When you think of Japan what is the image you have?
Many people who’ve never been to Japan imagine it to be ancient and traditional. Others imagine Japan is futuristic and high-tech.
Both of these images are accurate. In Tokyo you can often see the ultra-modern side-by-side with ancient traditional.
Another thing that visitors to Japan are often surprised by is the number of excellent convenient 自動販売機 (vending machines) here.
Vending machines are plentiful in Japan and can be found everywhere. And Japan has vending machines that sell everything you can imagine…newspapers, hot and cold drinks, fruit, eggs, rice, beer, umbrellas, magazines, videos, stamps, sandwiches, and so much more.
And the machines themselves are modern and convenient.
In Japan, you can make pay for purchases at most vending machines, train and subways stations, convenient stores, etc with cash of course, but also with your train pass card or your cellular phone!
Well, as if the vending machines here weren’t high-tech enough…now many vending machines across Japan are being replaced with new futuristic vending machines.
Rather than having a display of cans and bottles of the drink choices available in the machine, these new machines have a digital interactive display.
When there aren’t any people in it’s immediate vicinity, it displays a cartoon face and randomly has a “speech bubble” that offers random questions…such as “Are you thirsty?” or “Would you like to buy something?”
But once someone moves closer to it, the digital display shows the choice of drinks…but the most amazing aspect of this new machine is that it scans the faces of potential customers and then offers a few 「おすすめ」 (recommendations) based on the person’s approximate age and gender.
Check out this TV news broadcast about it: