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Japanese Vending Machine Sells Underpants for Water Bottles

Japanese Vending Machine Sells Underpants for Water Bottles

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Super-absorbent bottle panties work like coasters, look like panties

Tiny underpants will keep your water bottle from dripping on the table.

During the summer, it is always a good idea to carry around a bottle of water or another cool beverage with which to keep hydrated. But apparently a lot of people in Japan aren't keeping their bottles properly dressed, so a vending machine company has come to the rescue with a special line of panties for bottles.

According to Rocket News 24, the panties for bottles are exactly what they sound like: tiny little fashionable panties that look just like women’s underpants, except they are designed to be put on a bottle of water or other beverage. Ostensibly, the underpants function like a coaster. They are made of a super absorbent material — thus, a bottle wearing underpants will not drip condensation on the table when a person sets it down. Still, that person's beverage will be wearing tiny underpants, and in most cases that is quite a bit more embarrassing than leaving a puddle on the table.

The water bottle panties sell for $1.70 a pair from vending machines and are available in six colors: blue stripes, leopard print, pink polka dots, strawberry print, frilly lace, and plain white cotton with a little pink bow.

The bottle panties are produced by Kitan Club, which produces all kinds of random novelties for vending machines. They might have finally outdone themselves with the bottle panties, though.

In Praise of the Vending Machine

Why you should think twice before turning your nose up at the ol&rsquo vending machine.

They’re around every corner in the airport when you need a quick slug of caffeine. They’re in the break room when you’ve forgotten your lunch and spy a package of peanut butter crackers calling your name. They never have a line that’s too long, and never makes you wait for a table. Yes, vending machines are a trusty ally that continue to play an outsized role in how we snack and sip throughout the day. Often overlooked, but always reliable, these friendly food and drink dispensers are constantly there in a pinch𠅊nd it’s time they get the credit they deserve.

The first coin-operated vending machine was created in London during the late 1880s as a means of selling postcards. The concept soon caught on in the United States, where the Thomas Adams Gum Company used the technology to begin selling packets of gum to commuters on train platforms in New York. Since then, vending machines have grown to sell everything from classic goods—like Pringles and Snickers bars—to some downright impressive (and strange) things in our modern era. They’re on street corners in small towns, in hospitals and auto dealerships, and in many cases, public schools. I remember the middle school thrill of getting a Fruitopia from a hallway vending machine, my crumpled-up dollar bill finally accepted by the persnickety machine. (Never would I have imagined then that, years later, I𠆝 be getting a tiny bottle of champagne from a vending machine in London.)

Today, vending machine makers seem determined to prove that literally anything can be created and dispensed via the power of mechanics. China has a vending machine for live crab. There’s a burrito vending machine in Los Angeles, and wildly popular pizza vending machines across Italy. Pecan pies are all the vending machine rage in Cedar Creek, Texas, and there are multiple companies around the world𠅏rom Russia to France—that have created their own version of a French fry vending machine, complete with condiments. What a city or country decides to prioritize by putting in a vending machine is something of a cultural litmus test for what foods they see as being the most deeply engrained in society.

But the place that excels at vending machine wackiness head and shoulders above the rest is Japan. With over five million vending machines nationwide, there’s a little something for everyone when it comes to what they stock. There are uber-popular beer and sake vending machines, and slightly-less-popular mackerel soup vending machines. There are vending machines for apples, and vending machines for crepes. Veering out of food, there are even underwear and necktie vending machines. The Japanese know all too well that the convenience of the vending machine cannot be overstated.

So while in the United States we still largely associate vending machines with cartoon tropes (like Homer Simpson getting his hand stuck while trying to steal candy), it’s time we adopt a Japanese level of reverence. There’s a food holiday for just about everything now, so why not launch National Vending Machine Day? I guarantee everyone would have a story about a time a vending machine—whether old-fashioned or new-fangled�me through for them.

