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March 20th, Vernal Equinox Day. This holiday is honored by salarymen and school kids by taking the day off. With Tuesday now free Mr. Cakes and I joined a few of his colleagues and ventured out of the city and down the Boso Peninsula. Close to the Southern tip one will find Tateyama, where part of our adventure takes place.

All-you-can-eat Strawberry Garden!

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Before one enters the tent, one receives a plastic dish. Half is to collect strawberries and then discard the stems, while the other half is filled with condensed milk for dipping. Below, you can see the first few I started with, mmmm oyshii! (which means delicious).

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Here we have Mr. Cakes on the hunt!

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Success! The berries were very juicy and sweet, or amai!

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Heima-san, a colleague of Mr. Cakes, found the largest berry I saw all day! He almost felt bad eating it. But he was able to get over the guilt after a dip or two!

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Here is another colleague, Ookaya-san, enjoying one of her ‘finds’!

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This row is looking fairly picked over! I guess these will have to wait another week or so, for the next hungry bus tour. There were about 6 of these tents at the farm. The owners rotate ‘food tours’ so that each tent has time to regrow. Once strawberry season begins there are 3 bus tours a week. I can’t believe 6 tents is enough to support such ambitious strawberry eaters.

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By the end of the half an hour I had eaten my fair share of strawberries. My final count was 13. One of the guys in our group had eaten over 50! Mr. Cakes came in around 30.

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All in all the strawberry hunt was a fun experience. I heard the word oyshii and amai so many times I lost count! I had not expected my polite bus mates to be strawberry hoarders, burp out loud or push so severely. But as Mr. Cakes said, “all etiquette is lost when one finds themselves in a tent full of those ruby diamonds.”

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