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October 24, 2005



Sooooo true! Quite an interesting article. I'm surprised at how expensive they quoted the watermelons as being though - because you can get smallish ones for about $5 in Korea, and you would never pay more than about $10 for a sizeable one. It sounds like the writer has either found Korea's most expensive watermelon, or just made up the price thinking that it was the same as in Japan (where they really can cost that right??).

Anyhow, the Korean's have a stew called 'Military Stew', that was apparently popular with the American military during the war. It contains spam as well as small sausages (weiners?), and the obligatory kimchi and one or two other things. I wonder now though whether it was the soup that was popular amongst the Americans, or just the spam itself. The soup may subsequently have been developed in order to use this new exciting yet cheap meat product. To be honest, its actually pretty tasty in the stew and in the kimbab (not technically sushi - but rice and stuff wrapped up in seaweed nevertheless), though I can't eat a lot of it. Perhaps the Koreans have simply discovered the best ways to eat Spam...


I think the article mentions having a stem atttached to the watermelon, which is similar to the $100 melons that are prized for their perfect round shape and often have the stem attached as well. These are often given as gifts during chugen, which is one of the two gift giving seasons in Japan-beginning of the summer and in the winter, I think. The Japanese do this to solidify bonds between customers/clients in business. Other popular gifts are alcohol-whisky or beer box sets that you can buy in department stores, which is where they describe the $100 watermelon in Korea, which is probably given during this gift giving season. And price in Asia(everywhere?) denotes status-the more expensive the more impressive right?


Well, since Spam is such a post- Korean war delicacy, my family and I happily boycott eating it so others can enjoy more. I consider myself having sacrificed my happiness for the good of the rest of the Korean population. Whew!


SPAM is very popular in Hong Kong...Folks there eat that for breakfast, lunch, high tea, dinner and like supper.


That melon sounds like a honeydew melon, and may be a little more expensive - but there's no way a melon of any sort would cost more than about 10USD in Korea. I think they made that bit up - but the rest of the article sounds about right. Jeleesan told me that spam is not really a high class gift. Their family doesn't give it, but they do receive some. She was also telling me that some Korean farms are dedicated to growing the extra sweet watermelons that are sold in Japan at v high prices. They have a scientific way of determining which are the sweetest melons(and so most expensive), which are then selected for export. I wonder what the mark up must be - quite a lot I expect.


How many times do we have to be victimized by the uniformed reporting of innacurate Asian cultural stereotypes? $100 dollar Korean watermelons and Spam as a high class gift both sound sketchy.

People can get hurt, I didn't realize Japan was in fact actually a matriarchal society until *after* I got married.

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