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March-April 2009

Postcard from Tokyo: Rise of the (vending) machines

David Hayes

In North America, we barely notice vending machines. They dispense soft drinks, water, sometimes coffee (or laundry soap in laundromats). In Japan, however, vending machines have been elevated to a fine art. To an outsider, these machines, called jidoohanbaiki, are ubiquitous — incredibly, there is one vending machine for every 23 Japanese citizens. In Tokyo, […] More »