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Strawberry and an electric car

Two months ago (!!!), I rented my first electric Nissan Leaf (more about it later) and drove to Chiba to the famous strawberry road – a place with 20 or so strawberry farms where you can pick strawberries “tabehodai” – all-you-can-eat style.

Picking produce in Japan is one of the popular entertainment that people enjoy throughout the year. In winter, they pick strawberries that grow in green houses.

What you basically do is pay for half an hour or an hour of green house time. There, you can pick and eat as much as you wish. Usually, it costs around 1500 – 2000 yen per person. The more you eat, the cheaper it gets. ^-^ My husband is a bad eater. For his share of 1500 yen, he only ate like 15 berries. So, I am always the one who makes it a “profitable” affair. ^-^

Two years ago, I had a record of eating 102 strawberries in 30 minutes. This year, I only managed to eat 86 which roughly estimates to 5 baskets of strawberry that is usually sold at a supermarket. I was also trying to leave some space for lunch as we had big plans for the rest of the day.. Unfortunately, those plans went south thanks to the lovely Nissan Leaf.

At first, I was excited to drive an ecological electric car but my joy was short-lived. Although the car is easy to drive, fast and very very quiet (the engine doesn’t roar), it runs out of battery very quickly. Rental offices don’t have their own charges so when you rent an electric car from them, you rent it with whatever battery is left in it. The first thing you do is look for a place where you can charge it. Normal charging takes 8 hours but there are places where you can do a “speed” charging of about 80% of the battery capacity. It takes 30 minutes. The only problem is 80% of battery roughly equals to 160 km and if you are using vipers, air conditioning and light, it is even less, sometimes as much less as only 80-90km. Plus, the charging places – mostly Nissan dealerships have only 1 or 2 charges that are often already occupied so you either have to wait for your turn and then wait some more till the car charges or look for another place. During the 6 hours we were on the road, we spend 3 hours looking for dealerships with “speed” chargers and then waiting for the car to charge.. On top of that, we punctured our tire so had to wait another two hours for the rental representative to come and change our car.. By the time we got a normal non-electric car and could drive anywhere, it was too late to go on with our plans to have lunch at an amazing local restaurant and then visit various museums… I ended up eating “nikuman” from a convenient store and watching rain from the damn Nissan…

But before our misfortunes with Nissan began, we managed to make one stop at a local farm. I was drawn to the beautiful colors of blossoming plum and these orange bushes. The weather was horrible, the sky and landscape were grey so these trees immediately popped.

I usually enjoy winter landscape even if it is drained from colors. I love countryside and walking around in the middle of nowhere under rain calms me down tremendously. ^-^ But of course if I knew that that walk was be the highlight of my day I wouldn’t have been quite so positive about it. ^-^