Who Actually Buys A Portable Watermelon Cooler for $230? We Did!

(This article was originally posted in Japanese at 00:00 July 29, 2010)

So it's officially summer and summer means watermelon season. In Japan "Suikawari" (watermelon splitting) is a popular beach party game in which a blindfolded person tries to to smash a watermelon with a stick. But how do you bring a watermelon to the beach? Watermelons definitely taste better cool, but one huge watermelon can hog your cooler, plus it's heavy.....or something along the line must have been the reasoning behind the invention of "Marugoto Tama-chan" (lit. Whole Ball-chan), a portable watermelon cooler specifically designed to transport a whole ball of watermelon while keeping it cool.

Allegedly the watermelon cooler can also heat stuff, but 19,950 yen (about $230) sounds a bit too pricy. Who pays $230 for a watermelon cooler? Is it really worth it?

Here's our review!

(Japanese)JOYBOND Marugoto Tama-chan

Things can be quite expensive in Japan compared to other countries, but 19,950 yen for this absurdity sounds extravagant even for us Japanese. Luckily, when we asked if we can buy one to review and put it down to expenses our boss was all "Go for it!", so we ordered one online.

It arrived in this box.


Perfectly rounded. Most Japanese watermelons are spherical rather than oval-shaped.

Put this plate in the bottom if you want flat surface to cool(or heat) something other than watermelon. A nicely refrigerated birthday cake making a grand entrance to a beach party might be great.

Double-layered dome.

With a small front wheel and two bigger back wheels, like a vacuum cleaner.


Cooler/heater switch and power jack.

Power cords for wall socket and in-car cigarette lighter port.

Six LEDs for added futuristic effect.

Looks sort of like a baby walker, but it's actually quite heavy. Weighs 6.3kg (14lb).

Comes with this net to easily handle your watermelon.

So we fitted the net around a watermelon, placed it in "Tama-chan" and took a walk around the neighbourhood.

The handle was a bit too short for a 5'9"(176cm) person, which makes you stoop, and you have to walk funny to avoid kicking the device. Not quite the easy stroll we'd expected. And the front wheel is too small to smoothly glide over some bumps.
YouTube - Walking with Portable Watermelon Cooler "Marugoto Tama-chan"

Pulling it was a bit easier than pushing, but the bigger wheels don't turn so it's hard to maneuver around corners.

The portability was not exactly fabulous, but what about the cooling ability? We used this thermometer to measure internal temperature of the watermelon.

Our watermelon was bought and kept in room temperature. Before chilling, inner temperature of the watermelon was 24 degrees Celcius.

Let's start cooling!

It took Tama-chan three hours to bring the watermelon's temperature down just one degree. So if you like your watermelon chilled to the core, you should cool it in the fridge beforehand and use Tama-chan as a means to keep it cool on the go, unless your drive to the beach takes days; in that case, Tama-chan should be able to chill it on the way, powered by the cigarette lighter socket.

All in all, Marugoto Tama-chan watermelon cooler is not very practical, certainly not a necessity of life, but we must admit it has its charms. After braving a walk around the neighbourhood with Tama-chan, you might sort of get attatched to it and regard it as a pet. It gives you this urge to show it off to friends, and motivates you to go outside and have fun. Afterall, you'd need to go on a camping trip or dozen to get the money's worth.

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in Video,   Review, Posted by darkhorse_log