Saturday, September 1, 2012

Vending Machines

Yup, cheap things can be had in Tokyo.
Saturday September 1, 4:09 p.m.

I've been back in The Great White North for 8-and-a-half months after my long odyssey in Japan, and to be honest, I don't have any huge regrets about coming back. Still, sometimes I get twinges now and then for some of the more convenient elements of living life in The Big Sushi.

Vending machines are one of those things. They seem to populate every nook and cranny of every urban/suburban/rural area, with the exception of the areas immediately surrounding restaurants. Whenever I needed a drink of some sort....whether it be a cola, iced coffee or an oolong tea, it didn't take long before I came across one or an entire bank of vending machines. The average price of a pop in the machine is around 120 yen, but in the theatres, the price can rocket up to 200 yen easily. On the flip side, though, there are some machines which offer generic pop for as cheap as 80 yen, such as the ones in the picture. I found those on the side street where my old student and friend, Cozy, had his tax accounting office.

"So, do we have to use solid maple syrup then?"
Then again in Akihabara, that bastion of the weird and wonderful in Japanese pop culture, vending machines can sell some fairly twisted stuff. For example, for Canadians on an extended tour who start missing the old flapjacks, they can get the liquid stuff from the local machine for the same price as a Coke. Really. I've also seen the same thing for ramen and curry udon. I'm a foodie but I guess I'm more on the conservative side; I will never have my pancakes in any other way other than solid.