Students harvest mikans from hillsides near Sasebo
HARIO HOUSING VILLAGE, Japan — Like ornaments on Christmas trees, juicy mikans dangled from tight rows of trees along the Hario-area hillsides.
But on Tuesday they soon found their way into the hands of students at Sasebo Naval Base’s Jack N. Darby Elementary School.
Pupils from Megumi Fukui’s host-nation language and culture classes spent the day harvesting mikans, picking the tangerine-like Japanese fruit one at a time.
About 320 pupils in kindergarten through sixth grade participated, harvesting as few as 40 and, in some cases, as many as 100 mikans (pronounced MEE-kahns) to take home and enjoy. Even the smallest kids had no problem snagging the fruit from lower branches of the stubby, shrub- like trees.
“In the second-grade curriculum standards,” teacher Kristyn Giles explained, “we teach concepts involved around neighborhoods. It was quite nice for our smaller kids to see what it’s like in a Japanese neighborhood … seeing different neighborhoods functioning.”
Sixth-grader Arthil Tabangin, 11, was pleased with his bounty.
“I was able to pick 46 mikans, which made my plastic bag about half full,” he said after his shift in the orchard. “Right off the tree they’re way sweeter than those in the commissary; I’ve already eaten two since we got back to school.”
Another sixth-grader Isaiah Beltran, 11, said after the field trip he is used to seeing fruit on trees from living in California.
“But still, I enjoyed picking them myself; I got about 100 mikans,” he said.
Greg Tyler/Stars and Stripes
Chloe Stevens is proud of her haul Tuesday during a field trip to pick fresh mikans in orchards near Sasebo Naval Base’s Hario Housing Village.