The Japanese Goya Green Curtain Contest

By Donnie | Articles

TsurureIshi (bitter melon) Guri-n Ka-ten (green curtain).

When summer kicked off, I noticed that some people started to put up these long, green nets outside of their houses. I thought it looked a little odd, but I had no idea what they were for. At my elementary school I noticed the same thing, this long, wide, green net that stretched about two floors. Of course I asked the trusty staff at the school what this was exactly, and I they told me it was a green curtain. “Eh?” I thought to myself. “How is this supposed to be a curtain when the sun can shine right through the net?”

Upon closer examination I realized that the base of this netting was placed in a soil trough, out of which small vines were already starting to grow. Quite quickly the green this net became exactly what it was the teachers said, a beautiful curtain of leaves and vines. The teachers told me that there was a “Green Curtain Contest” going on in some of the cities here in Ibaraki, but I don’t know if a winner is actually chosen…which makes it more of a Green Curtain Display that a contest, but hey…it’s all good. I also found out that the plant that is used for creating these lush, green curtains is goya.

A green curtain up close and personal.

Goya (ゴーヤー) is a bitter vegetable that is used in the famous Japanese dish, Goya Champuru (ゴーヤーチャンプル-) which is a stir-fry made with tofu, vegetables, some type of meat or fish, and of course, goya. I always remembered the name of this dish because the only time I had ever heard the word Champuru was in the anime title Samurai Champloo (arguably my favorite anime). I think Champloo makes the anime name easier to say in English, but the spelling is the same as the vegetable in Japanese.

Goya, the bitter melon, growing from the green curtain.

I have had goya champuru at my school and it was really tasty, but I hear that the champloo I had wasn’t the authentic style. From what I understand, the authentic Goya is much more bitter, and there are quite a few people who don’t take to it so well.

Even though people say that I shouldn’t, I want to see what goya tastes like by itself…even if it’s disgusting. It’ll be an experience right? Despite goya being a bitter vegetable, the green curtains it creates are really cool looking, and are accented by these small yellow flowers. One of the schools’ green curtain was placed just outside of the staff room window and provided excellent shade from the sun. So if you want stylish, cool, organic drapery, and like bitter vegetables, a goya green curtain just might suit you.

The whole thing!

Donald Ash

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  • Nanami

    Funny thing is that probably provides an excellent way to block out some sun and therefore heat if you have it growing up along your balcony!

    • Donald Ash

      Yeah, that’s how a lot of people use them. They’re pretty effective, too, I must say.

  • Kayla

    Wow, that looks really pretty!

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