lifestyle

Japan's luxury fruit masters grow money on trees

40 Comments
By Hiroshi Hiyama

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© 2013 AFP

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40 Comments
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It's a melon.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

As I say every year around this time "a fool and his money are soon parted."

7 ( +11 / -4 )

So much bs. Had one of those 50 dollar melons and it tasted just like a 3 dollar one.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

As I say every year around this time "a fool and his money are soon parted."

I agree. Anyone who is stupid enough to pay Y400,000 for some grapes, or 1.6 million for a couple of melons, is an idiot who deserves nothing but ridicule.

Fruit in general is ridiculously priced here anyway.

9 ( +11 / -3 )

A lot of retired folks with a lot of money around and nothing better to spend it on.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Doesn't seem to have worked out too well for Yubari in Hokkaido.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Fresh fruit should be an affordable commodity, not a luxury. To hell with this nonsense!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Funny thing is, there are a lot of Chinese and Korean tourists that believe the hype and think that a melon that goes for $100 has a far superior tastes than a $5 one. Some don't care, some just want to flaunt their wealth when they buy these as gifts to show people that they DO have the cash to spend, it's more about elitism and prestige rather than the need of buying the perfect fruit. Most westerners would never even consider to buy ANY fruit over $5 These farmers would have you believe that as well. Also, I love blemished fruit, it looks natural, having fruit picture perfect doesn't sit well with me so much. It should look natural and not like a rack of clones standing up to attention like soldiers. People can buy what they want, the smart people and winner in all of this are the farmers that grow these mega money makers. Smiling all the way down to the bank.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

So glad I live near an old-fashioned fruit & vegetable shop, that sells slightly blemished products for a tenth (or less) of what these idiotic places charge. Pretty sure it tastes the same, and I don't have to feel nervous or humbled when I eat it.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Like bilderberg_2015 said ... "It's JUST a melon!" "Sun-Fruitstupidit"y at its finest.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

only in Japan where consumers are fooled into thinking that this overpriced high quality product is way superior than its normal everday product. people who are prepared to waste there cash on this scam deserve to be riped off.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I remember in Aomori seeing apples in a shop. Box of 6 carefully picked and individually packed in a sock, in a box, or for the same price a bag of 20 which fell off the tree and suffered devastating damage.... 3mm dents. Guess which ones tasted the best?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Hey, something is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Every May, a pair of canteloupe melons grown in the north of Hokkaido is auctioned off. They regularly fetch the price of a modest new car.

The hammer fell on this year’s pair at a cool 1.6 million yen.

Perhaps the writer should've been a little more honest in their thinking and replaced the word 'cool' with the word 'ridiculously stupid'

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I agree with all the above posters. It is immoral that fruit doesn't get sold in the supermarkets because it has a couple of scratches or dents on it.

Fresh fruit should be an affordable commodity, not a luxury.

Agree entirely

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I understand it doesn't worth the price though from my experience it does tastes better. On the other hand is it normal to give millions ¥ to get a diamond ring? Come on its just a rock that shines and you can't even eat it like the melon.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"fruit" and "affordable" are two words that do not share the same sentence in Japan

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Food in Japan holds it's very own precious status. The Japanese have the right idea about food. Unlike other countries that see food merely as a fuel.

-18 ( +1 / -19 )

They don't ask me to pay for them. There is no shortage of cheap fruits on sale, they don't push the average price up either, so these sales don't bother me at all. I fail to see any disadvantage.

Anyone who is stupid enough to pay Y400,000 for some grapes, or 1.6 million for a couple of melons,

It's anyone smart enough to make so much money that they can afford that. I wouldn't mind becoming so stupid.

the price of a modest new car. 'ridiculously stupid'

That would be intelligent if the person bought a new car that he/she doesn't need ? You can always find appetite for a melon, but good luck to drive 2 cars at the time.

On the other hand is it normal to give millions ¥ to get a diamond ring?

Or spend the same over a few years buying new clothes every week ? At least workers in fruit extravaganza industry don't seem to die like in diamond mines or sweatshops.

winner in all of this are the farmers that grow these mega money makers. Smiling all the way down to the bank.

And the retailer, the bank, the publicist, the investors in the farm, the tax office... It's a great way to put money back into the economy. if all the consumerism excesses were like these fruit sales, that would be a great progress.

Most westerners would never even consider to buy ANY fruit over $5

You mean your folks that would rather put their $5 in super-size fast-food to stuff their face ? Others have long traditions of luxury fruits, just not at the scale of Japanese auctions. In Provence, they have done that since Antiquity, keeping some melons and grapes fresh till Christmas. Citrus have also long been precious presents. More recently, exotic and rare fruits. My family back home still make presents in the shape of fruit baskets.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

People are jealous of super rich people, what else is new.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

"In July, a single bunch of “Ruby Roman” grapes reportedly sold for 400,000 yen, making the plump, crimson berries worth a staggering 11,000 yen each.

