Thursday, May 12, 2011

SpyShopper-- The Melons Appear...

It's still raining... the neighbor's bearded irises are sagging a bit under the weight of accumulating raindrops.

I like my bike, but too many days in a row hauling to the store in the rain makes my shoulders droop as I trudge down the stairs.  Shoganai, ne...

Look what I found at the store today, though!

...ooh!  The water-
melons are here!  Any guesses as to how much a water-
melon costs in Japan?


This is the smallest size-- Y1280 (about $14 or $15 dollars given the current exchange rate)...

And the medium size?
Cleverly wrapped in pretty pink and white plastic twine for ease of carrying

...the medium size is Y1980-- over $20.  For a water-
Readers in Europe-- are watermelons this expensive in Europe?  As an American, this was the fruit that shocked me the first time I was in a grocery store.  Blinked, rubbed my eyes, closed one eye and carefully counted zeros and places...

But wait!  There's more!

The ones from the top photo, wrapped in blue, are the Large size...

Srsly.  Just put a decimal point in there if you're an American--and add a couple of extra dollars since the dollar is so weak against the yen right now.

But wait!  There's one more size!

The biggest size-- 2L, as it's called-- was Y2980.  Well over $30 American (what would it be in Euros? I don't think the yen is that strong against the Euro, but still... Y2980 is a darned expensive melon).

This is why I always get containers of pre-cut melon for Y398... *sigh*

Oh well... I probably couldn't get home with one on my bike anyway;-)


  1. Oh heavens!!! In Sweden I think watermelons are thought expensive (I think them expensive anyway, but not in comparison to the above1!!) In Sweden they are sold by the kilo: $2 a kilo. In Britain I don't know xD I've always thought checking the price superfluous as I'd never be able to carry one home -- I don't even have a bike ;_;

  2. Y2980 is about €26 right now. I cannot imagine paying that much for a melon. They're more expensive here than in the Midwest in the summer, but not that expensive. I'm trying to think about how much I paid last year for a little one, and I think it was about €4 (Y459). It was tiny and I felt a little ripped off, but next time I'll just think of the prices in Japan!

  3. Oh my goodness. I can't even imagine. Why are they so expensive?!

  4. In Germany those melons are around 1€ per kilo. Most of them are imported from Spain and Turkey, not really far away, thus they are cheap. A 2l watermelon would be considered average sized.
    Y2980 = €26 EEEK! I'd feel compelled to bow before each bite!

  5. To all who commented on this post-- gomen nasai! I'm sorry! Blogger had some kind of huge glitch and pulled posts down... this one is now back up, albeit sans comments, which appear not to have been saved anywhere. Grrrrr.... Bad Blogger, Bad! I didn't get a chance to respond to anybody's comments either:-(( I recall Monika (from Germany? Oder?), and Diana, ... and my admittedly bad memory fails again. Gomen! Please feel free to re-comment if you've the time--I will respond (provided Blogger doesn't get the hiccups again).

  6. I was wondering why I couldn't seem to find this post anywhere! So the hiccups were to blame... Well, I have those myself from time to time!

    In Sweden watermelons seem similarly priced to German watermelons ~SEK 15 a kilo, or ~$2 a kilo. I've always thought it a bit expensive, seeing how heavy they are; but heavens, that is nothing in comparison to Japanese prices!

    I have not checked the price of whole watermelons in England, as I have no means of bringing them home with me. I don't even have a bike! D:

    Why do you reckon Japanese watermelons are so expensive? And, I suppose, are the square ones for which the Japanese are famed, yet more expensive than the round ones? :D

  7. And also... Is "suika" Japanese for watermelon? c:

  8. Hi Josephine! Thanks for re-posting (sorry about that!). I haven't any idea why melons are so ridiculously expensive--except that they're probably grown (like many fruits here) in hot houses, and they only sell the really perfect-looking ones. Both of those factors must surely drive the price up. The square one are, indeed, even more expensive (I'll post a photo if we get any in our store:-))

    And, yes-- suika is watermelon! (Nihongo wo benkyo shiteimasu ka?:-))

  9. Haha, no problem! I am bit of a Luddite >_> So I mistrust computers and only wait for them to mess up so I can say: "Ah-ha!!!"

