Beverage porn20 July, 2011 by Chad
One of the first things that visitors always notice about Japan is the sheer number of vending machines all over the country. In fact, Japan is home to more than 5,260,000 vending machines at last count. Numerous machines litter the corner of every street, dispensing all sorts of things you’d least expect. But drink vending machines still remain the most common. These simple steel boxes often hold an amusing assortment of brightly labeled beverages that seem especially attractive when lined up in the manner. Dozens of photos of Japanese vending machines and their drinks inside.
When it comes to packing, you’ve got to hand it to the Japanese for their alluring designs. The colorful, bold and often simplistic graphics tell you little more than the contents of the can but somehow, it works. I once traveled with someone who couldn’t resist stopping at every machine to pick up a drink. This despite having spent years in Japan already, so it wasn’t just a tourist thing.
Drinks often cost between 100 to 150 yen and seem like a great way to get rid of spare coins. It’s particularly tempting when you need a soda to quench the hot summer heat or something to keep you warm in the winter. Or so the advertisements featuring your favorite celebrities would lead you believe. But a dollar here and there quickly adds up.
I guess many will be weakened by the illusion of choice. And you can’t help but seek out the most desirable option among those presented to you and suddenly, that bottle or can starts to look like a rather good buy. Give in and hope for the best.
Sometimes you’ll end up with a genuinely delicious drink. At other times, a disappointing dud. Yet most machines here are owned by the individual companies so regardless of what you choose, the machine wins.
The trick is to never settle though and always wait till you find a machine with something you actually want to drink, since it is seldom far away. Or better yet, just bring along some water next time.
Yet when I come across an interesting buy myself, I often end up succumbing (and regretting after). Such as in this case. Fortunately, you won’t see this often. It’s one of those strange prefecture drinks that are probably an acquired taste. The Miyazaki equivalent of Sarsi or Kickappo.
The thing is, I often find that most Japanese drinks end up being kind of inept at their obvious purpose of quenching thirst. You’ll find that many of their original drinks contain ridiculous amounts of sugar when compared to say, foreign colas. In fact, even their “juice drinks” are sickening sweet. Which is probably why they are required to put their actual fruit content in percentage. You’d be surprised by how low the numbers are.
One of the drinks that I can regularly rely on though is Calpis. The yoghurt drink is light enough to enjoy anytime. I’ve compiled photos from an attempt to try out ever flavor possible but have fallen short.
Here’s a quick link to Yan’s older share on Suntory Gokuri.Planning your holiday? We recommend visiting Agoda for a full list of hotels with early bird specials.