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Bananas and haircare products: Tokyo's curious vending machines
Branded vending machines continue to proliferate in this auto-centric city, offering a variety of goods
Chilled at 13 degrees celsius, the new Dole vending machine at Shibuya station delivers another consumer item direct to passing commuters -- bananas. The latest in a long string of curious coin-operated machines that saw freshly cooked burgers offered by Tateishi Burger last year, the Dole machine is also the latest own-brand machine to appear.
Just last week Japan Trends spotted hairdresser Toni & Guy offering ¥2,000 hair-product sets to accompany your coffee outside their store in Harajuku. Is this more evidence of Japan reverting to a fully-automated society? More likely it's just clever marketing by each brand following a long tradition that has seen everything from cars, umbrellas and eggs become available at the touch of a button.
Our favourite though is far more ubiquitous. Beer vending machines. Though there have been many efforts to use face recognition and ID cards as a way to determine the age of the consumer, for the most part, as this video shows, there is nothing to stop anyone getting themselves a can of alcoholic refreshment.
The convenience of the machines though do come at a bit of a cost. Each Dole banana will set you back ¥130, or ¥390 for five, more than most supermarkets, and considerably more than at 100 Yen stores that can be found at just about every station offering sets of three.