“The huge ones hide behind the leaves.”
“The small ones taste sweeter.”
“The squashed ones stain your pants.”
Such was the peasant wisdom we shared last Friday on a trip to hunt for strawberries. Just 30 minutes of hunting and each of us had preyed on more strawberries you would usually prey on in a year. The hunting ground was a small family farm next to vegetable fields and a railway track, with the nearest toilet being a box under a tree. A brave participant claims the interior was pristine; your correspondent was too wary to verify her statement.
When we entered the strawberry greenhouse, I realized how Godzilla must have felt as he (she/it?) entered Tokyo Bay. Red, juicy strawberries basked under the vinyl sheet that separated land from cloudless sky; they were waiting for us to give them meaning in life. And give them meaning we did, as 10 Singaporeans tore through the rows, brandishing plastic containers of condensed milk. Liberating juicy strawberry after juicy strawberry from their earthly connections, we purified each in a bath of milk before sending them off to nirvana. They were delicious. As I scrubbed the red stains off my hands half an hour later, I reflected that Godzilla was perhaps a really zealous monk in a previous life.
After the hunt, we went for lunch at a café that served curry and fried food to people who smoke and eat at the same time. It was the only restaurant near the train station. The food was pretty good, though. While we didn’t go to the nearby hot springs after all, some of us stayed on to tour the local district while others went to climb a nearby mountain. All in all, though a little short, it was a refreshing trip that took us out of Tokyo and into small-town Japan. From the backyards of houses we passed by, flowering trees reached out towards a clear, spring-scented sky.