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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

Surviving One Day On Vending Machines (in Japan)
By:David John Martin

Japan is home of the 'vending machine' so what better place to conduct an experiment to find out if you can survive one day using only vending machines. The experiment involved living from morning to night on purely vending machines.

I woke up on the morning of my experiment to the greeting of heavy rain but thankfully, the Japanese love their umbrellas. For 500 yen, which is approximately six dollars, I bought a lovely umbrella from a vending machine in my hotel lobby, a great start to my vending machine survival.

Time for breakfast and my thoughts turn to the hotel restaurant where I smell fresh coffee and continental breakfast delights. No! I must find a vending machine that will provide my breakfast so I set out with my new umbrella to find a solution. We all know that skipping breakfast is not recommended but today's busy consumers are increasingly finding on the go breakfast products or 'deskfast' and this trend is nowhere better demonstrated than in Japan. I find a breakfast vending machine in a matter of minutes that will keep me going for the rest of the morning.

Wanting to catch up with news back home I set out to find a newspaper vending machine and sure enough just 10 minutes down the road I stumble upon one. The past few days have been hard on my iPod. Having left my iPod charger back home, I need to find a new one. A vending machine comes to my rescue again as I come across an iPod vending machine that more than caters for my needs and I purchase a charger. I use a nearby internet café to charge the iPod and I'm all set and ready to be a tourist for the day. Towards mid morning, I have a mini crisis as my camera battery runs out, but fear not! I find a vending machine selling batteries in a matter of minutes.

Lunch was very easy to find a vending machine. A hot pizza machine vending machine does the job beautifully. The afternoon I have a mid afternoon coffee and read the newspaper, both purchased from vending machines.

There are drink machines literally everywhere in Japan, from the remotest local train station to a suburban street corner selling canned and bottled drinks, mainly iced coffee and tea but also sport drinks. The best thing about the drinks machines is that they always have can and bottle recycling points next to them. The Japanese are enthusiastic recyclers, including bins with long flat thin holes on train platforms for you to dispose of your newspaper after the daily commute.

Dinner was more difficult to find something suitable and ended up settling for a hot food vending machine along the Tohoku expressway that sold French fries, dumplings, hot dogs and so on.

Along my travels, I spot a whole host of interesting and wacky vending machines including eggs, pop corn, fishing, toilet paper, flowers, beer, porn, condoms, salad, ice cream and kerosene. This experiment proves you can easily spend an entire day in Japan subsisting entirely by putting coins and notes into machines without having too miserable a time.

David John Martin
A variety of coffee vending machines from Klix, with 35+ drinks to select from including coffee and tea. Simply the widest range of vending machines. http://www.klix.com/klix/en-GB/Productsandsolutions/Vending-Machines/

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