Re-Up: Fruit Fetish

A guy in Japan just bought a pair of melons for $12,400. No, I’m not referring to fake “melons” (as in, he bought his girlfriend a $12,400 rack). No, actual melons.

So this seemed a good time to re-up my post about Japan’s fruit fetish, first published last year. And before you ask: no, I still have not bought a square watermelon. Enjoy!

(originally published May 28, 2014)

Fruit Fetish 

If you are a member of the Super Rich, and I hope you are, you probably buy your fruit in Japan. Because no one does fruit like Japan, except maybe a pricycle (look it up).

I started following Japanese fruit fancies back at the turn of the century, when I didn’t sound like an old person by using phrases like “turn of the century.” That’s when I first heard about square watermelons.

Japanese farmers started growing watermelons in the shape of a square whose dimensions fit exactly those of the standard Japanese refrigerator shelf. The convenient shape took up less space in what was prized real estate, given the size of Japanese fridges.

My initial reaction was, “Square watermelons? That’s so fucking weird.” But now, after thinking it through and recognizing that we here in the United States make mini watermelons, my reaction is, “Square watermelons? That’s still so fucking weird.”

These cubic crops are not cheap. They go for about $82 a square melon. For comparison, Tokyo’s real estate average is about $7,600 a square foot. So really, your watermelon should be paying more for taking up all that space.

Which is probably why a pair of Japanese cantaloupe melons sold at auction last year for $15,730.

Slightly more affordable are bananas. Gokusen bananas sell for about $5.70 each. To be considered worthy of this “premium” produce moniker, the banana must be at least 23 centimeters in length and weigh no less than 200 grams. (According to Dole, the average banana weighs around half that).

Some surveys list Japanese men as being on the lower end of the penis size scale, and one has to wonder if this banana fetish is correlated in any scientific way. Ok, one doesn’t have to wonder, but I will anyway. Where are the data?

I feel like I am digressing. Where was I? Penises. No, wait. Fruit.

The Gokusen bananas come in their own box and are often given as gifts. Which should make Justin Timberlake and the Lonely Island proud.

You also can’t be just anyone to pop a Japanese cherry. In some shops, where fruit is laid out in cases like jewels in Tiffany’s, a box of cherries can go for nearly $160. So you better really want that juicy flesh.

Why do the Japanese love their fruit? Why do the French love their wine? Why I am writing this? Actually, because initially I was going to bring this round to some argument about inequality and luxury goods. Clearly that didn’t happen. I got sidetracked, probably right around the time I mentioned penises. But on the bright side, I can write about inequality another day and for now go get angry that my watermelon keeps rolling around my fridge.

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