Welcome to the world of Japanese vending machines. These mechanical marvels serve a rather odd collection of things. Some are mundane while others are interesting but never is it the conventional stuff. You can get manga from a machine or a bread or in a can! You could even get pirated game cartridges or illicit substances too. The possibilities are simply endless.
Are you stuck with the idea of bread in a can? Well, bread is delicious isn’t it but is it the same thing as a bread stuffed in a can? Yes! In Japan it is considered a tasty treat and canned bread sells rather well from vending machines. In fact any old junk that is packed away in storage can be vended, not just restricted to perishable food products.
Coming back to the notion of vending machines in Japan, they originally surfaced in the country as drink machines (like everywhere else). However, in the decades that followed the release of such soft drink vending machines, the idea started to veer way off course. Today, Japan proudly boasts of having the highest concentration of vending machines per square inch.
As time went by people understood that they could actually put anything inside these machines. This was before the time of convenience stores. Because of the easy availability of such machines and the wares they sold, vending machines became a staple sight throughout the country.
Now there are sufficient convenience stores in the country and yet vending machines play an integral part of the culture. Just like unmanned fruit and vegetable stands that serve a rather useful purpose, vending machines have their place in society too.
So, what are the unusual and unique things that a vending machine in Japan has dispensed over the years? Before you laugh or get all confused, remember that Japanese folks too find many of the things rather unusual.
Let’s begin with the curious items some vending machines in Japan were designed for. If you visit a Buddhist Monastery you can actually find vending machines that dispense amulets! Likewise, fish bait near harbors and glasses for computer use.
Coming to the truly awkward or weird things that some vending machines were designed for, bras, pornography magazines, pirated game cds, sake bottles, batteries and the likes.