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sparrows and loquats

It's cold today; the heater is chugging along, making my living space warm, and I feel so grateful. Outside, in the nearby city, the sparrows by the bus station are fluffed up like little feathered pokéballs. They're very tame; people feed them crumbs and things, either by accident or on purpose.

Around here people say "on accident," to go with "on purpose." How about the other way? By accident or by purpose.

Safe from the cold are these loquat trees I grew from seeds that 88greenthumb sent me. I've never eaten the fruit of the loquat--have any of you?

Their leaves are generously large and a rich green color, and apparently you can make a tea out of them, but I won't, because my trees are up against enough difficulties, growing in pots and kept indoors for half the year, without having their leaves plucked.

In China, and then by extension in Japan, the tree is called pipa (biwa in Japanese), like the instrument--maybe because the fruit look like it?

a pipa (source)

loquat fruits (source)


( 37 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 15th, 2016 09:43 pm (UTC)
I've never eaten a loquat fruit.

I've heard a pipa, though.
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:10 am (UTC)
Back when we lived in Japan as a family, wakanomori took lessons on a biwa. Very cool.
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:11 am (UTC)
So many wonderful fruit trees in the world!
Dec. 15th, 2016 10:23 pm (UTC)
Traditionally, loquat is one of the woods our practice naginata are supposed to be made from.
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:11 am (UTC)
I wonder what its virtues as a wood are (or if it's just that it was common)
(no subject) - slobbit - Dec. 24th, 2016 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Dec. 27th, 2016 04:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 15th, 2016 10:28 pm (UTC)
I grew up next to a loquat tree - that is, in a house next to house in whose yard was a loquat tree - one grown more as an ornamental than as a fruit tree, I guess, since as far as I know no-one but us kids ate the fruit. Summer days, neighbourhood of kids, plucking and eating at will the fruits warm from the tree, and admiring the big, glossy seeds. I always wanted to keep them, and make necklaces from them, but they always dried, and lost their gloss and the brown skin fell off.
More recently, a friend shared some loquat bounty from a tree-of-a-friend and I discovered that they are even better not sun-warm, but cold from the fridge (though still against the background of a warm summer's day).
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:17 am (UTC)
How lovely to have grown up with a tree nearby! When you say they're even better chilled, is it just the fact of enjoying them cool on a hot day, or is the flavor somehow changed/improved by being chilled?

Apparently they're really full of pectin, too, which makes it very easy to turn them into jams and jellies.

The fading of the shining happens with horse chestnuts (conkers) too--they are **so** richly red-brown, positively polished, and then they lose that shine. So they'd be perfect for fairy jewelry, I guess--beautiful until it fades.
(no subject) - heliopausa - Dec. 21st, 2016 12:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 16th, 2016 01:11 am (UTC)
I've noticed these prepositional shifts. Odd.

The plant looks so pretty in that striped light.
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:19 am (UTC)
Yes, I liked how they looked striped--it's because the light was shining in through half-closed blinds!

It's funny to be able to witness language changing.
(no subject) - sartorias - Dec. 16th, 2016 07:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Dec. 16th, 2016 03:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 16th, 2016 03:33 am (UTC)
I've never eaten a loquat fruit, but those are very pretty leaves indeed.

You've given me an idea of how to convey a different dialect in a fantasy novel, swapping pronouns in common phrases like that.

Dec. 16th, 2016 06:21 am (UTC)
Yes, it would be a good way to show a difference in dialect!
Dec. 16th, 2016 04:38 am (UTC)
As, thanks to trips to Vietnam, I have eaten things that I do not know names off, I had to look at the picture to be sure that, no, I have not eaten loquat.
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:21 am (UTC)
So far only one person who's commented has tasted loquats! What a mysterious fruit.
Dec. 16th, 2016 06:36 am (UTC)
I've tried them, but I'm not really a fan. It makes me wonder if people ever grow tame loquat trees by (on) accident as well. For some reason "by purpose" sounds more logical to me than "on accident".
Dec. 16th, 2016 12:59 pm (UTC)
Is it that they don't have much flavor? As a kid, I used to gobble up mulberries. I found them very pleasant, but as I got older I realized that compared with other berries and fruits, they seemed a bit bland. Pleasant for a treat you got for free--certainly nothing *wrong* with them--but just not super exciting.

Then again, sometimes it's a fruit's texture that make people dislike it.

I agree with you about "by purpose." When you think about it, "on purpose" is an idiosyncratic phrase, which makes it all the more bewildering--or then again, maybe explains why??--people would follow its model in converting "by accident" to "on accident."
(no subject) - khiemtran - Dec. 16th, 2016 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 16th, 2016 12:13 pm (UTC)
I have had tinned loquats, though not recently. I liked them a lot. But maybe I wouldn't now - I feel unsure.
Dec. 16th, 2016 12:59 pm (UTC)
I wonder if I could find tinned loquats at an Asian market....
(no subject) - amaebi - Dec. 16th, 2016 01:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 16th, 2016 03:26 pm (UTC)
Those loquats look splendid-- congratulations!

How old are they?
Dec. 16th, 2016 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I think they're about three years old--three going on four.
Dec. 16th, 2016 05:53 pm (UTC)

So are they mostly tropical in nature?

Dec. 17th, 2016 12:28 am (UTC)
Maybe subtropical? It grows in California. Wikipedia tells me Japan is the leading producer, followed by Israel and Brazil.
Dec. 16th, 2016 07:44 pm (UTC)
According to Digital Daijisen's entry on the biwa/loquat tree, the wood is used for haircombs as well as for practice swords -- so it must be quite finegrained and hard?

They also give an example of a family crest (mon) using loquat leaves -- the pattern's called "three biwa leaves" 三つ枇杷の葉. Now I know what they look like, it's unmistakeable!
Dec. 17th, 2016 12:25 am (UTC)
Wow, it really is accurate!

Dec. 17th, 2016 09:11 pm (UTC)
I've never eaten the fruit of the loquat--have any of you?

I want to say yes, but I have no hard memory evidence—maybe I'm thinking of the longan, which is easy to buy around here. You can get them both fresh and canned, like lychee and rambutan.

The loquat trees are beautiful in the slatted light.
Dec. 18th, 2016 07:08 pm (UTC)
I want to try rambutan, canned will do. And I definitely want to try loquat, one way or another.
(no subject) - sovay - Dec. 19th, 2016 06:22 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - asakiyume - Dec. 19th, 2016 03:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 17th, 2016 10:21 pm (UTC)
I say "by accident" and "on purpose." My knee jerk reaction is that the phrasing suggests that accidents simply happen, not having been deliberately caused, while deliberate intent is required to make something purposeful occur. But, I'm not at all certain, as I think about it, that this interpretation has anything at all to do with the pronouns involved, but is, instead, a result of mere long-term association.

I think I've tried a loquat, but I can't be sure. We often try interesting fruit, both fresh and canned, from international markets, and we don't always know the English name for what we try.
Dec. 18th, 2016 07:09 pm (UTC)
Your parsing of "by accident" and "on purpose" makes good sense to me.

And yes, you may have eaten loquats under another name!
( 37 comments — Leave a comment )

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