Archive for the 'Vending Machine' Category

The good things in life

Lady Borden

I just went to Kyoto yesterday and after another hot day, I thought I’d get this cheap chocolate ice cream from a vending machine to cool myself off. Much to my surprise, the ice cream was quite good. They were in the shape of 6 chocolate Bon Bons. The brand name is “Lady Borden”. The strange thing was, I couldn’t seem to find the brand anywhere else (combini, shopping mall, etc). I’m pretty sure that just like any other ice cream in Japan, it’s made by Lotte and that brand can be found easily at any combini. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case with this particular item.

Anyway, moving along, I had a brunch inside Osaka station since I missed breakfast earlier that day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get lunch once I arrived in Kyoto since I’d be too busy walking from one temple to another. I can no longer remember the name of the place but it’s a typical vending machine eatery. I ordered some kind of Chicken Katsu and much to my surprise, it came not only with Rice and Miso Soup (which are typical of a set menu in Japan), but also with some pickles and soft tofu. It was tasty albeit a bit too much portion-wise.

Chicken KatsuOden

I didn’t feel like eating another carb-filled menu for dinner so I ended up just buying 5 pieces of Oden from the local Combini (convenient shop). Due to the extremely cheap price (60 Yen per piece), I thought the taste would be crappy but it’s actually pretty good. I really like that you can serve yourself and choose what kind of Oden you want in your takeaway bowl. My favorite Oden would have to be this piece of fried fish cake. The fried tofu was pretty good as well.


Fast forward today, I decided to buy a dango for breakfast. Well, it wasn’t my kind of food. It’s actually salty whereas I thought it would be sweet. I don’t regret that I tried it though and I did like the chewy texture. For lunch, I stopped at Matsuya and no, I’m not referring to the department store. This Matsuya is just a chain of eatery that is frequently visited by salarymen and students. You order using a vending machine and the foods are the Japanese/Korean variety. I ordered the Gyuudon and it came with this raw egg – which I didn’t eat.

No comments

Anime shops


I’ve been wondering lately what I want to do with this blog. Personally I feel guilty for neglecting it. It feels as if the blog is incomplete. Because of this, I decided to continue blogging what I saw/experienced while I was in Japan. Of course since I am not in Japan anymore, what you read is no longer up to date. But I don’t think it matters, at least not for me. I simply want to turn this into some kind of journal which I can read back and reminiscence. Hopefully by the time I almost run out of things to talk about, it’ll be time for me to go back to Japan again. :)

With that in mind, I’ll just start with a post about anime shops. The first anime shop I visited was Soft in Akihabara. Since that was the first time I entered a full-on anime store, I was a bit shocked to see a store full of nothing but anime and anime related goods. If I remember correctly, the first level is dedicated to manga, the second level is for anime and games, the third level is for hobby kits, and I can’t remember what’s on the fourth and fifth or if those levels actually exist. Either way, it was one hell of an eye opener for me.

When I think about it, it’s weird that I didn’t buy anything back then. I was probably a bit overwhelmed by the sights and too busy looking for a PSP. In addition to this, I had to spent 2.5 months in Okazaki, so I was afraid that I’d run out of money unless I only buy what I really needed. However, during the four days of my stay in Tokyo, I went at least 3 times to Akihabara just to look around the stores. I managed to get some photos but since I was always in a hurry and tried not to use flash, the pictures ended up blurry.

Lamtara shopCapsule toys
Capsule toysBleach fans

My second visit to an anime shop happened when I went to Nagoya with a friend. We were actually looking for a denshi-jisho (electronic dictionary) and a digital camera. However, on our way to the electronic shop, we got lost and stumbled upon a big Animate shop. He’s actually not a big anime fan since the only anime he’s seen were Full Metal Alchemist and Honey and Clover. Nevertheless, he’s nice enough to put up with me when I told him that I want to see the shop for ’5 minutes’. In reality, we probably spent at least 20 minutes inside the shop since the shop is quite big.

The first floor contains mostly manga and I wasn’t in the mood to buy any so we went to the second floor which has a lot of Shitajiki (Pencil Board). Looking back, I really regret the fact that I didn’t buy the Yakitate!! Japan pencilboard while I was there. I wanted to buy the Tsukino and Kawachi one but once again, my tight budget forced me to think “I’ll buy it later before I leave Japan”. I never did. I saw a lot of Mai-Hime pencilboard but the pictures don’t look that special to me and I was still bitter from the ending, so they didn’t register on my ‘must-purchase list’.

