In Nishiura, my husband and I dropped in on the farm family that I worked with for 18 months. It was like visiting relatives you have missed, and I was finally able to give them a copy of Orchards.
The generations have shifted in the few years since I worked there: the grandfather and grandmother have both passed away, and the eldest son now has two young children. It is reassuring to know that the three-generation household continues.
We sat and chatted at the house for over an hour, catching up on family news and recent happenings. We talked about tsunami escape routes, nuclear power, and how what used to seem safe is no longer really safe. How years ago in the villages the houses were all set farther back from the bay but that gradually they have been built closer and closer to the water for convenience.
Then we drove up in the truck to the terraced orchards and parked in the grove where I'd done my very first thinning work.
|the farmer with a copy of Orchards|
|mikan (Citrus unshu) blossoms|
|examining the flowers|
Eventually the farmer said, "Do you want to take some home?" and he cut two branches for me.
|among the mikan trees with hills in new green|
Before leaving the area we had a lunch at the farmer's cousin's restaurant Irie, 井里絵.
|aji (horse mackerel) rice bowl lunch|
All the way back to Kamakura in the car I breathed in mikan bloom. At home I set the branches in a vase. Now the breeze blows through the open windows. If I close my eyes, block my ears, I can imagine I'm back in the mikan groves.
|cans of Jutaro mikan, branches of unshu mikan, plate of large natsu mikan|