Sunday, 14 February 2010

20th Century Pears

After our stay at the hot spring last weekend, we called in at the Pear Museum before making our slightly snowy way home. While it would be an exaggeration to say this this area was famous for anything really, 20th Century Pears are one of the best known exports. These pears look more like apples really; big, round rather than pear-shaped, and light green or golden in colour, and their flesh is crisp and juicy. They can be very expensive to buy but, around here, you tend to get given more than you know what to do with when they are in season...

There was a tasting area at the museum and this month, in honour of Valentines Day, you could dip your pieces of pear in a chocolate fountain. Yum.

I think K was happier with the plain pear really, but it did make for a fun photo opportunity.

I wasn't sure how interesting a museum devoted to fruit farming would be to the smallest member of the family, but it turned out to be great fun. Downstairs at the museum there were displays on the history of the 20th Century Pear, pears from around the world, the tasting area and some computers to allow you to try your hand at virtual pear-growing. K loved that bit - computers that he was actually allowed to play with!

We made our way upstairs, around the big pear tree in the centre of the building, and came to a play area designed to make you feel as if you were a little insect among the roots of the trees.

There were rather creepy-looking caterpillars to ride on...

... and some tree root tunnels with strange green growths in to explore.

If you are my friend on Facebook, you may also know that there were beetle costumes to try on too... I think I'll refrain from re-posting that picture here :-)

The best part was this giant Velcro wall, and its pieces of rope - just like Fuzzy Felt! K spent ages playing here, with great concentration. First he pulled off all the pieces of rope which someone had left on the wall, and then he carefully stuck all the pieces back on again.

When he'd finished he then took them all off again and carefully put them all away in the little storage boxes on either side of the board. This wasn't always easy, especially with long pieces that kept slithering out before he could get it all in, but he persevered.

After all that exploration we moved on to the 'Kids Corner' (so where had we just come from?) where there were various non-pear-related toys and colouring available, before heading off to find lunch. For 300 yen each for me and H (with free pears and chocolate!) it was a great way to spend a couple of hours with a toddler on a cold winters day.

Then lunch, a bit of shopping and the drive home again, notable only for these railings beside some roadworks we saw (it's not a good photo, but bear with me):

Yup, the railings are held up by big yellow rabbits. Only in Japan, I suspect...

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