10 Vending Machines You Can Only Find in Japan

Japan is a vending machine heaven! Called jidōhanbaiki (自動販売機) in Japanese, vending machines can be found all over cities, towns and even in the countryside. And, there’s much more than just drinks for sale… here is a list of 10 crazy vending machines you can only find in Japan!

1. Umbrella Vending Machines

The idea of an umbrella vending machine is as practical as it is unique! When people are suddenly caught in the middle of an unprotected storm, or they accidentally left their umbrella behind somewhere, Japan’s umbrella vending machines are sure to be a lifesaver. Some machines dispense umbrellas for as little as 450 yen, but most are about 1000 – 1200 yen.

Photos: TheJapans & Japan Info

2. Hamburger Vending Machines

Get your fast food fix! If you thought drive-throughs were convenient, why not try a hamburger vending machine? These vending machines selling hot hamburgers were so popular, they were even featured on Japanese TV. Insert a few hundred yen and wait 60 seconds for the burger to be heated, and you’ll be ready to dig in.

Photos: BIKKURI JAPAN on Twitter

3. Condom Vending Machines

These vending machines are more common than you might think! For the sake of consumer convenience, many vending machines sell items that could either be embarrassing to buy from a store or embarrassing to run out of. This includes things like condoms. You can find these machines all over Japan, and some of them are even “strategically” placed outside of liquor stores. Prices, colors, sizes, etc. will vary of course, but the condoms usually sell for about 500 – 600 yen.

4. Tights/Pantyhose Vending Machines

Have a rip in your pantyhose because of a nasty fall down the stairs at the office? Did you just find three holes in your pantyhose at the back of your calf? Don’t fret! This vending machine will hopefully be right around the corner of your office building for you to save yourself from embarrassment.

5. Egg Vending Machines

If you’re talking a walk in one of Japan’s quieter towns, you may be lucky enough to stumble upon one of these large, refrigerated egg vending machines. Not only are they stocked almost daily by local farmers, but you can also choose between one egg, a couple eggs, or even an entire carton! Because they’re fresh, they’re sure to be delicious. And, they’ll likely be a great price too.

Photos: japantravelmate & Life in Rural Japan

6. Ramen Vending Machines

If you haven’t realized it by now, vending machines selling all kinds of foods are readily available in Japan. So of course, it makes sense that there would be a vending machine dedicated to Japan’s most popular food: ramen! Some dispense cups of instant ramen, and others present more high-quality bowls, but they all have one thing in common: insert your cash, wait a moment, and you will be served with some hot, delicious ramen in a matter of moments! Prices vary from just 120 yen for an instant cup to over 1000 yen for a bowl with toppings!

Photo: This Beautiful Day blog

7. Surgical Mask Vending Machines

Unlike the vast majority of Western countries, in many Asian countries, and especially Japan, it is quite common to wear surgical masks during day-to-day life. This is due to the fact that Japanese people go to great lengths to promote cleanliness and prevent germs especially during cold and flu season! You will also see many people wearing masks on during kafunsho (pollen allergy season), or when the air quality is particularly low that day.

If you’re out and about and find yourself with a slight cough, or are in a crowded place like a subway and want to protect yourself from germs, then it’s always a good idea to pop on a surgical mask. No convenience store nearby? Then, one of these surgical mask vending machines could certainly be of use. They’re pretty cheap too – only about 200 yen.

8. Fish Broth Vending Machines

When getting a drink from a vending machine in Japan, be sure that its not actually soup or broth! There are vending machines where you can buy dashi, which is soup broth. Dashi stock is used widely in Japanese cooking, and it is often made from kombu (kelp) or katsuobushi (dried smoked bonito flakes). It can also be made from mushrooms or in this case, fish.

In this particular machine, the top row of bottles are just regular cold water, and the bottom row is ago dashi (あごだし), or broth made from flying fish!

