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Tangerines in the heart of the Ehime Prefecture

By Paulo Mateus António Uache
April 01, 2020

From 30th November to 9th December 2019, I had the honour to visit Japan. I was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. During my stay I had the opportunity to learn Japanese foreign policy, history and culture. I visited beautiful cities such as Tokyo, Matsuyama, Osaka, Kyoto and Hiroshima. I visited century-old temples, such as the Temple of a Thousand Buddhas, the Golden Pavilion and the Kiyomizu Temple. I, equally, visited the ancient city of Kyoto and the Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial, where I learnt on the effects of the First Atomic Bomb, Little Boy, thrown over the city of Hiroshima. There are many interesting aspects that I could talk about, but for now I will share my experience about the tangerines of Ehime's prefecture.

It is important to highlight that I arrived at Ehime (Matsuyama city) on 5th December 2019, around eleven o'clock and the orange colour profiled all around the corner from the airport, passing by the Aratama elementary school where I had talks with the pupils and from there to the office of Ms. Yoshiko Takeuchi, president of the Ehime Global Network, a non-governmental organization with strong contacts with Mozambique. When I arrived to the office of His Excellency, Kouno Kazuhito, Deputy Governor of the Ehime Prefecture I saw a beautiful orange coloured armchair. His Excellency Kouno Kazuhito noticed immediately that I was attentive to the orange coloured armchair and after welcoming me explained why Matsuyama city was filled with the colour orange . He told me that the Ehime Prefecture is the largest producer of tangerines and pearls, so the orange coloured armchair was to show the visitors that Tangerine was the main fruit produced at Ehime. In fact, during the trajectory from Matsuyama airport to the Aratama elementary school and from there to the Prefecture I saw many tangerines trees with ripe tangerines.

It was, only, during the cocktail offered by Ehime University that I drank the delicious tangerine juice from Ehime. I immediately remembered the famous poem of José Craveirinha with the following title: ‘The delicious tangerines of Inhambane’. Indeed the tangerine juice brought to my mind the flavour of Mozambicans tangerines which get ripe in June but in Japan they ripe in December. I also noticed that tangerine cultivation has a sustainability basis at Ehime University whose Faculty of Agriculture trains young farmers taking into account the typical Ehime fruit.

The most interesting aspect of Ehime tangerine is that it is transformed into number of food products such as juices, cookies, sweets, cakes and other products that make Ehime's tangerines a reference in Japan and beyond. Thus, the Ehime's tangerines are at the heart of the Ehime Prefecture. Thank you people of Ehime for producing such delicious tangerines.

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