Every May, a pair of canteloupe melons grown in the north of Hokkaido is auctioned off. They regularly fetch the price of a modest new car.

The hammer fell on this year’s pair at a cool 1.6 million yen."

Must be the Tohoko evacuees don't need any more help, people are spending 400,000 yen for a bunch of grapes, and 1,600,000 yen for 2 melons.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

-9? Wow! So many haters here!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

CGB Spender, you are so out of line! Here in Canada I just bought a honeydew melon, three Fuji apples, three pears, three naval oranges, a bunch of grapes, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a pint of strawberries a pint of blueberries, and a pink grapefruit. The whole lot cost less than ¥1500, and it made a huge bowl of fresh fruit salad that will feed me a wholesome breakfast every day for a week. Food is food, not art.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

alex, and others

So much bs. Had one of those 50 dollar melons and it tasted just like a 3 dollar one.

It is not the taste, it is the appearance. They are often not even eaten. The melons are bred to have a perfect pattern on the outside. The "beautiful" presentation (in the eye of the beholder) is for gift-giving. To honored customers, or some other esteemed person, or for graves or for shrine/ temple gifts. As I said often as not, they are left to rot on the altar, offered to god. Everyone knows they have the same taste. The ultimate bling gift: it will just eventually disappear.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@TrevorPeace1 Japanese made food an art and it's all good! Nobody forces you to having to buy it.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

instead of spending that 1,6 mil yen on a piece of fruit, you could have invested that money into the Nikkei, sold it 3 months later and bought 2 Melons!!!

Either way, this is a ridiculous business but people out there are stupid enough to buy these things... hell, i should quit finance and become a melon grower

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The article explained quite clearly that the price has nothing to do with taste and everything to do with the gift-giving culture in Japan.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It can be a sight of Power, think about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I can't believe this. Probably some richest people would buy these fruits with such ridiculous prices!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@TrevorPeace1 Japanese made food an art

No. They didn't. If anything, the French made food an art.

and it's all good!

It's NOT "all good".

Nobody forces you to having to buy it.

You have to buy it when it's stuff like regular fruit and vegetables that are over-priced. Bring on the TPP.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just Ridiculous.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

the really outrageous prices are only for the first harvest of the season when they go for auction and prices get bid up as a matter of ego, like the first maguro auctioned after new years.

the reason fruit here cost so much is the amount of hand work that goes into producing each piece. trees are pruned of excess fruit so that all the nutrients go to the remaining fruit which are hand wrapped to protect it from insects, sun and weather and raised organically without pesticides. each piece is big juicy sweet and has no marks or blemishes whatsoever. any pieces with blemishes are marked down severely. of course its more expensive. but is it over priced? probably not.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

you are so out of line! Here in Canada I just bought a honeydew melon, three Fuji apples, three pears, three naval oranges, a bunch of grapes, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a pint of strawberries a pint of blueberries, and a pink grapefruit.

You are doubly out of line. Comparing your salad material to the luxury fruits is like saying the rare orchids from trendy flower shops are like the plastic pots of chrysanthemum and heath you get on supermarkets parkings for Halloween. Maybe in your family, for a wedding, the bride is happy with a $1 cauliflower as a bouquet.

The whole lot cost less than ¥1500

So what ? If you have the luck to visit a Japan city someday, you'll see at each street corner a Lawson 100 yen shop with a full line up of cheap produce. And in the sticks, they open the window and grab something that grows around. Most Japanese people can get 100 yen of fresh fruit at their doorstep every morning.

You have to buy it when it's stuff like regular fruit and vegetables that are over-priced.

There exist surely a dozen of clueless gaijin not able to source cheap food in Japan.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

^luxury fruits - oh please...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Cos

Not everyone with a lot of money is a financial genius. People get wealthy in different ways.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The whole lot cost less than ¥1500, and it made a huge bowl of fresh fruit salad that will feed me a wholesome breakfast every day for a week.

Wholesome, five-day old fruit salad.

Er, yum, I suppose.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So what? Does this affected anyone here? People still jealous of rich people, I see.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I blame "the rich" for all this. If "the rich" could simply not purchase at these ridiculous tags, it will certaintly balance all of us to afford and enjoy fruits at reasonable prices!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Everyone does realize that these are fruits grown for the sake of being expensive fruits right? Just go to the supermarket - may not be as cheap as the US, but a hell of alot cheaper than these places.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice strawman, felix. Most don't have a problem with people with people being "ric"h per se, it is more about how they got their wealth, etc. (trying to stay on topic).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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