9. Cigarette Vending Machines

Although this might be unheard of in some other countries, vending machines selling cigarettes are everywhere in Japan. There are over 600,000 machines throughout Japan! You can purchase a pack of cigarettes from one of these machines for a couple hundred yen.

To buy cigarettes from vending machines, you are required to have a taspo card. This identification card certifies the holder as being at least 20 year old, which is the age requirement for purchasing cigarettes in Japan. There is no need for a taspo card, however, when buying cigarettes over the counter at convenience stores.

10. Underwear Vending Machines

And of course, this vending machine selling panties is going to be on the list. It is a common misconception that the underwear vending machines in Tokyo sell used underwear – but this isn’t true. They did exist in the back alleys of Akihabara, about 10 or 15 years ago, but the law is strict now. Some shops around here sold used panties – not necessarily in vending machines – but the police cracked down on them. Today, the underwear-selling vending machines are more of a gag gift than a strange fetish. And, for just 1000 yen, you can get your very own!

Photo: Interesting Engineering

For more about Japan’s vending machines (not just the crazy ones), check out our post here.

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Japan's new 'disaster aid' vending machine (video)

In an effort towards more eco-friendly alternatives, a new hand cranked vending machine has been revealed in Japan. Although its designed for primarily blackouts, it could also find a use as an emergency aid.

By Hana Stewart-Smith for Unboxing Asia | March 21, 2012 -- 10:56 GMT (03:56 PDT) | Topic: Government

Japanese vending machine maker Sanden revealed its new eco-friendly, hand cranked vending machine this month. Ostensibly designed to work during blackouts, particularly in the wake of earthquakes and aftershocks, the new machine has the potential to be an extremely useful emergency aid.

Japan has thousands of vending machines, and you've no doubt heard of some of the stranger variations that you would never find anywhere else. Banana dispensers, underwear dispensers and vending machines that scan your face.

At the end of 2010 there was an estimated 5 million vending machines all over Japan, and with companies like Asashi planning to roll out new Wi-Fi hotspot vending machines, that number is only getting bigger.

Within a minute's walk of my apartment, for example, there are 5 vending machines alone. As a result I am in no danger of running out of quick, convenient soft drinks or cans of coffee.

Following the disastrous Tohoku earthquake last March, Japan underwent rolling blackouts and power shortages as it recovered. A year on from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and Japan has only 2 of its 54 reactors online. That is only 4.6 percent of full capacity.

With these discussions in the air, Sanden's hand cranked vending machine seems like a logical step towards fixing a real problem in Japan.

The machine takes 70 rotations to power up, and can dispense six or seven bottles before needing to be charged again.

Many have commented that this unfortunately means many customers could get tired out and thirsty just trying to reach their drink, and it would definitely make the machine off putting outside of power shortages.

Sister site CNET commented: "You'd probably still be thirsty after all that cranking. The only thing to do, however, is keep cranking."

Commuters are not likely to choose the machine over quicker alternatives, which suggests to me that the vending machine's functionality might be limited. Except for those who are serious about energy conservation, the entire idea of a quick effortless drink gets mitigated by having to sweat for it.

In cases of emergencies, however, a hand-cranked vending machine could become essential.

It might seem as though soft drinks and canned coffee would be at the bottom of people's priorities in the event of a natural disaster. However, bear in mind that vending machines are also likely become a convenient source of water and snacks with lengthy expiry dates.

A smashed vending machine is often visual shorthand for the aftermath of a disaster, and it doesn't surprise me that the Japanese would find a way to make that easier and more civilized.

This machine is obviously designed to be primarily used during blackouts, but also to function as just another machine. You still have to pay for your drinks like any other, and the energy efficiency rarely outweighs convenience.

I'm not suggesting that during energy shortages people shouldn't have to pay for their drinks, but it did make me wonder if the creators aren't missing an opportunity to use the machine as a disaster aid.

If they could get government backing, having a hand cranked machine to dispense bottles of water and high-energy snacks could be a good way of remotely assisting people during a blackout.

