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Friday, June 15, 2012

$4,000 For A Watermelon?


At a recent auction in Sapporo-shi (Sapporo City), a so-called black skin watermelon known as a densuke was sold for an astounding ¥300,000 (Cdn/US $3,880).

Nearly $4,000 bucks? Are you kidding me? If I'm buying melons for $4,000, I better get sex with it!

Joke #1 over.

These black rind watermelons have a black luster-colored skin, a crisp and hard fruit, and have a high sugar content. Densuke watermelon are round and can grow up to around 25-pounds (11 kilograms). There are no discerning stripes or spots on it... just the lustrous black rind.

Japan - It's A Wonderful Rife has heard that the sweetness levels of the densuke is fantastic, but he does suppose that one could always dump a few packets of sugar onto a regular $2 watermelon for a diabetic buzz. 

My experience with melons is perhaps more recently achieved through my work with the so-called honeydew list. The honeydew is a melon, and honeydew is a play on words of 'honey, do this' or 'honey, do that' list.

Although, in my case it's more like: "Fix the leaky faucet, you fat-faced, lazy bastard!" 

Joke #2 over.

Here's a video below from You Tube  - in Japanese - showing the densuke watermelon in all its glory. 


Anyhow... there are over 50,000 of these watermelons out there. Most of them are being sold at around ¥25,000 ($322) for an average-sized watermelon, down to as little as ¥5,000 ($64) for a small one or so at department stores in and around the Tokyo area.

You know... if I was a foreigner living in Japan on the JET Programme in 2012, I would buy one and share it with my OBOE (Ohtawara Board of Education) office friends. I bet you that aside from the sweetness, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between it and any other melon.

But... for some reason, most of the Japanese people I have met seem to have superior tastebuds and could probably pick out a plethora of differences that would never even occur to my dull palate.   

The reason for the stupid price for the densuke watermelon in the video? It was the first one of the season and therefore is supposed to be the best tasting. 

Yubari King melon.
Now... lest you think that this price is through the roof - it's not.

Despite current media offering this news tidbit all over the world, you should know that back in June of 2008, the price for the same type of watermelon was ¥473,000 ($6,100) for a 17-pound watermelon from Hokkaido, which dwarfs the current price achieved.

In May of 2008, a pair of Yubari King (Cucumis melo) melons - cantaloupe melons, actually - were auctioned off for ¥2.5-million ($32,300) - which is a heck of a lot more than the high-priced black rind watermelons!

Yubari is a small town near Sapporo that was at one-time just a coal-producing place. Now it is famous for these good-looking cantaloupe.

Knock-knock
Who's there?
Cantaloupe.
Cantaloupe who? 
Cantaloupe without a woman.

Joke #3 over.

Who is buying these melons, and more importantly, why?     

Joke #4 continues.

Somewhere feeling melancholy, baby,
Andrew Joseph

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