Vending Machine Alley in Akihabara

There have been many fabled stories of oddities sold via vending machines in Japan. Everything from hot drinks to used clothes, the stories seem to fly around outside of Japan to build it into this mythical status. Most machines are very mundane, offering hot and cold drinks or some small snacks. Once place where these crazy stories may have come from is Vending Machine Alley in Akihabara, where a collection of some truly odd offerings can be purchased via the multitude of vending machines crammed into this tiny area.

Weird Vending Machines

The machines themselves are pretty standard and most offer some standard goods: drinks can be found in most of the machines and there is even a popcorn machine on the main street. Walk into the nooks and crannies, however, and you’ll find machines with some odd additions put into them. Some examples include snails in a can, rhinoceros beetles, bells, and stews in a can.

Vending Machine Writing

So, this comes in two flavors: the signage and the “poems” and “short stories” you can purchase. The signs are scattered around and contain some really… colorful language. Some threaten the removal of all your fingers and toes for graffiti, while the one tucked into a very discrete corner warns against public deification and urination with the punishment of having your… “private time” shared on the internet.

Vending Machine Warning Sign - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com

Another aspect are the machines with boxed treats wrapped in white paper and sealed with a story. Curious, I purchased one of these. Inside was a set of Choco Bats, a pretty common cheap treat here in Japan (Note: these were pretty stale and might have been in the machine a while…). The story was actually two stories, with one one the outside and one inside.

The one on the outside told a tale of a friend in the adult movie business, translated via Google (there might be a bit of slang in here that doesn’t translate well):

My friend worked hard as a performer, but the other party stole a dressing room with a thief, and a senior performer met a half-killer to eliminate the combination but ended with a two-shot performer. By the way, the male adult video actor is decided twice a day by the adult union. I can only fire a little with one shot. The speed is also slow. My friend Kawai is very fast. Do not measure the speed with a stopwatch. I hate Kawai.

Author unknown

My best guess: A friend was working as an adult performer and had a job stolen from them, with a performer in the business stole a gig, perhaps, and the results were a “two-shot performer,” which could mean someone who finished in two shots (read: too eager). The rest seems to read OK via translate.

The story inside was a cautionary tale of Uber and… China?

It is against UBER, which is now being lamented. It may be beneficial, but clearly in Japan, it is forbidden o carry a white-taku actor. Inadequate car maintenance, overwork driving, unfair guidance to the main business, unrest of the treatment of the car, and the Chinese version dispatch service, the murder case has occurred. Problem of substitute car, uneasiness of health condition of driving car, time from work to work, lack of awareness as a professional driver, driver’s guarantee ability, there is no limit if it mentions it is awareness for profit for commercial purpose, at the time of accident. The immaturity of driving technology, accumulated insurance, uninsured voluntary insurance, not. Already, 11 people died in a bus accident in Nagano Prefecture or the interval is short, some drunk driving, and I can’t get into the main business. I have a work-related accident. Will you still get a UBER car?

Author unknown

This one seems more straightforward: They’re complaining about UBER, the lack of regulation and trust, how you don’t know the condition of the car you call, unskilled drivers, etc. This person also brings up the lack of insurance and how they were perhaps an Uber driver themselves, getting into an accident and now are unable to get in touch with Uber about how to move forward with their treatment and lack of employment. Also, 11 people supposedly died in Nagano as a result of Uber?

Stories for Sale - Two Second Street - www.twosecondstreet.com

The interesting thing is I would have never found out about this place on my own had it not been for the sightseeing guides that came with our Tokyo Metro: Underground Mysteries packets. The prices at the machines vary, usually a few hundred yen for most of the offerings (a couple of dollars, US). The stories all seemed a bit… odd. Our Japanese friend was reading them and seemed very perplexed about why anyone would write this stuff. If you want to see it for yourself, it’s a nice but brief diversion from the assault on your senses that can be Akihabara.

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