Friday, August 31, 2012

Three things for which I’m proud of Kochi

Kochi is a paradise for sake drinkers
   It is often said that Kochi is well known for its sake (Japanese rice wine) production and consumption, and people outside think Kochi people are heavy drinkers.When I lived in Tokyo, people often teased me by saying “you must drink a lot because you are from Kochi”! I tried to keep up with the reputation and at first tried to drink a lot. After a while people recognized that I was not a big drinker and that such a stereotyped perception didn’t apply to me. But indeed it seems to me that many Kochi’s citizens drink a lot.

   There is a custom Henpai which means offering someone sake in return in Kochi, so people drink more at a party in Kochi than in other prefectures. Even in a solemn wedding party the Henpai starts at every seat after a short time. In the Hata region, the western part of Kochi, there is a “Hata-houshiki” drinking style, where participants who arrive early to the party make a toast and begin to drink before the official start time. By the time of the official start, more than a few participants are already drunk and red in the face.

   There is also a traditional drinking game, Hashiken, which is played with chopsticks in Kochi. The loser must drink as punishment, so this game is also a reason for why people drink more here.

   Meanwhile, for those who don’t drink, drinking parties may be more of a pain than anything else. If you politely decline when someone asks you, they will surely stop pestering you to drink anymore. Instead, I’m sure you’ll be more than satisfied by Kochi’s fresh and delicious seafood.
Kochi has many types of fruit
   Kochi produces some rare kinds of fruit that aren’t seen very often in other prefectures. Niitaka-nashi, which are harvested in autumn, are pears almost as big as a baby’s head. Produced in spring, buntan (a citrus similar to a grapefruit) are juicy, sweet and delicious.When I was a child, I used to eat one everyday, which may be why my skin is still as smooth as ever!
   Konatsu, a citrus fruit resembling a lemon, is the main fruit of early summer in Kochi. One characteristic of the fruit is that you eat them with the white pith left on. Produced from winter to spring, ponkan, shaped like mandarin oranges, have a distinct taste, and are sweet and delicious. Tomatoes are classified as vegetables, but sweet fruit-like tomatoes are produced in Kochi. Please try one if you have never eaten one.
Kochi is a Baseball Kingdom

   If you drink sake and can play baseball, Kochi must be paradise. Kochi is an active land of baseball and has turned out many professional baseball players. One of them is pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa who now plays for the professional baseball team Hanshin Tigers. Kochi is also selected as a training camp by many professional baseball teams because of its mild climate. Some Korean professional baseball teams also held training camps in Kochi.
Early morning baseball

   Baseball is popular amongst boys of most ages, and business people play in the early morning. Even if you are a very busy person, you can play in an amateur baseball league. In Kochi, you can be assured of a lively discussion about baseball with your coworkers.

Taken from vol.21 PDF

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