Friday, March 31, 2017

Melon-Choly March

A new headline has popped up Signifiant Digits for Tuesday, March 28 2017.  SIGD18 is the name and it is the website, 'a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news'.  They tell us that:

The Canadian gold maple leaf coin stolen from the Bode Museum in Germany was worth about $4.5million in gold weighing 221 pounds.

45 million British one-pound coins are suspected to be fake.  There are 1.5 billion rolling out into circulation to counter this counterfeiting.

$27,000 is the amount paid for a pair of muskmelons in Japan.  This is a long article with much to say about the tradition of  ceremonial gift giving in Japan.  The article is in Slate:

"By all accounts, Japan’s obsession with luxury fruits begins with Sembikiya, the country’s largest and oldest high-end fruit provider. So, ahead of a trip to Japan last fall, I emailed Sembikiya to see about arranging an interview at their flagship store in Nihonbashi, a tony part of downtown Tokyo that’s home to luxury hotels, lacquer bowl purveyors, and washi paper boutiques.

When I arrive in the marble lobby of the high-rise to which I’d been directed, I pass back and forth in front of what appears to be a jewelry store before finally realizing it is Sembikiya. Dark, polished wood and sheer curtains line the walls, and sparkling chandeliers shaped like exploding snowflakes twinkle overhead. Glass display cases hold meticulous rows of fruit tended by prim women in starched black uniforms and berets ready to share anecdotes about the sweetness of the pears ($19 each), or Sekai-ichi apples ($24 each). Middle-aged women with Chanel bags and teased up-dos inspect plump, jade-colored Seto grapes swaddled in crisp white paper, while their husbands admire the altarlike case of muskmelons at the center of the floor, each one perched on its own wooden box lined with mint-colored paper ($125 each). Each fruit species boasts its own full-color brochure with tasting notes to rival those for first-growth Bordeaux. “The skin is thin, while the seedless pulp is moderately firm,” reads the card for the Suiho grape. Eaters can savor a “delicate sweetness and aroma with a refreshing aftertaste.”

The spring flowers have started, with daffodils, crocuses, iris, snow drops, hellebores (Christmas rose, Lenten rose) blooming in the garden.  
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