I got this tip from my friend "B." about this really cool cultural phenomenon in Japan that deserves closer inspection. No, it's not Dance Dance Revolution. There is a symbiotic relationship between the urban denizens of Japan and their rural neighbors that centers around the concept of getting really, really fresh produce to their tables every day. They even have a phrase for it--"chisan-chishou"--which means "grow locally, consume locally." For years I've heard this mantra from vegetarians, the idea that you should eat the foods that come from the soil in your area, that it's better for your overall health. From the few positive experiences I've had growing my own vegetables they always taste so much better than what you get in the supermarket. I've read about the apocryphal $50 cantaloupe in sites that talk about chisan-chishou, but that's the blue-ribbon loupe that you give to the boss as a gift. Man, those wacky Japanese and their weird concepts of symmetry and aesthetic beauty -- oh, yeah, and damn fine, fresh produce!
Here is a great article from LiveScience.com on the subject.