Heart Shape Tangerine Treasures on Shikoku Island, Japan
When on the Island, a Tangerine Dream Awaits
As my train lumbered through the towering mountains of Shikoku and I caught a quick glimpse of glistening sea beyond, I realized exactly why the Mikan (tangerines) of this area are so delicious. Makes perfect sense to me as I watch the mountainside drinking in the salt-tinged air and the bright Seto sunlight. The Ehime area is famous for many things, but my favorite, at least on this visit, was the Mikan.
When you see a Japanese movie or soap opera, an iconic scene is Dad and Mom sitting around a table and peeling a Mikan orange as they talk. Mikan are in a bowl and represent Fall to Japanese people. But, as I learned in Shikoku this time, the technology of Mikan growing is changing. Right in front of the station, there were several trees displaying different kinds Mikan and my favorite was the heart shaped tangerine.
Using a triangular wooden shaped brace on each Mikan, the tangerine grows into the shape of a heart. How lovely! But, lovelier than the shape, was the fresh, clear taste of the juicy fruit. When you are in Japan, definitely try Mikan. They are sold in all the grocery stores and when out of season can be a little pricey but even then, I recommend you try this special taste and understand how Japanese people feel an affinity and familiarity with this fruit that is unique and special.