I take no credit for this pun, allow me to just point out that Tottori 20th Century Pears are indeed delicious, and around September or so they sort of take over the entire prefecture.
So what else is there to say about these pears, besides that they’re delicious?
These pears, first cultivated in 1898 right before the turn of the century, are also known as “Nijisseiki” or “Nijusseiki” among both Japanese and Western horticulturists, as one of the only green varieties of Asian pears among an array of russet varieties. Like other Asian pears, it is crisp and sweet, fragrant, and with a grainy texture. They’re large and often shared as gifts, decoratively cut to be shared and enjoyed raw.
But no famous local product in Japan would ever thrive on its own fame simple by being served raw. First, you need to make an ice cream flavor out of it, no matter what it is.
Next, you need to make a curry out of it.
It needs to be available for sale all over your respective region.
In the surrounding regions (like my local grocery stores) people need to go on a frenzy ordering them in advance, fully expecting to pay top dollar (er, uh, yen) for the shiniest of fruits. Having people pay to pick their own fruits in season is a given, and at this time of year, anyone should be able to drive through the area and see trees heavy with plastic-bag-covered fruit. Tottori has this all covered with their 20th Century Pears.
But they take it even further–yes, the Tottori Nijisseki Pear Museum is a real thing. I have not had the pleasure of going myself, but the more I think about it, the more interesting it looks. Having taught a very detailed class about American culture by way of peanut butter, I can tell you that a close look into a single plant-based food has can be extremely enlightening.
Although pears (梨) make a good pun for nothingness (無), don’t underestimate them. The ones I have received as gifts were indeed some of the tastiest pears I’ve ever had.