Aug 30, 2016
SUMMER PICNIC UNDER THE GRAPEVINES
Summer here in Japan is almost over yet it seems to me that the activities related to this season of the year in this side of the planet refuse to come to an end. My usual idea of summer is beach and sand, although I have mentioned in an earlier blogpost that they are not my thing. For a recap, I have tried 'halo-halo' which I think is the best summer cooler in town these hot days. Thankful that I got to visit some nice places, too. (Please click here for my previous summer blogposts). Just when I thought that my summer escapades officially ended along with my 2-week straight summer holiday, I have received a message from a friend inviting me to a picnic...not by the sea or a pool, but under the grape vines.
Back home, I heard about a town in the next region where they grow some grapes but I have never seen the place yet. Since the movie A Walk in the Clouds, a romance-drama which could have been my number one all-time favorite if not for Schindler’s List, I've always had the desire to see vineyards in my hopes to find the kind of love which Keanu Reeves and the lead actress have found in each other while being together in a romantic setting within the surrounds of that vast cloudy and lovely vineyards..haha. Please forgive the musings of a hopeless romantic here. Anyway, back to the topic, I joined the picnic cum PICK-AND-EAT-GRAPES-ALL-YOU-CAN ALL-DAY activity as per invitation by a Brazilian friend whom I've met in one occasion before. With her friends and my co-trainee, we headed to one of the grape farms in Okazaki City. We were a group of nine (including a 4-year old dog named Mimi chang). I admit that at first, I was pretty much hoping to rather experience apple-picking (not season yet) than grape-picking, simply because we do not have apple trees in my country. But when I arrived at the grape farms and started to see from a distance the grapes hanging and dangling from the vines, excitement and thrill suddenly overflowed in me! The whole area, which is filled with plenty of grape clusters in paper wraps, looked so inviting to me that I felt I couldn't wait anymore :-). I wanted to take pictures then pick and eat grapes right away!
Inside the paper wraps are sweet grape clusters ready for harvest. Oh, how I love this place!!!
The vast vineyards are surrounded by mountains. The farm that we visited grows a variety of grapes, both seedless and not seedless, from the small variety to the big ones; from red to purple; green to yellow (I supposed the yellow ones are over-riped green grapes but they tasted real nice and sweet, nonetheless). My first taste went to the yellow clusters freshly picked by one from our group. My first pick were the usual oblongated red grapes and to me they tasted real sweet as well. At first I didn’t have an idea that I could peek through the paper wraps to see and check the actual fruits inside before picking.
Unlike the big grape clusters, the small grapes are not covered. I don't know why.
These are the small grapes. The only varieties that are exposed to direct sunlight and moisture. Some clusters have started to turn into raisins. I suppose they were the varieties to grow first; ahead of the rest. They come in little sweet, little soury taste. I think these are the clusters that might have probably been overlooked for a couple of days or so because of the presence of big and seedless varieties, which taste much sweeter. The big ones are more expensive than these varieties when sold in the market. I picked one cluster or two of these kind, I think.
To tell you honestly, I didn’t have too much grapes of different varieties all in one day as much as I had that day. Luckily. I didn't get drunk. Ehehe.
MORE THAN GRAPE-PICKING
Yes, this is actually more than grape-picking. It's actually family bonding. It is a lovely sight to see Japanese parents and their kids spending time together; eating together, doing some barbecue under the grape vines! I was happy to see some parents helping the little children do the grape-handpicking!
We were surrounded by families grilling some meat. I love the smell of barbecue that I went home that day craving for some. O btw, this area has been 'ripped off'. People have finished all grapes on this part of the farm ehe.
This is more than grape-picking. It's family time. Family picnic. I find it heartwarming to see Japanese families together.
Let's make pizza under the grape vines!
The big oven for the pizza that the kids are making :-)
A crib under the vines.
Kids enjoy catching fish in a creek at the vineyards. The water is clear. It's just that the sand/soil is brown giving it a muddy look. How I wish for clean rivers and creeks such as this in my country for kids to enjoy!
So far that's all about this last weekend. I really had a wonderful time under the grape vines, in the company of good people. By watching the Japanese way of spending summer, I now have a broader concept about how to deal with this season. The best way to cope with hot weather is to make the most of it, anyway it won't linger...for long. So enjoy it while it's here. Go out and have some fun under the sun...with your loved ones. And if you would ask if I found LOVE in the vineyards like that from the movie A Walk in the Clouds, yes, I did. And it's here with me to stay...FOR ALWAYS. ❤️❤️❤️