We went out on a chestnut picking mission today. Gboy and I loaded Peanut into the car and FIL drove. We headed up into the mountains and passed places for digging our own sweet potatoes and picking our own mikkan. I figured if I wanted to do either of those things, I'd just walk one minute down the road to the family farm. I was on a mission to find chestnuts. After about 30 minutes of driving we located the kuri u-pick place. We stopped the car and my husband got out and asked about the chestnuts. The owner of the place told us we were too late. The prime picking time is early October and as far as he knew, no other places had any chestnuts left on their trees either. ARGH. Luckily as we headed back down the main road, my FIL slammed on the brakes and excitedly gestured toward the tree on the side of the road. He had recognized it as a chestnut tree. Sure enough, when we got out of the car and looked over guard rail down onto the tree, we could see that the tree even had some nuts still on it - not many but a few. Then, when we looked on the ground below, we could see piles of them, looking like little fuzzy Tribbles. It was actually private property we were overlooking, meaning we were unable to pick any of them to take home, but it was rewarding nonetheless.
I asked when we first arrived in Japan on Oct 4th and was told by my in-laws that it was still too early to go pick chestnuts and we should definitely wait for at least a week or two. Finally they figured it was okay to go. And now all the chestnuts are gone.
On the one hand, I'm pleased that we had a nice drive, and did eventually see the chestnuts I went to find. On the other hand, I'm annoyed - with myself for not pressing harder to just GO and with my in-laws for being misinformed. I see this as further evidence of why I must stop trying to be quite so polite and accommodating all the time. I could have very politely asserted that I wanted to go last week and maybe we would have had some chestnuts after all! Regardless, for future reference we now know that early October is best!