If during a disaster you are unable to get home, you might well be stranded a long way from any of your emergency supplies. Shops will not necessarily be open to help you, and would be of no use anyway if you were low on cash or had mislaid your belongings.

Concerns that people might exploit these emergency vending machines seem moot in Japan, where most shops don't even have security cameras to stop potential shoplifters.

There is a communal sense of trust that convinces me most people would only use the machines in emergencies, not least because of the effort it would take to crank them up to power.

Weird Japanese Vending Machines

When we say weird, we mean weird.

A while back there was a degree of uproar in the media over vending machines in Japan selling used underwear. To clarify, these were not common and have now been outlawed, but it does give you an idea of the pervasiveness of vending machine use in the country.

Take a look at some of the best, below.

Flying Fish Soup Vending Machine

What could be better than a nice bottle of flying fish soup on a winter’s day, and now, you can get it from a vending machine! Very rare, we found this one in Neyagawa, Osaka at the corner of a parking lot. It says that the soup is dashi – a fish stock soup – and that there is a fried fish added to every bottle. How could you resist!

Crepe Vending Machine

They are nowhere near as good as fresh ones but will do the trick if you’re craving a sugary snack. There are various flavours to choose from including cheese, fruit and chocolate cake.

Hot Food Vending Machine

Basically, a vending machine that microwaves you a meal and drops it out of a hatch once it’s done. Found at highway rest stops and the like, they are a lifesaver when everything else is closed.

Ramen Vending Machine

Select your noodles, add some water, and bang, a steaming bowl (cup) of delicious ramen! Cup noodles must rank as one of Japan’s favourite foods, and there’s a reason, they are endlessly cheap, quick and tasty.

Burger Vending Machine

Fast food just became even faster with this burger vending machine. We can’t vouch for the taste or the texture, but surely it can’t be that bad.

Bread in a Can Vending Machine

Here’s a pretty special one: bread. In a can. Choose from various options, including bread with whipped cream, raisins and chocolate, pop your can, and enjoy some super sweet, fluffy bread.

Hot Canned Soup Vending Machine

Hot soup vending machines are surprisingly common. Generally, you’ll find corn soup or oshiruko (‘red bean soup’) but ramen, miso and clam soup are also widely available.

Pantyhose and Lingerie Vending Machine

This vending machine could be handy for cosplayers or anyone who forgot their underwear, pantyhose or bikini… for whatever reason. This vending machine type is generally found in or around love hotels.

Condom Vending Machine

The condom vending machine is another one usually close to love hotels. This one even lets you choose between two brands: Okamoto and JEX condoms.

A serious mayonnaise obsession

Mayonnaise went mainstream in Japan in 1925, according to The Japan Times. Toichiro Nakashima lived in the United States for a bit, and decided the way to make young people in his country grow as tall as those in the West was to get them to eat mayo. He mixed up the recipe a bit, adding more eggs and some apple vinegar for a sweeter taste. Then he started the Kewpie Corporation and Japanese mayonnaise was born. It became an absolute obsession in the country.

It took some work, though. Since the Japanese usually ate cooked or preserved vegetables that weren't conducive to being dipped in mayo, Kewpie was marketed as more of a seafood condiment. From there, it started showing up as a regular ingredient in literally everything. Sora News 24 says the Japanese rarely sit down to a meal without a mayonnaise-based dish on the table. You'll find it on meat, noodles, and sushi. Cakes can have mayo in the batter, the icing, or both. Pizza is regularly doused in mayonnaise, with it included as a standard topping on most Domino's offerings. Kabuki Shojo claims it gets even weirder, with mayo-flavored potato chips and ice cream, and even mayonnaise-rimmed margaritas. It's such a beloved condiment, numerous restaurants are themed around the ingredient.

The distinct mayo is cited as one of the foods most missed by expats, and visitors to Japan often fall in love and bring bottles of the stuff back home with them.

