Sunday I went to my very first Strawberry Picking event, and in Japan no less of all places I could have done this!
Got up and met with Asher at 8:10am to take the train to Uchihara, 2 stops east of Mito. Then we met with one of his teachers from his school, a very nice lady named Anzo-San, who then drove us to the Uchihara Community Center.
We paid our 800yen (yes, I paid to do hard labor. The irony, no?) which included lunch and basically we kept all the strawberries we picked, crazy huh? I was really excited cuz the fruit prices here in Japan are just ridiculous! A few slices of pinapple are like $3 and the strawberries, these little tiny ones in little tiny baskets are like $4...so I decided that I would be taking full advantage of the strawberries here.
We got to meet the owner of the strawberry greenhouses, his name was Mr. Sonohara. He's been in the strawberry business for over 30 years and the greenhouses are right there on his property that he picks with his wife annually. Did you know that the strawberry business can pay up to 10x more than rice here in Japan? But he says that every year, no matter how long he's been doing this for, each batch can come out differently, so it's a bit of a risky business.
Anyway, we all got boxes and picked a greenhouse to start picking!
It was so much fun! Sure I was hunched over most of the time, sweat dripping down off my face cuz the greenhouse was just ridiculously hot on a great spring day. Asher and I got really lucky and were able to pick the sweeter type of strawberries that Mr. Sonohara grows, they literally are the sweetest, juiciest strawberries I've ever had!!!!!! I'd literally eat one, pick one for later, eat one, pick one for later... Mr. Sonohara doesn't use any pesticides on his fruit so everything was just so beautiful and healthy!
Afterwards we all met up and had a group lunch of onigiri, noodles, veggies, and bread with fresh strawberry jam that they just made fresh! They even made us fresh strawberry shakes!!! We all did some introductions, out of Interac it was Asher, Wendy, Laura, and I, plus we met some more of the elementary teachers in Mito as well. Everyone was very friendly and apparently they have a very big International club for foreigners out here as well, so they immediately invited us to a potluck they're having in June as well as their next event, which is some sort of dance competition for the Obon festival.
I had to walk my bike mostly home from the station afterwards cuz I didn't want my strawberries to get beat up on my bike, but yah, some of them didn't make it. Then I bought some whipped cream and ate some more...ugh! Too many strawberries! It came out to about 4 tupperware bowls of strawberries! I called over Judi and we hung out from like 5pm to like almost midnight just catching up and eating strawberries...it was really nice.
So enjoy my strawberry picking pictures!