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.


  1. We need daily postings. Stop slacking off.

  2. With all this street food, is it still "de Trop" to eat in public? There is something comical about that since Japan is notorious for public drunkeness. Do people often take their food away to eat inside?
    I remember well sipping delicious noodle soup on a country train platform. In Kobe a kindly woman gave me sweet bean paste on a stick. I recall with shame I barely concealed my revulsion at the glurinous texture.

  3. I meant "glutinous" texture.

  4. They NEVER eat in public! It's considered very low class, apparently. It is so frustrating. I think train platforms are mostly exempt as are trains that you can reserve a seat on. Because they don't eat in public though, there's no litter and no trash cans anywhere.