Culture · Culture Shock · Japanese Pop Culture · Living in Japan · Pictures

Only in Japan…

can you buy beer and tobacco from a vending machine. OK, so rumor is that other countries do it too, but the first time I ever saw this was in Japan.

row of vending machines

Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every twenty-three people. The things are everywhere. I cracked up the first time I came to Japan and I saw a row of five vending machines located on the grounds of a Shinto temple. I often use vending machines located on the train platforms while I am waiting at a station.

selling tobacco

Just recently, as in 2008, a smart card called taspo was implemented in the majority of tobacco vending machines across the country to restrict sales of cigarettes from them. From such machines cigarette purchases may only be made by those in possession of the card, which is issued to adult applicants (which in the case of Japan, is 20 years of age). The card is held up to a sensor after money is inserted into the machine.

beer for sale

However, Jun explained to me that the card’s sensor on the vending machine shuts off at certain times of day – late at night – so he fails to see the point of the card. I find the fact that the sensor turns off hilarious.


2 thoughts on “Only in Japan…

    1. I have never tested this, but Jun said it is true :p

      I find it hilarious that there is a shut off because these machine were located right next to a high school.

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