More Japan

"Kumquat!" used to be an insult

A Japanese couple pick kumquats off a tree and offer them to an international visitor.

by Bob Kerstetter

When we were kids we’d sometimes yell, “Kumquat!” as a name-calling insult. This changed forever in Wakayama, Japan, when a Japanese couple stretched out picked some kumquats off a tree and handed them to us foreigners—part of the Japanese character.

As it turns out, these may be loquats. The trees and fruits of the kumquat and loquat appear somewhat similar. In either case, the Japanese call the tree and its fruit biwa. Biwa is very popular in Japan. The taste is citrus.

Picking kumquats in Wakayama, Japan

Picking kumquats in Wakayama, Japan

Kumquats for foreigners.

Kumquats for foreigners.

Kumquat still life

Kumquat still life

One Response to "Kumquat!" used to be an insult

cjkd says:

Love your picture, Bob! Your interactions with the Japanese people surely sounds pleasant. What a life-expanding experience!

Love Us On Facebook!

Japan Official Tourist Info

Check back. The lists change often.

Japan National Tourist Info

Japan Regional Tourist Info

Some regions use JNTO for official tourism information. One uses the regional international airport.

Japan City Tourist Info


Advertising supports our research and writing projects.

free trial
click link below

Unlimited Reading.
Unlimited Listening.
Almost Any Device.

Automate Your Life
a little

Echo Above

Dot Below

Watch with Show

Keep it Clean

This is a standalone automated vacuum cleaner. It does not work with Echo and friends.