Visitors to Japan will encounter many strange and wonderful sights, from thousand-year-old temples and five-stories pagodas to vending machines that manage to take up less than ten inches of space along narrow Tokyo streets. While prices in Japan are often quite reasonable -- we took nine J-List staff members out for Indian Curry and naan bread to welcome a new employee today, and it only cost $100 -- the opposite is sometimes true. For example, virtually all forms of media are pricier in Japan than they are in the U.S., with music CDs still costing around $30, and a video game in a ge-sen (game center) setting you back $2. Gas is expensive, too, currently up to $6.25 a gallon or so. Then there are those mysterious honeydew melons you see in produce shops which cost a mind-blowing $60-80. Japan being Japan, there's more to this high price tag than meets the eye, and these high-end fruits are nearly always purchased as gifts for individuals who have helped you out recently, given to bosses to butter them up for larger bonuses, or exchanged between companies. The bar for ridiculously priced fruits was raised this week, when a pair of exquisite melons from Yubari, Hokkaido (the Mecca of melons in Japan) fetched an unbelievable $24,000 at auction. The high purchase price helps local melon farmers doubly because the news generated by the new price record will no doubt generate a lot of extra interest in these high-grade melons all season long.