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Saturday, July 9, 2016

Japanese Grapes Sell for ¥1.1 million

Yes, Japan is infamous for some pretty outrageous prices paid for freshly caught seafood—but one Japanese shop owner decided he would essentially pay the equivalent of  ¥36,666.67 or US $364 for one grape.

Now… the gentleman—Konishi Takamaru (surname first - I think) didn’t just by a single grape, no, no, no. He bought 30 Ruby Roman grapes on the vine—a whole bunch—paying the auction price of  ¥1.1 million (US $10,920).

While such numbers pale in comparison to those shelled out for a select tuna, we are still talking about a mere 30 grapes.

The ¥1.1 million is a record price for the Ruby Roman grape—a fruit variety that is considered by the Japanese to be a status symbol.

Honestly, if someone started selling poop for ¥1.1 million, Japanese status seekers would be lining up to get their hands on it. Hmmm… I think I have an idea forming in the back of me head (sp.. or is it gp for grammar?).

Now… for ¥1.1 million, you might wonder how anyone could possibly get their money’s worth? You can’t crush them up and make a wine or a fruit drink because there’s not enough in your 30-grape bunch to do so.

You could eat them. You might not think they would be filling, but each Ruby Roman grape is the size of a ping-pong ball, and as anyone who has ever eaten a ping-pong ball can attest, they are pretty filling. 

Seriously… how many ping-pong balls can you put in your mouth? Okay, I mean I did know this one woman who could stuff 16 ping-pong balls up in her… er, never mind. 

The Ruby Roman grapes seems to have more rules as to what actually constitutes a Ruby Roman grape than breeds at a dog show.


To be a Ruby Roman table grape, the grapes must—MUST!—be grown in Isikawa-ken (Ishikawa Prefecture) in Japan. Each grape must weight at least 20 grams and contain a sugar content of at least 18%.

Every grape is checked to ensure quality and has a certification seal placed on those that make the grade.

Hells bells, there is even a special “Premium Class” of Ruby Roman grapes where each individual grape must have a weight OVER 30 grams and the entire fruit bunch MUST weigh at least 700 grams.

The Ruby Roman grape made its official debut as a new variety of premium grape in Japan in 2008, and was given its Ruby Roman moniker after a public referendum back in 2004. The grapes are an off-shoot of the Fujiminori grape variety.

FYI: In 2010, according to Wikipedia, only six grapes (bunches) qualified for the premium status. Zero made the grade in 2011.

This is marketing at its best.  

Speaking of marketing… the grape auction is the beginning of Japan’s silly season as we will, I am sure, see some stupidly high prices paid for other types of fruits and vegetables.

The Japanese really seem to like their melons (I like Japanese melons.. wait… what am I writing about?), as the not-so-humble melon is also seen as a status symbol in Japan, just like a bottle of win is to others.

Yeah… you can go away on vacation in Japan and bring back your boss a present (apparently you should do this—I didn’t, because not being from Japan, I didn’t know of this Japanese tradition; didn’t have the money to do so; and really, it’s my vacation—can’t I be selfish?) like a box of Kit Kats (see HERE), some rice crackers for the whole office, maybe a tin of green tea, or a bottle of whiskey or sake… but just note that bringing back an expensive melon… well… that’s a high-ranking gift that could help you get all the booty you want.

Kanpai,
Andrew (Just kidding about the booty) Joseph
PS: The melon is a high-ranking present, however. Stick to the rice crackers. You probably aren’t that rich. 

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