Behold our first pepper

The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.

One of the first things I did as soon as we moved to Okinawa was buy two tiny little pepper transplants from the Monkey Store. The picture on the labels looked like Jalepenos, but since I couldn’t read Kanji I wasn’t entirely sure of what I was getting. I still had plans to sprout some seeds after getting into our home, but I wanted a head start for our favorite vegetable plant. Now, about six weeks later, I have just harvested our first pepper.


We have been waiting for this moment to find out if it really is a Jalepeno or an impressive look-a-like. I cut it open, smelled it, and put a little piece in my mouth without shedding a tear or breaking a sweat. It tasted more like a bell pepper than a Jalepeno. Maybe the pepper is just young. Maybe if I let it get cracks it will be “mas picante!” I don’t have the answer today but I did learn something.

Even though it would be very hard for me to make an English translation from the Kanji, I can use my prior knowledge of plants to point myself in the right direction. What I mean is that I can look up the English Word for the plant I want or think I’m looking at, then find the Kanji symbols that correlate more easily than looking up Kanji without knowledge of the language pattern. Then I would have known I could look for ハラペニョ
(Harapenyo) rather than relying on the pictures alone. I might then have known what I was getting. Then again, I can’t be certain that they are labeling the way I think they. Fortunately I found the original label:

And it doesn’t look the same as the Kanji I looked up. Nevertheless, carrying translations of what I am aiming to get is still a useful tool that may prove helpful at some point. I am still hopeful that I will grow Jalepenos here. I am still hopeful that I will be able to sprout Jalepeno seeds and that even these plants will produce better peppers. I know I need to combine what I already know with new strategies for success. My books, the Internet, other gardeners, and some language research prior to purchasing plants are all tools that I can and should use to improve my small garden. I must be diligent if I want results.

If you are a successful hot pepper gardener and you are reading this blog, please leave a comment and share your wisdom.

Until next time, Garden Gal Marissa is signing off.


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