Sunday, 12 September 2010
Ode to the Vending Machine
As you walk around the streets of Osaka you are forever faced with temptation. The temptation takes the form of countless drink vending machines that seem to be dotted on every street corner and in the most obscure locations. They are usually filled with all manner of beverages, including a wide variety of iced teas and coffees, various brands of water, soft drinks and even beer in some cases. On hot days, these machines dispense delightfully icy cold drinks, which are always very refreshing. Next to the machines are usually small portable plastic bins (that are regularly emptied) so bottles can be neatly placed after consumption ready for recycling. The amazing thing about these machines is that they often stand in the most isolated locations in the hope of tempting the occasional passer by to part with around 150 yen (approx. AU$2.00) to relieve their thirst. They are always meticulously maintained and fully stocked, but more significantly, they appear to remain untampered. In most places in the world (including Australia) machines such as these would be an easy target for vandals or petty criminals looking for some small change or a few bottles of drink. They would be open to attack just because they can. Yet here they remain a small but significant testament to the nature of Japanese society. The honesty and respectfulness for a simple service such as this is so refreshing and reminiscent of an era that has long passed most countries. As the long hot summer continues here in Osaka, Jules and I will continue to enjoy the humble drink vending machine, wherever it may be!