Friday, November 13, 2009
The vending machines (and beverages) of Japan
In Japan, it's considered in poor taste to eat food in public. It is also rare to see anyone drinking something outside of a restaurant, although train platforms seem to be the one exception. This allows the thriving vending machine business to flourish. They don't allow the sale of used panties anymore (at least, my investigations led nowhere), so now beverages--both hot and cold--dominate the ample vending machine space in Japan.
There are vending machines with video screens teaching you how to buy a drink and vending machines that let you use your subway/bus pass to buy drinks:
There are beer vending machines that also serve alcopops:
There are milk vending machines, serving you milk flavored like melon or coffee in real glass bottles:
And perhaps most excitingly, the Japanese have finally mastered the art of heating plastic effectively to allow for bottles of hot tea, already mixed with milk and at least four tablespoons of sugar. The hot ones are helpfully labeled in red, although it took me about 5 cans of hot coffee on a warm day to figure this out.