If there’s one thing that Japan excels at, it’s convenience. If I could choose one item to replace the mark on the Japanese flag, it would either be a convenience store or a vending machine. For this article, let’s settle on the vending machine. No matter if you’re in the countryside or the city, you’re never far from one of these glowing monoliths of goodness.

Castro breaks down some of the basics, rapping about the drinks you can find. That only scratches the surface of the variety of vending machines in Japan. Here are 5 more oddities.

Cup Noodle

Of course Japan has packed the world-famous Cup Noodle brand into a vending machine. I mean, really, why wouldn’t they? The machines are like if God came down and handed us bricks of starch with salty flavoring and said, “Hot water. 3 minutes. I’m out.” The vending machines usually pack a couple flavors, and lot of them even provide hot water, so you can enjoy the snack right there on the spot.

Alkaline Batteries

That’s right. Panasonic, Toshiba, and several others have vending machines for alkaline batteries. AA, C, and D size have been found in the machines. So if you’re ever without power for your Game Boy. Take a look around for this machine and stock up.

Umbrellas

These can be found at some train stations, and, honestly, it’s incredibly convenient. I don’t even have any jokes or funny asides to make about this one. It’s just smart.

Bras

That’s right, ladies. I don’t know what would compel someone to buy a bra from a vending machine, especially since this one was spotted in a lingerie shop, but it’s always nice to have options. I guess.

Pornography

Too ashamed to look a store clerk in the eye as you purchase the latest issue of [insert-choice-porn-mag-title-here]? This grotty machine can fix that. For the most part, they sell magazines, but I’ve heard rumors that ones selling adult videos are out there as well. Happy hunting!

Debunking the Used Panty Myth

A list of vending machines in Japan would never be complete without mention of the mythical used panties vending machines that supposedly exist deep in the underbelly of Akihabara.

Technically, the machines that sell the used panties are variations of the gashapon machines you find in arcades and department stores. Usually, they sell toys and other goods within a plastic egg. You’ve definitely seen them before. They’re extremely popular among anime fans and otaku.

The machines that sell panties advertise them as “USED” in English. However, just after this, the word kakou (加工), which means “manufactured,” appears on a lot of the advertising. In reality, the panties are made to appear used, but many foreign tourists just see the word in English, and a legend is born.

Around 15 years ago, several seedy stores bought and sold used clothing worn by older high school girls and young office ladies, but the police cracked down on these ventures. Now these kinds of places are rare, if they even still exist at all.

So there you have it. Sorry to burst everyone’s bubble. I’m sure there are those out there who will continue to search for the existence of the elusive used panties vending machines, undeterred by any evidence to the contrary. God speed, brave adventurers. God speed.

Castro | Culture 0