My mother grew up in Kokura, the north capital of the southern island of Kyushu. After she moved to Tokyo to marry my father, she learned that the food situation around Tokyo had been much worse during the war.
"We were never out of something to eat, really," she used to say. "We used to eat an bowlful of kazunoko (herring roe)". In and around Tokyo, kazunoko was considered a delicacy to be consumed at festive times, especially the new year. So there was certainly a geometrical variability in the values of marine foods.
Although the girl that was my mother never really starved, there was one particular thing that she craved for. The apples. My mother's father (my grandfather, who is sadly no longer with us) used to buy one apple for each of the children, once a month on the salary day.
My mother was the eldest child in the family. On the salary day, or rather the apple day for the children, she would take her brothers and sisters to the railway station, where they waited the father's return. Because apples were rare in Kyushu at that time, the children awaited eagerly for this monthly treat.
My mother used to tell this apple story from time to time when I was a child. Although I did not think much of it at that time, now it is fondly remembered, as a story epitomizing the essence of happiness.