Anyway, we then went to the anime section of the shop. I noticed a lot of Air boxsets. Who the hell said that this thing is hard to get? There were a lot of unsold Air boxsets in almost every anime shop I went to. There are also a lot of other rare boxsets there, but strangely, I didn’t feel the desire to purchase any of them. Maybe the amount of anime available in that shop took its toll on me. It started to become not special anymore. By the time we got to the figurine section in the third or fourth floor (can’t remember), I felt that I’ve had enough and we both exited the shop without buying anything.

DVD boxsetsIn front of Animate shopCapsule stations
Jump ShopJump ShopJump Shop

When we got out of the shop, we noticed that there are a lot of capsule stations lining up in front of the shops. Capsule station is basically a mini vending machine device that offers various mini-figurines/keychains. Some of these are quite cheap (around 100 Yen) while others can cost you up to 300 Yen. I noticed that there were some Range Murata-designed figurines inside one of those capsules. However, when I found out that they’re not painted, I decided not to waste my 300 Yen on it. I didn’t bother to check the rest of the capsules since by then, I felt bad for my friend who have been patiently following me around while I was browsing the shop.

I actually made a lot of trips back to Nagoya every week while I was in Japan. However, it’s not until the last few weeks before I left the country that I found this nifty little shop called Jump Shop. Judging from the name, I’m sure everyone can guess that this is a shop that specifically sells various goods related to Shounen Jump series such as Naruto, Bleach, and Death Note. One of the things that immediately attracted my attention was this nice-looking figurines of both Ichigo and Orihime. I can’t exactly remember the price but I remember it being quite affordable, had I still have a lot of money. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much left.

It was definitely not fun being in this kind of shop and not having much money. Unfortunately, after buying digital camera, PSP, electronic dictionary, and lots of manga, there’s not much left for other types of souvenirs. Nevertheless, I couldn’t stop my spending mentality when I saw these nice-looking Zangetsu and Zabimaru keychains. There are a lot of keychains being sold inside this store but none of them looks like they worth the price that you have to pay. These two, however, look so detailed and exceptional that I ended up buying them despite the relatively expensive price (700 Yen each) in comparison to other keychains (which usually only cost around 200 Yen each).


Vending Machine and others

Ice Cream

Vending machine is probably an attraction of its own when you go to Japan. I have to say that they really are convenient and can be found almost everywhere, including in front of some people’s house sometimes. I wonder if they have a say on whether or not they agree to have a vending machine placed in front of their house. Anyway, these vending machines dispenses many thing from normal stuff such as drinks (both hot and cold) and tickets, to something that are a bit unusual such as Ice cream, toys, and camera. I’ve heard about vending machines that dispenses underwear but I haven’t seen one so far.

If you ask me if there are few things that I don’t like about Japan, I’d say that it’ll be the lack of rubbish bin and the Earthquake. It never ceased to amaze me how a country that is as clean as Japan managed to get by with as little rubbish bins on the street as possible. I’d often go and buy a drink from a vending machine only to regret it later on because I’ll have to carry the empty drink bottle for the remainder of the journey until I find a rubbish bin somewhere. Usually I can do nothing but hope that there is a McDonalds or other fast food chain nearby so I can dump the rubbish on their rubbish bin. :P

For me this was a very uncomfortable thing to experience, especially when you have to carry 3 heavy luggages with you at the same time. I was informed that the lack of rubbish bin is mostly because eating and drinking while you walk is not considered a polite behavior here according to some Japanese people. So you’d normally finish your food from where you buy it then dump the rubbish in the nearby rubbish bin. But this becomes problematic when it comes to night festival where you’ll want to buy an oden, for example, and it eat while you look at the other attractions around the festival.

Drinks vending machineDrinks vending machineDrinks vending machine

But the worse thing that probably can happen is Earthquake. I got to experience 2 rather big Earthquake moments when I was in Tokyo. There I was just checking my email and hoping that my download of Speed Grapher will be completed as soon as possible when suddenly I felt a bit dizzy. My room felt as if it’s swaying from left, right and back left. But imagine my surprise when I realized that I didn’t have a headache whatsoever. What I experienced at that time was a rather huge Earthquake that is enough to rock the hostel where I stayed left and right.

Of course, since there was no one around to ask (I was too lazy to go down and ask the receptionist) I just shrugged it off. Plus, I got Speed Grapher on download. I was too confused as to what I should do. Well, now that I think about it, I know that I should have unplugged the cable, gathered my stuff, and got out as soon as possible. But my mind wasn’t working properly at that time. Anyway, the Earthquake subsided after 1-2 minutes and later on that day, I asked the receptionist if we indeed had an Earthquake. She confirmed yes and it was a rather huge one. The thing is, she said it in such a casual manner as if this happens on a daily basis. :0