Maybe you’ve heard of strange things you can buy in vending machines in Japan. I’m here to tell you that maybe most of the stories are true. I personally have seen horse meat, alcohol, underwear, umbrellas, and socks. Today, I was in Osaka (more on why in in a later post) and I saw the following vending machine.
This was in the sub basement of the Nanba station, between the subway Midosuji Line (kind of a major subway) and the Nankai Line (kind of a commuter rail to the burbs). I swear, there is no good reason to have this vending machine there, but it was full of… basically keychains. Not even keychains , because lots of people just tie them to their bags or cellphones. It’s like a sign to show people what you’re into, a glimpse into who you are.
What kind of keychains you ask? Even if you don’t ask… Tom and Jerry (still big here), Pokemon, table salt (yes, a keychain sized container of table salt), Doraemon (a famous cartoon robot cat), plastic sushi, and a small plastic replica of a pay phone. Which, I should point out, you can no longer find anywhere, a pay phone, that is. As if the vending machine itself wasn’t enough of a mystery, the mix of keychains was also a mystery.
I’ve lived here for almost 25 years now, and I’m still surprised. Somehow, there is a market for this. So much of a market that two of the Pokémon and the pay phone were actually sold out.
I love that even now I can be surprised.