This pear’s shape has gone pear-shaped.

Pears in Japan are quite different from those often found in western countries, both in looks and taste. Rather than a wide-bottom curvy form, most varieties here are quite spherical and they tend to have a richer and tangier taste.

They can also be quite big, but our writer Tasuku Egawa recently stumbled upon a very special pear that puts even Japan’s larger-than-average ones to shame. He found it during a trip to rural Shimane Prefecture while staying at a city-run seaside inn called Senjoen last December.

While checking out, Tasuku noticed a range of local produce being sold at the front desk, among which was the biggest pear he’d ever seen in his life. He was so impressed with the freakishly large specimen that he paid 700 yen (US$5.40) for one and took it with him back to Tokyo.

This was an atago pear that is grown in limited parts of Japan with the right climate, such as parts of Okayama Prefecture, or in this case the Asahicho area of Hamada City, Shimane Prefecture. Tasuku asked the hotel staff if this kind of pear was meant for a special occasion or just normal snacking and was told that it’s long been used as an offering at Buddhist altars in the area.

The staff also told him that they didn’t remember eating it much but it’s fine as a snack too. Moreover, the atago pear is especially hearty and can last for about a month in room-temperature conditions.

Tasuku wanted to buy the biggest one they had, but it was too big to fit into his luggage so he had to settle for a slightly less huge one. This all took place on 10 December.

On 23 January, Tasuku opened the suitcase where he had left his atago pear to sit. It was a little banged up because he didn’t cushion it while carrying, but really it held up to the abuse surprisingly well.

He really wanted to convey how big this thing was so first he got an ordinary apple to compare it with. It should be noted that apples in Japan are also normally quite big, larger than an adult male fist. Tasuku would have used an average pear, but they were out of season by this time and he couldn’t find one.

He then put it on an electric scale, but the scale’s upper limit was one kilogram (2.2 pounds) so he couldn’t get a reading.

Instead, he cut it up into quarters and weighed each one individually. This way he could calculate the weight of the entire pear to be about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds). Given its size was like that of a pumpkin and it had been sitting around for a month, he imagined it might have a weird texture, but the knife passed through with the same sensation as a crispy fresh pear.

Tasuku also wasn’t expecting much from it in terms of taste because of the novelty of its size. However, after cutting it open there was a potently sweet aroma of pear and fresh juice pooled on his blade.

Each quarter was about the size of an apple and had pearly white flesh inside. Tasuku imagined how ridiculous something like that might look in a student’s lunch box. It was comical enough in a grown man’s hand.

The taste was perfectly fine and tasted like he’d expect any pear to. If he had to find a fault, it was probably a little too firm but that was it. Considering the sheer amount you get, it’s a pretty good buy overall.

Tasuku will definitely get another one next time he’s in the area. He’ll also make a note to see where they’re grown, because the trees they come from must be totally ripped.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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