Japan has long had a strange fixation for the ultra-expensive melon. It’s nothing for a Japanese person to plop down over a $100 for the perfect melon. Often given away as gifts, the price of these fruit often make foreigners scratch their heads in wonder. What makes these melons so expensive?
The BBC website recently weighed in on the whole costly cantaloupe issue in there article Japan’s obsession with perfect fruit. According to the article, fruit giving in a popular activity in Japan. And if you’re going to give someone boring fruit as a gift, it may as well be as close to perfect as possible.
“We specialise in gift-giving, fruits as gifts,” says Mr Oshima. “So it really needs to look good. The appearance is a very important part of it. Then there’s the service. The combination is what you pay for.”
Growing the perfect fruit evidently takes a lot of work. The top melons must be perfectly symmetrical with the just the right color and overall texture. And only the best and brightest make it into the upper echelon of the most expensive gifts.
The ideal is a flawless sphere, pale green with an even, smooth pattern of webbing and of course the all-important T-shaped stalk. The very top grade of Shizuoka melon is classified as the Fuji, something Mr Suzuki estimates that, even with his craftsman’s hands, he achieves with only 3% of his produce.
I have no idea how delicious these fruit actually taste, but if I was spending almost $500 for 3 measly melons, they better be dang juicy.
There are apples, the size of a child’s head, with evenly red, blemish-free skin on sale for 2,100 yen, or $25 (£15.80). That’s each, not for a bag. Senbikiya Queen Strawberries come in boxes of twelve perfectly matched fruits at 6,825 yen, $83 (£52.40). Even on a slow day they sell 50 boxes.
And this video of an American’s reaction the price of fruit in Japan is just too good not to share.