Japan! Land of the Rising Sun, home of Mt. Fuji, the bullet train, baseball legend Ichiro Suzuki, and more culinary distractions than you can shake a bottle of sake at. Whether it's sushi and yakitori that you're into, or experimental Kit-Kats and vending machines, there's something for just about any particular taste or craving you might find yourself having from Tokyo to Osaka. But what of the gourmand who prefers rare and expensive fruit? Are they welcome in Japan? Not only are they welcome, they're encouraged.
The Yubari King is a special variety of cantaloupe. It's produced, naturally, in the Yubari region of Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island. The melon is known for its sweetness as well as being expensive. Case in point recently, a pair sold for 3 million yen, which is around $27,000, at an auction at a wholesale market.
"Is there B-roll?" you're asking yourself. Reader, there is B-roll.
Now, that's not the usual price for Yubari Kings, though previous auctions have ended with bidding near that price. Fortunately, for anyone wandering around Japan with slightly less than 3 million yen, McDonald's Japan just introduced a Hokkaido melon shake that costs only 200 yen for large.
Fruit has a unique standing in Japanese culture as it's an important part of most people's diets, it's also an important part of gift-giving, according to CNN, as gifting someone fruit is a sign of respect. The fruits are cultivated with meticulous practices, which is how you end up with a strawberry the size of a tennis ball or a square watermelon wrapped in a bow, or the rare Ruby Roman grapes that can sell for about $300 a grape because so few are produced.
And all this time I thought honey dew was the money melon.