Welcome to Aomori Japan, where the centuries-old tradition of cultivating mojie apples has almost faded away due to it’s labor-intensive process. Before it disappears completely, let me show you what it is and what it takes to create these beautiful tattooed apples and where you can still find them.
In the apple orchards of Aomori, a prefecture of Japan, hidden among the branches and sheathed in small, waxy bags, dangle the mojie apples that with the help of light and a sun-blocking stencil, soon become beautiful pieces of art.
It takes a year, beginning in January, when the apple trees are pruned just so, to make sure each blossom receives sufficient sunlight. Orchardists must be patient and committed to see the whole process through. The next step is in the spring, after the blossoms have been culled, growers have to hand-pollinate each remaining flower with fluffy wands.
Multi-layered bags are then placed around the fruit once it begins to grow, to keep it safe from pests and sun, which increases it’s photosensitivity. After the bags are removed, the fruit will be emblazoned with a sticky stencil outlining the desired image, so that only the surrounding area of the apple skin turns red.
These works of art have designs of all kinds, from a single word to a Japanese pop star’s face, yet the most popular depict symbols of good luck or prosperity. They are often given as wedding gifts and were intended as classy decor or a thoughtful gift rather than the traditional on-the-go snack.
Luckily, you can still find these tattooed apples in a few orchards in Aomori prefecture and in shops across Japan.
Would you eat one, or keep it as a memento? Would you invest the time and have the patience to create these beautiful works of art? Maybe someone, somewhere out there will keep the tradition alive!
A sad note on this, the first day of the A to Z Challenge. This challenge is now going to be even more “ahem” challenging for me, because, in addition to my other commitments, I have now lost the classic editor. I hate the new editor and I implore WordPress to bring it back, please!!