Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vending machines

Let's see... What do I want to talk about today? Any questions about Japanese life?

Depending on how you look at it, an unfortunate part of the Japanese scenery are the vending machines that dot the landscape. The are always so glaringly bright and gaudy!Some people think these are the gods' gifts to weary drivers. I think they are one of the worst inventions ever made! (Tetsu loves them.)

Vending machines will sell anything and everything. The most typical of course, are the soft drink machines. Nowadays from the vending machine it will cost about $1.50 to buy plastic bottles of water, tea, cola, coffee etc. The machines will dispense either cold drinks or hot drinks so in winter one can warm up a bit on a long drive or walk, and in the summer a refreshing drink is at your fingertips.

The drink machines annoy me because people freely partake of their refreshment and then toss the cans and bottles into the forest. No manners or morals or whatever and each morning that Tetsu and I take Choco for a walk there is a can or two that wasn't there the day before. Tetsu and I weekly pick up cans from the forest on our routine walk and I will occasionally make a jaunt to the main road and pick up cans practically tearing my arms from my shoulders with the load I bring home after only a half hour of de-littering. GRRRR. Those stupid machines are at fault! (I know... it is really people.)

But you cannot believe what else is sold by vending machines! Liquor! Excuse me folks... aren't their laws about underage drinking etc? Yes, I suppose there are but still vending machines will sell beer and osake and those cans join the soft drink cans in the forest. And if a teenager wants to drink I suppose there is no stopping him from going to the neighborhood vending machine.

Another pet peeve of mine are the dumb vending machines that sell cigarettes... Located right in front of the schools!!! (This picture is of the one in front of the elementary school.) A few years ago I remember stopping at the stoplight in front of the jr. high school and watching a jr. high girl (in her gym wear) pull up to the vending machine on her school bicycle and buy a pack of cigarettes! In broad daylight! Within sight of the school! The laws have become a little stricter, and vending machines have become more technologically advanced and as of two years ago cigarette vending machines require you to insert a pre-registered card that certifies that the purchaser is of age. Other machines will have cameras and computers that can somehow detect if a person is underage (something about the facial structure).

And glory! There are vending machines that even sell pornography and not very well hidden at that!

There are some vending machines that sell weird products such curry noodles, soy sauce ramen, and simmered fish cakes and vegetables. From a can? No, thank you.

The chocolate Kit-Kats look very tempting though...

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