2. Precise Preparation

The devil is in the details in this drink and not just for the recipe but, as Diedrich references, for the drink’s construction. This includes the well-honed craft of stirring and building the cocktail, using the right ice and getting the drink to the correct temperature, maximizing carbonation and showcasing clean, bright flavors.

“The hallmark is super careful preparation,” says bartender Mikey Barton of Washington, D.C.’s Dram & Grain, “Chilling the glasses, stirring X number of times, all this thought and preparation that goes into an individual drink.” At Dram & Grain, the bar’s latest menu was dubbed Dram & Global, offering a series of drinks inspired from different cities across the world, including Tokyo. Barton’s Haiballer cocktail includes Mizu shochu, Suntory Toki whiskey, a house-made Golden Delicious soda, Angostura bitters and a burdock root garnish.

Japanese Beer

Think Japan, think sake, right? You may be surprised to hear that beer is Japan’s favoured alcoholic beverage by quite a margin, despite the fact that it is not a native product. Imported by the Dutch in the 17th century, with local brewing only beginning in the early 19th century, beer is now a hugely popular drink in Japan. Incredibly, despite its foreign origins, Japanese brewers made beer a very Japanese drink in just a few generations - so much so that, until concerns surrounding underage drinking led to most being phased out, beer was widely available from vending machines throughout Japan. Even now, pop into a convenience store and you’ll find row upon row of beers in the fridge.

We Aussies love a Japanese brew. Crafted from rice rather than wheat, Japanese beer has a clean, crisp, pilsner-style taste that is supremely refreshing, especially in a hot Australian summer. As a celebration of Japanese beer we have compiled a guide full of fascinating facts so that you can impress your mates with your vast knowledge!

A brief history of Japanese beer

Beer was introduced to Japan by Dutch merchants in the 17th century in the form of beer halls for sailors plying the trade route between Japan and Dutch colonies. In the early 19th century the Napoleonic wars put a halt to the Dutch Commissioner’s supplies from Europe so he commissioned a local organisation primarily to keep his own stores well stocked. Later in the century, in 1870, enterprising Norwegian-American William Copeland established the Spring Valley Brewery in Yokohama and a couple of years later Syozaburo Shibutani became the first Japanese to brew and sell beer.

Around the same time, the wild island of Hokkaido was found to have hops growing on it and Seibei Nakagawa swiftly travelled to Germany to learn the beer brewing trade, setting up his own Pioneers Brewery in 1875 and launching their flagship beer Sapporo Cold Beer in due course. The late 19th century also saw the formation of the Kirin and Asahi breweries so it was a busy period for the brewing industry. Indeed, in 1886 the amount of beer produced in Japan exceeded the amount imported for the first time.

That period of enterprise ended in the early 20th century with the introduction of stiff tax laws governing the production of beer. These permitted only breweries producing a minimum of 2 million litres per year to obtain a license, effectively preventing any smaller breweries from starting up. These laws remained until the 1950s, when they only got stricter, and are the reason there hasn’t historically been much of a craft beer scene in Japan.

The Dry Wars (or dorai senso - it sounds cooler in Japanese doesn’t it?!)

Previous to 1987, the Kirin Brewery Company held 50% of Japan’s beer market but once Asahi launched its incredibly popular Asahi Super Dry that started to drop. In a desperate bid to win back its share, in 1988 it launched its own dry beer, Kirin Dry, with a huge ad campaign featuring Gene Hackman. Kirin Malt Dry and Ichiban Shibori followed and the other big Japanese brands, Sapporo and Suntory, launched their own versions (with the ad campaign Suntory Dry 5.5 featuring Mike Tyson) but none was as successful as Asahi Super Dry - still the most popular beer in Japan and the country’s biggest export beer.

