A kaki is a fruit I never really had much exposure to until coming to Japan. This marks my third autumn spent here, and also marks my third time being gifted with gobs of the stuff.

They say persimmon trees alternate through good years and bad years. In a bad year you’d be lucky to get five of them, but in a good year you’re luckier if you can find enough people to take them off your hands who haven’t already been gifted with everyone else’s persimmons. This is just my perspective on it, though, seeing as I’m only on the receiving end and I can’t say they’re my favorite fruit. Other people get very excited for persimmon season because they love their soft flesh and sweetness.

Perhaps because of the abundance of fruit that would be a pity to let go to waste, people throughout Japan prepare the persimmons for sun-drying (these sun-dried fruits are then also generously gifted to everyone). Though this is common through my experience of central and western Japan, not all persimmons are created equal. The little town of Higashiizumo is not only famous for the entrance to the underworld, but for its hoshigaki (dried persimmons).

Click on the pictures for photo source (Japanese).

This webpage is all in Japanese, but the pictures express well enough how much a part of the way of life the drying of persimmons is there, as well as all the creative persimmon-flavored things they make. I recommend the chocolate covered dried persimmons.

To wrap this up, here is a tongue-twister likely written by someone trying to get rid of their excess persimmons:
Tonari no kyaku wa yoku kaki kuu kyaku da
(My neighbor’s guest is a guest who eats lots of persimmons)