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January 27, 2005



Vending machines are very popular in Japan. The statistics says that there are more than 5,500,000 machines running in this small country. We can see it even at the top of mountains or in the midst of rice fields where few people pass by. It's very comfortable to get drinks or food anywhere and at anytime with some coins. The machines in Japan are so advanced that they can serve hot noodles saying "Thank you." or they entertain us with roulette games. I remember that when I visited Los Angeles more than ten years ago, I was very confused at midnight trying to get something to drink. There were no stores open and there was not even one vending machine at the center of DownTown. I had to spend hours with a sore throat before a cafe opened the next morning. Sure, vending machines are convenient and comfortable, but in Vancouver, I was accustomed to living without them. And during this three-month stay in Tokyo, I have used a vending machine only once. So I don't think vending machines are indispensable. Thinking about the ecological impact, they are not always good things; they are just like huge fridges on streets consuming quite a bit of electricity.

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