Thursday, 26 June 2008

PostHeaderIcon Good Japan: Vending Machines

Vending Machines

コーラ - They sell Kora in Japan.

I'm never sure where to begin when I start these good v bad style posts. I basically get my ideas from walking around town and deciding what I like and don't like. Therefore, it may seem strange that my first positive mention about Japan is about nothing more than a vending machine.

When I left my hotel room in Tokyo almost a year ago, the first thing I noticed was the abundance of vending machines. They were absolutely everywhere. Every street that you walked down was illuminated by them. After a minute of admiring the new selection of drinks available I forgot about them and went and drunk some beer instead. However, I would some become acquainted with the machines again in the month that followed. My first few weeks in Japan were in the height of the summer and the heat/humidity was pretty intense. I would go out exploring quite often, be it cycling around my town or walking to some temples. It's hard to explain how often I desired to quench my thirst during this time. Luckily there are vending machines in the most remote places and I spent a fair amount of yen using them. I'm sure that in the whole of Japan you are only a few minutes walk from one. I still tend to use them quite often and in the winter they stocked hot coffee cans which were always a nice treat in the morning.

The drink vending machines are by far the most common but they're are also a variety of alcohol and cigarrette ones. I'm sure everyone has seen the latter in a pub back home but they have them out in the streets here. Anyone was free to buy them until about a month ago where they introduced an I.D card that you need to put in the machine. However, I think the alcohol machines are free from this new scheme. I'm sure there are a lot of delinguent teenagers back home that would love this. No more asking someone's big brother to get them a cheap bottle of cider out the local Spar. The larger cities also have a much larger selection of machines that include a lot more unsavoury item although I've never seen them.

I don't exactly love them... I just appreciate the conveinence of having them dotted around everywhere. Indeed, some could argue that they're an eyesore and that the evil corporate logos have now taken over even the most remote areas of the countryside. Also, for some reason it is almost impossible to find a vending machines that sells food. I once saw a machine in a hotel that sold hot food but there just aren't any that sell snacks or anything. It's probably for the best since I'm turning into such a pie.

I reckon when I go home I'm going to be desperate for a drink one day. I'll look about for a machine in vain but in the end I'll need to walk to a shop. Oh... the horror of interacting with people and waiting in a queue.


BigRoundBaby said...

Hey man, just came across your blog through and have to say I find your wee pieces incredibly entertaining. Japan is a place I would love to go and your insights are cool, hope you keep it up. Where are you from btw?

Ahoy hoy said...

Hello. Thanks for the comment. I come from Glasgow/East Kilbride in Scotland myself.

Japan is a pretty cool and interesting place. I think as long as people don't hold too much of a romanticised view of it then they can enjoy it.

BigRoundBaby said...

Aha, hence the Saltire in your main pic!! Hadnt registered that before. I am from Clydebank myself but living in Gothenburg, Sweden. Yeah, I look forward to reading more of your blogs, very dry witted at times.

Ahoy hoy said...


What are you doing in Sweden? have you noticed yourself becoming more Scottish now you've left? I was sick of it when I left but now I'm always left defending it in a sea of Americans, Aussies and Japanese.

BigRoundBaby said...

Im living here and shall be for possibly the rest of my life! Met a Swede in Glasgow 10 years ago (a saturday night in the artschool!), we had a couple of weans together and now the kids are of school age so here we are in Sweden with its infinitely better education system.

I know what you mean about Scottishness, I work in a large Irish bar with a mix of mostly Irish people, some aussies, English and what I call Plastic Paddy Swedes (these are the kind who speak with the most embarrassing Irish accents imaginable, but yet force me to repeat EVERYTHING i say to them, despite the fact that I pride myself on having an extremely clear, precise, albeit Scottish intonation. It drives me and my genuine Irish colleagues nuts)

I tend not to make a big deal now of my Scottishness, I find its pointless. I have a German friend who asked me in all seriousness to explain the significance of Scotland, ie what were we famous for etc etc, my reply was along the lines of "why dont you ask your Grandfather, seeing as he found my home town significant enought to bomb the fuck out of in WW2".

These days, I find it easier and more amusing to just clame EVERYTHING to be a Scottish invention. Australia? yeah we invented it. English breakfast? Yeah, that was us. First man on the moon? aye, went tae school with him, he was fae Duntocher. etc etc etc

Ahoy hoy said...

I've always fancied checking out Sweden although I heard the booze is expensive?

So... do Swedish people pretend to be Irish? Or is it Irish people who pretend to be super-Irish just because they're in another country?

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About Me

I am a 24 year old Scotsman currently teaching English to Japanese schoolchildren. I live in a small town on the east coast of Kochi prefecture.