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Yamagata: Fruit Paradise

(日本語訳)

こんにちは、インドネシア出身のやまがた留学アンバサダー、ジルバート カロリンです。

日本に留学することを初めて友達に話したとき、日本の果物は高いからあまり頻繁には食べられないだろうと言われ、不安になりました。私は果物が大好きで、母国では毎日食べていたからです。たしかに母国に比べれば日本の果物は高いですが、それくらいの値段になる根本的な理由があります。日本の果物は非常にクオリティーが高いです。生産者はそれぞれ果物が最適な状態で育つように1つ1つの果物に対し細心の注意を払って世話をしています。

私は現在、山形大学で修士号取得を目指しています。山形大学はその名の通り、果物や農産物の産地として有名な山形県にあります。ここでは、農家の市場や地元のスーパーマーケットでたくさんの種類の果物を簡単に見つけることができます。山形といえば、夏はさくらんぼ、秋はラ・フランス、柿、ぶどうが有名です。私が住んでいる鶴岡市は山形県の庄内地方にあり、庄内柿の産地として知られています。収穫期には、庄内柿を栽培している農家や学生から、友人におすそ分けできるほど大量の柿を無料でいただきました。庄内柿は甘く、とてもジューシーです。

庄内柿といえば、庄内柿を使った料理の実演に参加しました。柿はそのまま食べるだけでなく、サラダやデザート、さらにはシチューやグラタンなどの料理にも使えるという新たな発見がありました。

また、鶴岡市櫛引地区で開催された産業振興プロジェクト推進協議会の柿試食会にも参加しました。農家がどのように柿の渋みを抜いているのかを学び、食感も味もさまざまな10種類の庄内柿を食べ比べました。

別の試食会では、櫛引産のさくらんぼ13品種や和梨3品種、西洋梨5品種の食べ比べをしました。このような経験は、他ではなかなかできない貴重なものであり、山形の果物への愛がますます深まりました。

他にも、夏には友人たちとさくらんぼ狩りを体験しました。色々なさくらんぼの採れたてを食べることができ、とても楽しかったです。500円玉サイズの新商品「紅王」もありました。日本を訪れる際は山形でのフルーツ狩りをおすすめします。ぜひ、山形のおいしいフルーツを堪能してみてください。

(Original)

Hi, my name is Caroline Jilbert. I am a Yamagata Study Abroad Ambassador from Indonesia. When I first told my friends about studying in Japan, many said that I would not be able to eat fruit as often as usual due to its high price. I was scared to hear that because I love fruit so much and I ate it every day. Well, I could not disagree that the price of fruits here is higher compared to my home country. However, there is an underlying reason for the price. The fruits here are undoubtedly of high quality. The fruit growers take great care of each fruit so that they can grow in the most optimum condition, and it does take a lot of attention and effort.

I am currently pursuing my master’s degree at Yamagata University. As the name stated, it is located in Yamagata prefecture, which is well-known for its fruit and agricultural products. Here, I easily find a lot of varieties of fruits in the farmers’ market or local supermarket. Yamagata is famous for its sweet cherry fruit in summer and La France Pear, persimmon, and grape are famous during autumn.

To be more precise, I live in Tsuruoka city which is part of Shonai area of Yamagata prefecture. It is known for producing Shonai persimmon (Shonaigaki). During harvest season, I got some persimmons for free from farmers and students who grow them. I received a lot that I could also share with my friends. The taste is sweet, and the fruit is very juicy.

Speaking of Shonaigaki, I participated in a cooking demo using Shonaigaki. I gained new insights into how Shonaigaki can be eaten not only as is but also in salad, dessert, and even savory dishes like stew and gratin. I also participated in the tasting event held by the Regional Promotion Project Council in Kushibiki area of Tsuruoka city. I learned how the farmers remove astringent taste of the persimmon fruit, and I was introduced to 10 varieties of Shonaigaki persimmon with various textures and tastes.

In the separate events, I had the opportunity to taste and compare 13 varieties of sweet cherry, 3 Japanese pears, and 5 varieties of European pears from Kushibiki area. These experiences are valuable to me since I might not get the same opportunities in other places, and they definitely make my love for fruits of Yamagata grow fonder.

Additionally, I had an exciting experience of sweet cherry picking in summer with my friends. It was fun since we could try freshly picked fruits of many varieties. This includes the newly introduced ‘Beniou’ variety, which is the size of a 500-yen coin. I highly recommend adding fruit picking in Yamagata to your to-do list during your visit to Japan. The next time you travel here, treat yourself to the delicious fruits of Yamagata.

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