Japan:Where the plastic looks like food and the food looks like plastic

Square watermelons are loaded ready to be packed and shippedHT: Henry Ergas for the picture

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NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

“Each melon sells for 10,000 yen, equivalent to about $83. It is almost double, or even triple, that of a normal watermelon.”

Almost double, or even triple? Whatever it means, fresh fruit can’t seriously be that expensive in Japan can it?

John O
John O
13 years ago

Rockmelons are selling for about $20 in my local supermarket in Tokyo. Of course that’s out of season, but I don’t think they ever go below $10. There is a lot of cheap fresh fruit and veg here (strawberries are going for $3-5 for a large punnet right now), but there is also an enormous price range. I think the explanation for that comes from the fact that people in Japan are constantly giving each other gifts, and food is a very popular type of gift – everyone likes it and it doesn’t take up space for long. Practically none of the expensive fruit you hear about is bought for personal consumption, and that’s also why it looks unreal – no one wants to give blemished fruit as a gift. Here’s an example of an ad for a box of 24 cherries for mother’s day for about $40 (down from $100!). It’s like the market for chocolate in Australia – plenty of Cadbury about, but for presents you get the more expensive stuff. We can argue about whether it’s worth paying a lot for fruit, but I would be surprised if there isn’t some connection between the higher respect for fruit in Japan and the low obesity level and high life expectancy.
Having said that, I don’t think anyone here in Japan would pay $83 for a vegetable, no matter what the shape.

Yobbo
Yobbo
13 years ago

“Almost double, or even triple? Whatever it means, fresh fruit cant seriously be that expensive in Japan can it?”

Check out the explanation here: http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/28/features/rluxfruit.php

NPOV
NPOV
13 years ago

Which confirms that “normal” was a poor choice of word:

“While an ordinary melon in a grocery stores rarely costs more than $5…”