Welcome to Fujisaki, Japan.
In the far north of Honshu Island in a prefecture called Aomori
One of the more remote and rural prefectures
I won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of this town.
It certainly isn’t famous.
But you’ve probably heard of what it makes —
these trees around me.
It’s an apple orchard that we’re currently standing in
and Fujisaki comprises more than 50% of apples produced in Japan
What’s more, they produce a very famous
internationally-known apple, known as,
not-coincidentally, the Fuji apple.
And the Fuji apple’s history, to me, is really interesting.
It’s interesting, first of all, because it’s a happy story.
It’s a story showing the true benefits of a global world.
And considering that we’re an Italian filmmaker
with a Canadian host in Japan,
to me, a global world is an incredibly important and positive thing.
So the history of these apples start in the 1860s
with an American missionary,
just as the Japanese empire has opened up to the West
and opened up to Western influence.
Of course, the first people who come in,
just like any nation, are the missionaries.
And they’re here to convert Japanese to Christianity.
And they’re doing so in the form of a man named John Ing.
通过一个叫John Ing的人 他们做到了
He tried to spread two things:
The love of Christ, Christianity.
His job, so to speak.
And he spread apples almost accidentally, just as, sort of,
well, he looked around, and he saw that Aomori was a fairly poor prefecture,
that being so far north, being so cold,
having imperfect land for growth.
The people living here were either fishermen,
very basic farmers, or conscripts into war.
They didn’t have an industry that they would describe as their own.
And he kind of looked at the soil and looked at the land and said,
当时他看着这里的土壤 又看着这片土地 说
“This really reminds me of the climate where apples at home would grow so well.
So why don’t they grow apples here?”
So he brings a couple of apples seeds,
and gives them to local farmers,
and begin planting what becomes this apple industry.
Because the Japanese don’t have a concept of apples,
or, they do,
but they’re more like what we would consider crabapples –
very small, tart, and not worth eating.
But these new apples, they don’t really fit into Japanese meals
because the Japanese don’t have a great deal of fruit to begin with
and the fruit that they do have,
it’s more dessert.
It’s a gift to someone else,
it’s something to share with your family.
So apples are a big thing, they’re a big deal.
It’s a whole new idea,
and people really like it.
But as the Japanese take to these apples,
they want to make them their own –
using it as a gift, using it as a dessert.
It’s almost as if they need to make it bigger,
And they start to make it bigger,
until they end up with this apple–
The Fuji apple.
And within a few decades, it takes over in Japan.
Till modern day, these apples have become
one of the most common, the most desired gifts
to give between coworkers, family, friends.
Constantly, apples can cost up to
30 to 50 dollars per apple here.
And now, as modern day comes around,
these apples are reintroduced back into America,
after they’ve been genetically modified,
after they’ve been changed and turned into this new, sweet, gift apple.
And the Fuji apples returns to America,
and it is now the fourth most consumed apple in the United States
This is no longer the American apple
that John Ing brought over in the 1860s.
It’s now the apple that Japan has built.
And that’s what’s so cool to me.
That’s what’s cool about our globalized world.
To me, you can take something so simple
as an apple,
bring it across the planet,
and watch how another culture defines what that means to it,
and takes that definition and brings it back to the place it started
and it starts the process again.
We are sharing this culture,
we are sharing this world understanding of what an apple can be.
Something so simple, something so commonplace as an apple
could be really profound.
So this orchard,
which is almost a quintessential symbol of North American society,
has changed, and become a symbol of our globalized world.
And if you look over right here,
you see a quintessentially Japanese scene.
And to me, that’s why this is such rare earth.
That’s why this place is so special.
It’s no longer just an orchard.
These are no longer just apples.
There’s something much more profound.
There’s something that…
… that gives me hope for our future
that we can share,
that we can grow
and that we can become a truly international society.