It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Japan over three months and until now not done a blog entry on vending machines! Unless you’ve been here to see for yourself it’s hard to explain just how prominent vending machines are in Japanese society. You can be in the most remote location, on top of a mountain, on a bush walk or completely surrounded by rice fields and have no doubt about it that there will be one if not five vending machines all lined up waiting for you. I seriously have no idea how any of these vending machine companies make any money given that there might be 5-10 vending machines all lined up next to each other... it’s just pot luck which one gets your money depending on which one you pulled up closest to etc. Unlike back at home where vending machines are confined to food and drink you can actually buy pretty much anything in a vending machine here.
Alcohol vending machines are everywhere... you can buy beer right through to strong spirits – no ID required, cigarette vending machines are another common sight – again no need for ID. At various places along the side of the road there are even tin sheds that house vending machines selling adult magazines, DVDs and wait for it... eatable undies!!!
The most common vending machine is of course those for drinks and I guess given the huge array of drinks available in Japan that’s not surprising but it never fails to amaze us just how many of them there are and where they seem to pop up.
I would love to know the vending machine to people ratio here... I reckon it must be pretty close! The bonus of course is that if you get lost driving down a narrow rice field lined road in the middle of nowhere you know you there’s bound to be a vending machine or 10 close by to keep you company! We are looking forward to seeing what else we can find in a vending machine when we venture to some of the bigger cities... apparently the list is endless!