If the refrigerator (that comes with your room, whenever you stay at one of any of the 20+ Comfort Hotels in Japan), looks a little empty, it isn’t because I bought cherries. It’s because the food here is so good. It doesn’t remain long in the refrigerator.
But, occassionally, I miss the food I had back in America. So I have to go on a little excursion.
What I discovered, is that pretentious foreigners do a lot to misrepresent Japan to the world—-and so therefore hurt Japan in the world.
You’ve heard stories, like: “oh my God!!!!! OH MY GOD!!!! Food is soooooo expensive in Japan! A watermelon costs A HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS! Cherries cost . . . ” and you fill in the blank with some out-of-this-world figure. (One that sounds like it came right out of the movie, “Soylent Green.”)
Well, the cherries you see there are a little over one pound (500 grams). I bought them within the city limits of Tokyo—the alleged “outrageously expensive city”—and they weren’t on sale.
At current exchange rates, I paid about $4.50.
Sure, are they cheaper in Somerville right now? Yes. But do they sell in America, early in the season or off-season, for $4.50 a pound? Yes. If you love cherries, do you buy them then? Yes.
Now here is the secret: if you go to a very fashionable store in a fashionable area of Tokyo,
a store that caters to tourists, (with a lot of English speakers),
you probably can buy $9 or $10 a pound cherries.
These people who write for the New York Times, or expats who worked in Japan and never bothered to learn a little Japanese or interact with the native population, THEY are the ones bringing back the stories of out-of-this-world prices. In part, they didn’t do their homework (they didn’t go to a local store in a residential Japanese neighborhood). And part of it, I think, was to show what big shots they were, to have lived in the outrageously expensive country.
So I am going to brag to you about how you can buy fruit in Japan for about the same price as New Jersey. On a sidewalk fruit stand in front of a local shopping center.
If you are willing to put on walking shoes and investigate Japan.