The advent of the microbrewery

In 1994 the government’s strict tax laws relaxed, reducing the minimum production levels per capita to 60,000 litres and thus allowing sake brewers, wine makers and anyone else to open a microbrewery. Today, there are over 200 microbreweries in Japan and the Japanese craft beer industry is growing, producing not just lager but ales, stouts, and many others, often with a Japanese twist. For example, some beers are aged in cedar barrels often used for sake, giving them hints of pepper and earthy flavours. Premium craft beer Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale combines both sake and ale yeasts, giving it a sake character but with the unmistakeable taste of malt and hops, as well as berry and spice. The number of Japanese craft beers exported to Australia is still small but expect that to rise as more people become aware of their unique flavours.

Microbreweries might be on the increase in Japan but there are four main breweries which dominate the Japanese beer market and export around the globe - Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo and Suntory (although only the first three are exported to Australia in big numbers).

Asahi - Established in 1889, the name Asahi translates into English as ‘rising sun’ and hails from the east of Japan, near Tokyo. Its most famous and most popular beer is Asahi Super Dry, Japan’s first, and ultimately most successful, dry beer. Packaged in its distinctive silver-labelled glass bottles, Asahi Super Dry has a clean and crisp taste, with a bread-like, grainy malt flavour and a bitter hop finish that gives it its unmistakeable dry characteristic. It’s the perfect partner to a summer seafood BBQ and its light, refreshing taste makes it a great session beer.

Sapporo - Originally the Kaitakushi Brewery, it was sold and renamed the Sapporo Beer Company in 1886 and has been producing beer ever since, although only really reaching mass popularity in Japan from the 1980s. Yebisu and Yebisu Black are malty, full-bodied beers popular in Japan. Look out for Sapporo Premium Lager here, a crisp and bitey number that has been brewed since 1887, making it Japan’s oldest beer. Incredibly versatile, it is perfect as a session beer or paired with steak or seafood.

Kirin - Named after a mythical beast that is a symbol of prosperity, Kirin has certainly been prosperous in Australia recently. Quickly gaining momentum over the past five years here, Kirin is light but malty, with a good amount of depth but without being overpowering. Its new, distinctive packaging with its single brushstroke and Japanese kanji, has helped its image and the brand seems to be going from strength to strength in Australia.

Suntory - Not currently widely available outside Japan, despite the fact it is one of the country’s ‘Big 4.’ Founded in 1899 as a producer of spirits and wines, Suntory started to brew beer in 1967. Malty in taste and golden in colour, it is perfect paired with fiery dishes.

What on earth is happoushu??

If you’ve never heard of happoushu, you won’t be alone as it is rare to find it outside of Japan. Thanks to the Japanese tax system, beers with a low malt content are taxed far less than others. Hence the creation of happoushu, literally ‘bubbly alcohol’, a low-malt beer. However, the term ‘beer’ is used lightly here as Japanese regulations forbid the use of the word beer, or biru, when describing these beverages. Because of the low tax levied on it, happoushu is cheaper than beer, but can also lack flavour and depth. The low amounts of malt used in its production mean that it is incredibly light, in both flavour and body.

Australian vs. Japanese beers

Hops, barley and water - the basic ingredients of beer - are used to create both Australian and Japanese beers. However, most beers are also crafted from additional ingredients, or ‘adjuncts,’ which contribute to sugar for fermentation. The majority of Japanese beers imported into Australia contain rice as a secondary ingredient, which is what gives them that clean, dry, light taste. Rice lightens the body of beer, making it incredibly refreshing. The majority of the most famous Japanese beers are similar to a dry, light Australian lager. If you like your beer with greater depth and flavour, you should try an ale or a stout - perhaps one of Japan’s up-and-coming craft beers.

The crisp, clean, light-bodied character of Japanese rice lagers lend them to spicy dishes such as Thai stir-fries and Indian curries, as well as aged and chilli-infused cheeses and sharp cheddars. Their light quality equally pairs well with lightly flavoured food such as shellfish and sushi, which would be overwhelmed by stronger tasting, darker ales and stouts. An ice-cold Japanese beer is perfect drunk under a sizzling sun whilst flipping some steaks on the BBQ.

