Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Vending machines

I am not very good at taking pictures at night, but sometimes I try. I was out all day today, and then met a friend for drinks in the evening. As we walked back to the station I took some pictures of vending machines. There are a lot of vending machines in Japan. They're on every corner. (They also litter every so-called beauty spot in Japan - you'll even find them on Mt. Fuji, I'm told.) If you are giving directions to someone and tell them, "Turn left at the corner with the vending machines," it means that you want them to get lost.

There are five vending machines in a row on this little side street, but none of them sell my favourite drink. It's amazing how many different kinds of drink you can buy. Tea, coffee, juice, soda, yoghurt drink, sake, beer... anything you want is there. (Except for my favourite tea, in these machines anyway.)

A Japanese friend told me that when she visited the Disneyland in the U.S. she was shocked because she couldn't buy anything except sweet drinks. She doesn't like sweet drinks, but she was hot and tired and had no choice. Did she miss something? It seems absurd that there would be no plain tea, and my favourite vending machine tea here is made by Coca Cola, and is not sweet. Is it only made for the Japanese market?

Here are two of the machines. Sorry about the bad quality of the photos.

There were also some cigarette vending machines.

When I caught the train home I still had my camera out, and was checking the pictures I'd taken. I surreptitiously snapped a picture of the inside of the train as well. The Man tells me that one of these days I'll get into trouble doing this. Someone paranoid will object, and I'll be beaten up.

But today, at least, nobody noticed.

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Robert said...

Occasionally you'll find vending machines with water and juice here, but most are sodas.

One of my favorite photoblogs is nothing but shots on the New York subway system:

doris said...

The pics are great - especially inside the train! Interesting that other country's trains are more interesting than our own.

Ms Mac said...

I have gotten old as well and no longer crave a coke but prefer a sparkling mineral water when out and about. Trying to find one of those in the UK is a nightmare!

tinyhands said...

I'm afraid sweetened tea (heavily sweetened with a lot of lemon, at that) is the only bottled tea widely available in the states, whether from a vending machine or convenience store. Water would have to suffice.

There was a drink I used to guzzle from the vending machines when I was in Japan, a grapefruit flavoured "sport water" as we would call them here. I think it's the 3rd from the left, top row, second photo. I found a similar one in China, but I can't get good grapefruit flavoured water here. Send me a case and I'll send The Man some shoes in his size. :)

Lauren said...

Ah ha! I discovered just yesterday how wonderful vending machines are to photograph. They have great lighting! Nice job with these, glad you brought the camera along.

melinama said...

Here in the south, if you ask for "tea" in a restaurant you get "sweet tea" (and it's really, really sweet). Almost all vending machines have only sweet carbonated beverages (I'm saying almost but I don't know of any exceptions).

Badaunt said...

Robert: Those are WONDERFUL shots. You mean the person taking them has not been beaten up yet? Maybe I could take more...

Doris: Other countries' trains are more interesting, other countries' flea markets are more interesting, other countries' JUNK is more interesting. Why do you think I live in Japan? :-)

Ms Mac: Oh, dear. (Reasons for the 'oh dear' to follow shortly...)

Tinyhands: The third from the left in the top row of the second photo is a drink called "Dakara," and I'm PRETTY sure it's quite a new one, and not grapefruit flavoured. I tried it a while ago but can't remember what flavour it is. Obviously I didn't like it all that much because I didn't try it again. I think it had that artificial sweetening that leaves a horrible aftertaste for some people (including me). I always avoid those ones.

Maybe it was something that looked similar. Was it a clear drink?

Lauren: I take my camera EVERYWHERE!

Melinama: I couldn't stand drinking sweet drinks all the time - especially when I have to drink so much in this hot weather. How do people cope? Do they take their own water or something? Sweet stuff just makes you more thirsty!

tinyhands said...

I'm sure it was just one that looked similar. It was, as I recall, more or less clear in a white-labelled bottle. It's far less interesting than this conversation would have you believe. ;)