Last week I talked about 梅雨（つゆ、the rainy season）. Some of you may have wondered why 梅雨 has the character 梅 (ume, Japanese apricot/plum) in it.
梅 is usually harvested in June and the rainy season starts just around that time. I think that is the reason why.
梅 is not eaten fresh, instead it is often picked with salt and later semi-dried in the sun, which is called 梅干し. 梅干し is one of the most common preserved food in Japan. What is 梅干し to Japanese is the same as "Vegemite" is to Australians. Kids in Japan (used to) grow up with おにぎり (rice balls) with 梅干し in it!
If you are travelling in Japan in summer, eating "Umeboshi" helps you to keep hydrated. Try one while you are there!