As I spend more time in Japan, I’m discovering and experiencing new things about it that make me go “wow.” One thing in particular that I wish the United States could adopt from Japan is their beverage vending machines.
Prior to visiting Japan, I’ve only heard about these machines in animes. The student would grab a fruit drink at one of the machines on his way home from school. The businessman would stop by the machine and get a hot coffee (yes, they serve hot drinks too!) on his way to the office. These drink dispensers seem integrated into everyday life in Japan, and when I came across one on my trip, it became a personal challenge for me to purchase something from it every day.
These beverage vending machines are everywhere. In cities like Tokyo and Osaka, I couldn’t go more than two blocks without running into one. I thought they were limited to cities and neighboring towns, but I was able to find them in the countryside as well. It’s pretty amazing how widespread these machines are considering how much they need to be maintained and kept stocked.
I love the idea of these machines because they offer a variety of drinks on-the-go at an affordable price. Think of any standard drink you’d find at a convenience store and you should be able to find it in one of these machines. Some of the drinks I’ve come across so far are:
- Bottled water
- Coffee and tea
- Fruit drinks
- Milk tea
The dream is to have these machines on every other block across the Bay Area. I could imagine myself stopping by one at a BART station and quickly grabbing a canned hot coffee for $1.25 rather than waiting in line at Starbucks and spending $4. It would also be convenient for those late nights when stores are most likely closed and I’m craving some milk tea. Maybe I’m just a lazy guy and I admire this clever solution. Maybe I’m just interested in the idea of a convenient beverage shopping experience. Whatever it may be, I hope that America can learn from Japan and adopt it.