Last year, a cluster of Ruby Roman grapes sold for $900 US dollars. If you are among those who think that was ridiculous, you won’t believe this year’s first bunch which were auctioned off for an astounding 210,000 yen or $2,250!

Fruit is an expensive commodity in Japan and is considered a gift of great luxury. The wealthy consider it a sign of prestige to pay exorbitant prices for high-end fruits, especially the very first ones of the year.

The Ruby Roman is a variety of table grape, which is red in color and about the size of a ping-pong ball. Its one unusual feature appears to be the price it fetches.

A bracelet from Tiffany’s or something of that ilk for the same amount of cold hard cash would certainly last a lot longer than a cluster of grapes, one would think, but then there’s no accounting for taste when “keeping up with the Jones family” takes its own particular hold on one’s thinking.

Local farmers are hoping to sell 1,500 bunches, the equivalent of one ton of grapes by mid-September. Just do the math on that one, if you dare!

A Japanese hotel manager did dare to do the math and paid what comes out to be about $70 dollars per grape for a one-and-one-half pound of Ruby Roman grapes.

He hopes that the publicity surrounding the auction and his purchase will attract even more guests to his upscale hotel. Can you imagine what he will charge them for just a taste of one of these? (And he better hurry. No one likes sour grapes at any cost!)

“We believe the price was probably a record high. They’re delicious, sweet but fresh at the same time, very well balanced,” said local agricultural official, Hirofumi Isu.

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M Dee Dubroff is the penname of this freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A writer of ghostly and horror fiction, she has branched out into the world of humorous non fiction writing and maintains eight web sites covering a wide variety of topics. She also writes feature articles for several local newspapers. Her book entitled: A Taste of Funny, and her website, Eat, Drink And Really Be Merry ( feature many well researched and humorous articles on the subject of food and drink.