Japan is well known to be a country that thinks of everything. Literally everything — such as smartphone toilet paper. And the latest trend coming out of Japan fits squarely into the country's tradition of innovating wacky and genius things — but this time it will cost you big bucks to get on board. It will cost you way more, in fact, than probably your entire trip oversees to check out the madness.
According to CNN, Japan's latest craze is (wait for it) luxury fruit. Uber-exotic produce is sold in fruit parlors decked out to look like expensive jewelry shops from the outside. And inside are square watermelons, prized strawberries, and grapes in the identical shade as rubies.
Japan's oldest fruit shop, Sembikiya, is located in Tokyo, and it's the most popular. But there are dozens of shops all over town selling high-end fruit. The goods are packaged up like jewelry, or inside wooden boxes.
Roman Ruby grapes are each the size of a ping pong ball, and come from a crop of only 2,400 bunches per year. Apparently making them red like a ruby is quite difficult — and bunches sell for $800 each.
In 2016, two Hokkaido melons sold for more than $27,000, according to The Japan Times.
Bijin-hime strawberries are the result of 15 years of farming — and now fetch nearly $5,000 for just one strawberry.
On a budget? No worries, the square- and heart-shaped watermelons are a scant $100 a piece.
So why the fancy fruit obsession? CNN explained, "Japanese see fruit in almost spiritual terms, regularly offering it to the gods on their butsudan — or home altars — and Buddhist steps."
Giving fruit as a gift is also viewed as a significant sign of respect. (But real talk: If the gift is for us, there are lots of other things we'd rather have for that chunk of change than a melon.)
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