Gotochi Postcard: Chiba 2009

Gotochi Chiba Postcard 2009

Laura and Elise discovered peanuts today, not the toasted salt-covered snack but the M&M’s variety covered in milk chocolate!  While I wasn’t worried about food allergies, I had been putting off letting the girls try them thanks to their choking-hasard status.  I gave in today–after our bout with the flu, I wanted to surprise them with something new and tasty.  I think it’s safe to say that they enjoyed them and are more than willing to eat more peanuts in the future.

My friend Evita surprised us with this wonderful peanut-shaped 2009 Chiba  Gotochi card last year.  The Gotochi “Regional Form Cards” highlight the traditions, foods, landmarks and other icons of Japan’s 47 prefectures.  Post offices in each prefecture sell their own regional card.  Simply put, you can only buy the Chiba Regional Form card in Chiba!  If you want to collect all 47 cards, you either need to go on a tour of Japan or swap, trade and barter your way to a complete set!  To further complicate matters, there are now four series (2009,10,11,12) of cards to collect.  I have no illusions about getting anywhere near a complete set but I am having fun trying to build my own collection.

Why did Posta Collect choose a peanut to symbolize Chiba?  Chiba is Japan’s largest peanut producer and the peanut has become one of its symbols.  In Chiba, peanuts or rakkasei in Japanese, are often eaten as a snack after being boiled in salty water.  Another popular peanut dish, rakkasei miso, is made from roasted peanuts with sugar, miso, and sake.  I was surprised at just how popular peanuts are in Japan–national production is not enough to keep up with demand and Japan is one of the world’s top three peanut importers behind the European Union and Canada.  Peanut butter is also available in Japan although it is apparently sweeter than the American version.  I’m not much of a fan of peanut butter but I do enjoy peanut butter cookies and I think we’ll be making some tomorrow while thinking of Evita and this nutty card!

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