Sunday, December 13, 2009
An Obsession with Japanese Vending Machines
I just told Paul that I was in the process of writing a post about the vending machines of Japan, and I asked if he had anything to add.
"Just that they're awesome," he replied, pausing for a beat before adding that the rest of the world should aspire to Japan's level of accessibility and convenience.
There's no doubt that the vending machines in Japan are both accessible and convenient. You could be in seemingly the remotest part of town, and you'd still be a stone's throw from a vending machine-- or more likely, a row of vending machines.
Japan's vending machines aren't like those in America. Japan has so many more options. Cold drinks, hot drinks, coffee, even beer ... how can you ever choose? So at first Paul stuck with the tried and true: an all-American Coca-Cola.
It didn't take long to branch out. Our hotel had a short hallway filled with soup, pop and beer available for a few coins.
And, of course, Paul had to sample the coffee purely because it was endorsed by Tommy Lee Jones. Says Paul: "I'll now know him as the "Boss" forevermore. He's an example to salarymen everywhere."
There was more fun to come. In Kyoto, Paul got the side-eye from three teens or twenty-somethings when he paused to take a photo of a vending machine selling batteries.
And in Hiroshima, Joe introduced Paul to two more drinks. One literally had hunks of grape gelatin inside, and you had to shake the can before consuming. Another was a red bean soup-drink, with big globs of the beans inside. Paul thought it was disgusting, but I thought it was rather tasty. Although it was annoying to get those last few beans through the lip of the can.
Still, we weren't even close to sampling everything Japan's vending machine's had to offer. Who doesn't want "50 lemons' worth of Vitamin C in every can"?