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Custom watermelons in Japan

Japanese consumers are used to paying through the nose for fruit, and now there’s another way for them to empty their wallets: cube- and heart-shaped watermelons.

This pricey produce, however, is not intended to tempt taste buds. It’s more of an ornament than the perfect picnic food.

Over at the Shibuya Nishimura luxury fruit shop in downtown Tokyo, a cube-shaped watermelon, about the size of a baby’s head, sells for 12,960 yen (U.S. $105).

Don’t like cubes? Well, how about a heart- or pyramid-shaped melon to sit on that chic living room coffee table?

“This fruit is meant to be a feast for your eyes, but they don’t taste very good,” admitted the shop’s senior managing director, Mototaka Nishimura. “They should be displayed as ornaments, maybe mixed with flowers.”

Farmers plant young watermelons inside acrylic containers to get the desired shape.

While the price may sound high, it’s actually something of a bargain in Japan where people traditionally exchange gifts, including expensive fruit, with clients and relatives a couple of times a year.

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