Japanese Beer And Edamame

If you ever find yourself in Japan, at a Japanese restaurant, or in the company of Japanese friends, here are some dos and do nots when drinking beer:

Never pour your own drink (unless you’re drinking alone, obviously!) as it is considered not only bad manners but bad luck to do so. Pour your partner’s drink first and then allow them to pour yours. It is customary to drink out of a small glass from a large bottle which is shared.
No matter how thirsty you are, wait until everyone is ready to drink before you start to sink your beer.
Sharing is not caring when it comes to drinking someone else’s beer. To be honest, that’s weird in most cultures.
Drink every last little drop of your beer - it’s considered wasteful to leave any, and we agree!
The Japanese version of ‘cheers’ is ‘kanpai’ pronounced ‘gahn-pie.’ Its literal translation is ‘empty cup’ and originates from the expectation that you should drink your small cup of sake in one go. Don’t feel you have to down your beer every time someone makes a toast - a sip will do! As the night wears on and the drinks are flowing, expect a few calls of ‘banzai!’, which means ‘to live 10,000 years.

The Japanese are famous for being at the forefront of technology in almost every field, from audio-visual equipment to robots. Thankfully these world-class inventors have turned their attention to what really matters - how to keep your beer cold without diluting it. In 2012 some very clever people at brewing company Kirin invented and launched a frozen foam, added to the top of a beer using a machine similar to a soft ice cream dispenser, that ensures beer stays ice cold for up to half an hour. Acting as an insulator, it can keep beer frosty and, as the froth is also made of beer, it won’t dilute the flavour. Sadly there are currently no plans to bring this ingenious foam to Australian pubs.

And now for the best part.

. how best to drink it?! As with all lagers, the colder the better. Chill it in the coldest part of your fridge (generally near the back) and serve straight from the bottle or in an ice cold glass. Sit back and enjoy!

*Not all beers listed are available in all The Bottle-O stores. See your local The Bottle-O store for special order details. Special order requirements per store will vary.

Japanese Vending Machine Sells Underpants for Water Bottles - Recipes

7. Egg vending store (direct from farmer)

8. Rice polishing vending machine (turns brown rice in to white)

10. Sightseeing ferry office/shop

11. Apple store (actually name of company but they import brand name products)

That's obviously only a small sample but as someone who lives in Japan I can tell you that usually where there are alcohol stores, there are vending machines. Of course there are other places they are too, but in my experience, it's rare to find one without vending machines.

Then I turned the corner and saw a machine with Tommy Lee Jones' staring down selling hot cans of Boss Coffee. Made the night a little easier.

We had a Cup Noodle vending machine on our university campus which sold the elusive curry flavour, possibly the food I'm most nostalgic about from my time living over there.

Dydo stuff tends to be what the absolute cheapest vending machines offer. About five times I have bought a Dydo coffee, and five times I have decided to never do so again. Any of the Coca-Cola or Kirin (Pepsi does not exist beyond the brand here) stocked vending machines should be good and safe.

According to this, the Japanese ones keep the cans heated:

>>Proprietary heating technology

>>Unlike hot can drink machines in Japan, the Starbucks machine does not keep the steel cans heated. Instead, the container heats after the customer makes a selection.

Seeing my ryokan vending machine stock some mixture of underwear, shoes, toiletries and just possibly food (that may have been a separate machine), also!

What really surprised me is how in a place like Tokyo the machines seemed to only reliably function using change, whereas in Norway you pay for bus station lockers and public toilets with credit cards.

1. Make a syrup out of brown sugar by heating it in a pan with some water. The real recipe uses palm sugar but brown sugar is close enough.

2. Put it in a cup, then evaporated milk, then strong black tea.

3. Mix to taste. The three layers don’t mix together on their own. The more you mix it the sweeter the drink gets.

Mine was the hot lemon tea.

Maybe Amazon could bring back Automats[1]?

