Pair of Japanese premium melons sell for record $29,300

A pair of Yubari melons, that fetched a record 3.2 million yen ($29,300) at an auction, are seen in Sapporo on May 26, 2018. The single pair of premium melons on May 26 fetched a record 3.2 million yen ($29,300) at an auction in Japan, where the produce can be a huge status symbol. (AFP)
Updated 26 May 2018
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Pair of Japanese premium melons sell for record $29,300

  • Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan with many being bought as a gift for friends and colleagues.
  • Ordinary fruit is comparatively expensive in Japan and it is not unusual for a single apple to cost as much as $3.

TOKYO: A single pair of premium melons on Saturday fetched a record 3.2 million yen ($29,300) at auction in Japan, where the fruit is regarded as a status symbol.
Seasonal fruit offerings in Japan routinely attract massive sums from buyers seeking social prestige, or from shop owners wanting to attract customers to “ooh and aah” over the extravagant edibles.
The winning bid was placed by a local fruit packing firm for the first Yubari melons to go under the hammer this year at the Sapporo Central Wholesale Market in northern Hokkaido, officials said.
The figure — enough to buy a new car in Japan — topped the previous record for the luxury fruit, which fetched 3.0 million yen two years ago.
“Yubari melons are growing well this year as sunshine hours have been long since early May,” said market official Tatsuro Shibuta.
Yubari melons are considered a status symbol in Japan — like a fine wine — with many being bought as a gift for friends and colleagues.
The best-quality Yubari melons are perfect spheres with a smooth, evenly patterned rind. A T-shaped stalk is left on the fruit, which is usually sold in an ornate box.
Even ordinary fruit is comparatively expensive in Japan and it is not unusual for a single apple to cost as much as $3.


Hot air balloons take flight over Austria for world championship

Updated 20 August 2018
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Hot air balloons take flight over Austria for world championship

  • Around 100 teams from more than 38 countries are taking part in the biennial event
  • Competitive ballooning test pilots’ skills in distance, speed and navigational precision

GROSS-SIEGHARTS, Austria: The northern Austrian sky was filled with colorful hot air balloons early on Monday morning as the sport’s world championship sailed into view.
Around 100 teams from more than 38 countries are taking part in the biennial event, which is being held in Gross-Siegharts near the Czech border.
Competitive ballooning test pilots’ skills in distance, speed and navigational precision, according to the World Air Sports Federation that oversees the sport.
Each flight is scheduled for 5am (0300 GMT) and 5pm when light winds usually allow for safer take off and landings. The event runs until Friday.