harorudo (see all) Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text 2 – June 3, 2015 Kaomoji: Expressing Emotions Through Text – […]
In our previous posts, we learned about the history and equipment used in kendo. In this post, we will learned about kendo practices. It’s estimated that somewhere around 14 million people world-wide are Kendokas, or active practitioners and students of Kendo. Unlike almost every other martial art, Kendo has one global federation, and every country […]
Ninja walk : “Ashi-nami Jyukkajyou” (Ten walking methods) There is a ninjutsu-sho (a book about ninja’s tricks) entitled “Shouninki” or “Seininki” (literal meaning is “The notes of correct ninja”), written by a military expert in the “Kishuu” domain (the present Wakayama and a part of Mie area) in 1681. In this book, there are ten […]
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 […]
Today is a special day for the elderly in Japan. Special in the sense that the government really made a holiday to celebrate and pay homage to them. People across the country travel to their hometown to visit their parents and relatives. But what exactly is “Respect for the Aged Day”? The following two tabs […]
Japanese companies usually hold 歓迎会(kangeikai or welcome party) to welcome new employees and 送別会( Soubetsukai or farewell party) for those leaving. In some cases, the welcome and farewell parties are combined into one — 歓送迎会(kansougeikai). These are usually dinner parties held in nice restaurants.The party is usually started with speeches by the company president or any […]
The Japanese fox (Vulpes vulpes), as mentioned in the first part of this feature, is a common topic in Japanese myths and legends. Continuing our discussion about the kitsune, we will feature one of its known ability: human possession. Kitsune’s Human Possession Kitsune is able to possess humans. The word, 狐憑き (kitsunetsuki), literally means the […]
Kendo has a very long and rich history of development in Japan. Some of the legendary sword masters of ancient Japan left writings to explain their philosophy and methods. Even though they are not really practitioners of the modern kendo, nevertheless, their philosophies and methods became a part of it. The following two tabs change […]
As kids, we all played games and while living in Japan I wondered what sort of games do kids here play. Were the games they played similar to the games I used to play growing up back home? Do they also roll over the dirt, enjoy playing catch or maybe play hide and seek? Or […]
The game of ‘Go’ has its origin in China 4,000 years ago. It is more than 1,300 years since ‘Go’ was introduced to Japan. During these centuries, the ancient Chinese form of ‘Go’ has been modified and improved by the Japanese. ‘Go’ as it is played today is an indoor game which has no further […]