    Oh, I hadn't thought about that admirable passion the Japanese have for perfection... Though, I do have to say, it does take some of the fun out of rummaging through things to find the most perfect melon on sale -- because, yes, I *do* take pride in that! Of course, it does save time. So it's both good and bad, I suppose ;D

    Ummm... I understand the question, but I can't answer it in a grammatically sensible way? But yes, I have studied Japanese, but it was a long, long time ago. OuO I can read quite a lot of it, but I can't speak it; so it doesn't so me much good. I keep thinking I should take it up again; what's the use of knowing some words when I could learn more? A project for the summer, perhaps. c: (At least then I can learn it at my own pace, instead of feeling horrible for not understanding what a Japanese elderly woman is yelling at me [my teachers at university were... let's say, convinced everybody could learn at their pace if they just tried hard enough -- and were yelled at enough!]). Haha, not this one!

  10. Genau! Monika aus Deutschland. (Monika from Germany.) I wondered about the missing post too, looks like Google had problems with a software update, ooops, and they lost about 33hours worth of postings, even bigger and embarrasing ooops!

    Watermelons are cheap here, about €1 per Kilo, they are imported mostly from Spain and Turkey. A 2l melon would be considered average size here.
    Nothing better than an iced piece of watermelon when it's hot, so good and lowcal too.
    Y2980 are about €26! EEEEEEK! I'd feel compelled to bow at each bite.

  11. Hi Josephine-- know what you mean about waiting for computers to mess up... ;-)
    Yes--produce tends to be perfectly lovely (according to my mom, who gasped when she came shopping with me once and declared she'd never seen such beautiful produce), and somewhat expensive...especially considering how much produce they eat! Ah, well, I know which days things go on sale;-) No way those melons are going to be on sale enough for me to want to buy a whole one, though! Maybe if I took up a collection from the neighbors and we had a block party...

    Sara ni... nihongo no benkyou wo gambatte, ne, Josephine! Mo, yoku yomeru yo!

  12. Monika-- Danke sehr, dass Sie wieder geschreiben haben! I weiss gar nicht, was mit Google/Blogger los war... (Ich hab' Deutsch an der Uni studiert und war einige Jahre Deutschlehrerin...aber das ist schon lange her! Zu der Zeit, habe ich in Hamburg gewohnt--aber im Moment hab' ich wenige Chance auf Deutsch zu reden...)
    1 Euro per Kilo? Iiiii naaa... Like I said, I just buy it precut (paying about Y398 for four or five slices). I've never bought one of those insanely expensive melons, either... but I'd feel compelled to institute a Watermelon Ceremony before cutting and eating it!

  13. In Hamburg? Was für ein Zufall! Rate wo ich lebe! (Die deutschsprachigen Blogger duzen sich meistens, wenn das OK für dich ist.) Du hast nichts verlernt, dein Deutsch ist sehr sehr gut. Wenn Du eine Gelegenheit suchst, mal wieder etwas Deutsch zu schreiben, stehe ich gern zur Verfügung.

    I love Japanese food, I doubt I can get gobo here, I'd like to try it. Most other ingredients are easy to get: shoju, sake, mirin, miso etc. My current favorite is Oyakodon, easy to prepare and so yummie. I like other donburi style dishes as well. I'm too lazy to make my own sushi, though, but I've found a small restaurant/take out, the sushi is devine. Expensive, but well worth it. It's strange that Japan now gets equated with expensive, when there was a time when Made in Japan ment about the same as Made in China now.

  14. Monika-- Du wohnst in Hamburg? Echt? Toll-- wirklich zufällig! Ist mir ganz OK, uns zu Duzen--ich wusste nicht, ob man am Anfang Duzt oder Siezt auf dem Internet... Wenn es Dir OK ist, versuch' ich mal auf Deinem Blog einen Kommnet zu lassen...

    Hmmm... if there are any Japanese or Asian markets near you, they would likely carry gobo since it ships and keeps well. Oyakodon mo suki desu ka! Oishii, ne! My husband and kids love that, too:-) And...I'm too lazy to make my own sushi, too. We go to grandma's to eat that. Or out. It is funny, isn't it, that Japan=expensive, when for a long time it equalled "cheap" for many people.