Hey there, fans! This week will have everyone looking for change all over their homes, as Dole, the multinational fruit company, has unveiled a new vending machine in Japan that sells, you guessed it, fruits! Bananas, to be precise. Located near the busy Shibuya station in Japan, Dole’s new banana vending machine has bananas, sealed in plastic, ready for purchase.
The bananas come in either singles or triples, depending on the customer’s banana-related needs at that moment, and are moved on a system of conveyor belts that allow the least possible bruising. According to the Vertical Inc. Weblog, Dole’s spokesperson in the matter says “they hope hurried consumers will choose fresh fruit over typical packaged convenience store fare.” That, or people would be so shocked in seeing a banana in a vending machine that curiosity would compel them to buy a banana.
However novel the idea of selling a banana in a vending machine is, the fact that it’s in vending machines may not cause too much fuss in the country. The vending machine has always been a staple of the urban Japanese cityscape, as the high population density within the urban areas have basically required merchants to sell their wares through means that require the least amount of space, labor and upkeep, of which vending machines require very little. It’s no surprise then that, according to Wikipedia, Japan has “the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people” or roughly 5,582,200 vending machines out there.
It’s rather unsurprising then that the variations of vending machines in Japan have been subject to both fascination, as a quick Google search can glean a dozen or so blog posts that showcase the more eccentric of the machines, and controversy, as debate over the unlawfulness of used-panty vending machines rage on.
In fact, the vending machine culture is so prevalent that it has seeped into the public consciousness and pop culture. Pictured above is a dress made by a Japanese designer to disguise women as vending machines in order to hide from possible assailants. Obviously, such a dress would only work in place densely populated by vending machines in order to be fully effective, such as the middle of a bustling city in Japan. Another such example, this time in the realm of anime, is the troubles of Tomo Takino in the slice-of-life comedy Azumanga Daioh, as a vending machine’s small malfunction utterly destroys her confidence in the reliability of such machines.
And that’s all for this week’s edition of Happy Fun Thursdays! Have a vending machine we missed out on? Tell us in the comments!