– Mandarin Orange Peel Ornaments (Ehime Prefecture) –
Displaying fir trees decorated with orange round ornaments made of mandarin peels. This is becoming a new winter attraction in Ehime Prefecture, a famous producer of mandarin oranges. It was started nine years ago by a private non-profitable organization set up by a group of young guys living in the prefecture. The NGO, Matsuyama Matsuri Ikemen-ren (Team Hot Guys for Matsuyama Festival), which helps organizing the Matsuyama Festival, thought that this will help expanding sales of Matsuyama mandarin oranges. The movement has grown gradually to involve local mandarin farmers and children.
The recipe for creating the gorgeous round ornaments is quite simple. You carefully peel an orange and put the peel back to original shape using instant glue. Let it dry completely and put an LED lamp inside.
The NGO put the first mandarin peel ornamented tree in front of the Ehime prefectural office building, wishing that this would encourage people to eat more oranges and boost local economy.
The orange trees have already become popular items for fun events that feature mandarin oranges in and around Ehime Prefecture. On December 20, 2014, at the Christmas Orange Festival 2014 at Yawatahama Minatto community plaza, there was a display of 15 mandarin peel ornamented trees made by local primary and junior high school students.
Kumi Nishikawa, 53, a mandarin orange farmer and a member of the Yawatahama Branch of the Women’s Group of Japan Agricultural Cooperative (JA) Nishiuwa, was the leader of the orange tree project for the festival. At 6 o’clock in the afternoon, Nishikawa, who was also the leading organizer of the whole event, did the countdown for the tree lighting ceremony. When the lights were turned on, the audience took a deep breath in pleasure and excitement.
This year, 13 primary and junior high schools participated in the tree-making project for the city festival, responding to the invitations from the organizers. A lot more than two in the previous year. The project was also supported by the Yawatahama Branch of the Women’s Group of JA Nishiuwa, JA Nishiuwa Youth Group, Yawatahama-shi, and Ehime Prefecture. Yawatahama residents are already so much involved in the activities. They made more than 3,000 orange peel ornaments in total this year. And the orange trees were also put in the local shopping areas.
“Many people put their heart into the activity. We want to make more orange trees next year and make them more popular nationwide in the future,” said Nishikawa with a glow in her eyes.
(Dec. 28, 2014)