Just when you thought you've seen it all.
Vending machines in Japan are straight out of sci-fi movies. From pizza to dog wigs, you can find anything you'd ever need in a Japanese vending machine, and now that list includes Olympic Games souvenirs.
In classic Japanese fashion, the Tokyo Olympics is selling souvenirs in its vending machines. These vending machines were originally set up to limit social interactions, prevent the spread of coronavirus, and allow athletes to buy souvenirs after hours. However, they've now become a cute and memorable way to celebrate the games. Buyers just simply press a few buttons on the interactive touchscreen and out pops a memory to last a lifetime.
"It's neat," said Canadian Broadcasting Corporation production crew member, John Einarson, after buying two mugs. "Press a button and out come the goods, and off you go."
Five of these vending machines can be found in front of an official store in the middle of Tokyo Big Sight, the largest international exhibition center in Japan. Guests can buy traditional Japanese items such as a kokeshi wooden doll of the Olympics mascots, Daruma dolls with five stripes in the colors of the Olympic rings, and a Maneki-Neko with the Olympics logo on its back. Other non-traditional Japanese gifts include foldable tote bags, mugs, and water bottles.
Of course… Japan + olympic merch = souvenir vending machines pic.twitter.com/AikjZGaut2— Scott R (@scottreevesCNN) July 29, 2021
These souvenir vending machines aren't the only Olympics-related dispensers that you can find in Japan. Coca-Cola Japan also designed drink vending machines that feature icons of 34 Olympic sports and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics mascot. When fans buy a bottle from one of these machines, a part of the purchase is donated to the Japanese Olympic Committee to help promote the Olympic movement and strengthen sports organizations.
Leading up to the Olympics, Coca-Cola also placed an extremely tall vending machine in at the Tokyo Midtown complex in Hibiya to train the next generation of Olympians. Known as the Volleyball Vending Machine, the machine's lowest row of buttons stood at 10.1 feet above the ground, which represents the average height female volleyball players can reach while jumping in the air. Another higher row of buttons stood at 11.4 feet above the ground, the average height male volleyball players can reach. The machine was a working vending machine, but could only be used by individuals who were able to jump and reach the buttons. If anyone was able to hit one of the five buttons on the left, they won a free bottle of Coke, and anyone who could hit the five right buttons received a free bottle of Aquarius, a sports drink made by the Coca-Cola company.
So close! This 3.5-metre high vending machine shows the height that Olympic volleyball players jump when they play. Hit a button and get a free Coke. On at Midtown Hibiya until 26 August.#Tokyo2020 #CocaCola #ふつうじゃない2020展 #Japan #2YearstoGo @CocaColaJapan pic.twitter.com/I4jsj7qhZP— Oona McGee 🇯🇵🇮🇪🇦🇺 (@OonaMcGee) August 22, 2018
What do you think about these vending machines? Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.