Japan, A Vending-Machine Paradise
When I show visitors from overseas around, Japan’s vending machines frequently become a subject of conversation. There are a large number of vending machines in Japan offering an abundant range of items, and many of them are outdoors as well. They can be seen not only in urban areas but in the countryside too, and they work properly. Breakdowns are uncommon. They are well maintained. In other countries vending machines accept only certain coins, like 25-cent coins, but in Japan you can use not only a variety of coins but also banknotes and IC cards. Foreign visitors are amazed that Japan’s vending machines return change properly, and they are really astonished that the same machine can dispense both hot and cold drinks. And so on and so forth.
Many unconventional items are sold by vending machines as well. They offer not only drinks and food but also hats, umbrellas, flowers, and even, believe it or not, gold coins and wedding ring kits. Technology, such as AI-equipped vending machines and energy saving, is progressing in leaps and bounds, so there is certainly no shortage of topics.