Not being vandalized is mentioned in the article.

People in Italy were always kind of surprised to hear about US newspaper machines - the ones where you put in some coins - and you can take out as many newspapers as you want, essentially. Theyɽ joke that people would regularly take them all in Italy, and in Naples theyɽ probably just haul off the whole machine, change, newspapers and all.

Honestly, I have no idea why those things even exist or how they make anyone money. It's baffling.

Compare and contrast: in Italy, until recently, you could only buy newspapers from newsstands, who had some kind of monopoly on their sales. You couldn't get them from a grocery store, and certainly not from a vending machine.

My understanding of Bodega is that they want to replace the mom-and-pop store with a centralized vertically-integrated company (theirs).

Seemed to be Bodega's plan also.

If they want to go after a particular market, so be it. Iɽ rather it be a new business than a venture by a corporate giant. That opportunity has been available to every mom-and-pop store too, right? Even if it was just one vending machine in one nearby apartment building?

I can appreciate the romance of corner stores, but if they're not innovating or marketing, they risk losing out to others who are.

I think avoiding products that spoil is easy but smart. Saves somewhat on transport constantly replenishing the cabinet, refrigeration, etc. Focusing your product catalogue is innovation to some extent.

It's like saying pizza hut coopted Italian pizza joints and drove Italian pizza makers out of biz. Sure, it did, but aside from the fact jobs were lateralized, what's the big deal about transforming the biz?

Same with Uber, it drives the price down and turns taxis into a fairly exclusive and respectable job (I'm mostly thinking about the London Black Cabs or the fancy Mercedes taxis I see here in NL) to a race to the bottom. The same happened to the postal service, turning it from a respectable middle class uniformed government or semi-governmental job to something stay-at-home moms do part-time. Mind you, the market changed and snail mail is nowhere near what it used to be. The markets for pizza and taxis haven't changed that much in comparison though.

Mostly a lack of, for a better term, conformity. There is very little crime in Japan and people trust each other way more.

In the US, those vending machines would get vandalized and probably stripped of their metal in under a week. Even if there was a market demand for them, the cost to service those machines would be astronomical.

It's because there are police everywhere, which keeps petty crime under control. There is a bounty for turning in lost money (and if it is not claimed after a certain period the person who turned it in can keep the whole amount).

Police are also mostly respected here because they (mostly) are helpful and don't harass citizens. Someone being beaten or shot by police like overseas just doesn't happen here.

I once worked at a place that was known for being a safe place for ethnic Koreans to "come out" about their real ethnicity. I was considered to be safe to work there because some were public figures and I would not recognize them, or at least not blab on social media about x TV presenter having Korean heritage.

I guess my point is that a lot of things in Japan are completely different to how they appear to a casual observer. Even asking Japanese people is not going to get you far, because most people will not tell you their real feelings or opinions unless you are a very close friend.

I terrorised one Japanese work colleague by crying in front of him on a train (can't remember whether in London or Tokyo), but another long-standing Japanese colleague˿riend would be entirely cool about it I suspect!

Both are East Asian. It's really hard to understand for my European mind.

European as in west-European? That part is relatively culturally and ethnically diverse northern and eastern Europe are a lot less so, and tolerance towards foreigners is lower there. The English and French still really dislike one another for example, and they're much closer together than Japan and Korea.

These vending machine innovations range from Twitter-activated soda dispensers to VR retail concepts that celebrate convenience. While the traditional vending machine may be equipped with snacks and sodas, these examples are far more advanced and innovative.

They range from multi-media to book dispensers that make retail more convenient for those leading a busy lifestyle. Moreover, these examples utilize modern technology to create a custom and interactive experience for their users.

In addition to product-specific vending machine concepts, these innovations also include branded vending machines that are used by large companies and in a number of different industries.

Standouts from this list include flip flop vending machines that market Old Navy's summer collection and Social Media powered soda dispensers that let shoppers pay with a Tweet.


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