Miss Peaches hold reunion to promote fruit（ミスピーチ「同窓会」 世代超え名産ＰＲ）
Clad in pink uniforms, about 50 former Miss Peaches gathered at JR Fukushima Station as part of a reunion event, handing out peaches to rail passengers on the station platforms to promote the Fukushima Prefecture specialty.
About 100 people who have served as Miss Peach took part in the reunion on Aug. 12, the first such event to be held since 2012.
Since 1963, the many Miss Peaches have helped promote the fruit of the prefecture. The reputations of the prefecture's products suffered deeply after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, but Miss Peaches have poured their hearts into promoting the Fukushima fruit.
At a reunion party held in Fukushima city, former Miss Peach members -- who combined have over a half-century of experience to share -- engaged in animated conversations about the past.
Hidemi Sakamoto, a Miss Peach from the program's 41st year, joined the promotion event at Fukushima Station with her daughter Rino.
"I live far from Fukushima now, but that fact makes Fukushima peaches even more special to me," said Sakamoto, who served the role in 2003 when she was 18. She currently lives in Musashino, Tokyo.
"More than six years have passed since the disaster and the nuclear accident, but I am happy that I became able to promote peaches again," she added.
An inaugural member took part in the reunion party as well. Hiroko Sato became Miss Peach － although the title was "Momo Musume" (peach girl) at that time － because she was looking for a part-time job as a sophomore at Fukushima University in 1963.
Sato who now lives in Kitakata, Fukushima Prefecture, said she had initially imagined that taking on the persona would mean being a street merchant like Tora-san, the popular hero of the "Otoko wa Tsuraiyo" (It's Tough Being a Man) movie series, who is known for his itinerant lifestyle. "However, what I did was totally different," Sato said.
This was before the Shinkansen bullet train service started, so Sato, wearing a sleeveless, all-ivory uniform, carried peaches in a woven basket and sold them with a smile to passengers of limited express trains.
"What I took part in at the time was a brand-new project, but I somehow managed to handle my job," said Sato, smiling. "The experience gave me a backbone."
（ Translated by The Japan News ）
【 ２０１７年８月１３日付・福島民友新聞掲載 】
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