When you visit Japan, you can find a lot of vending machines everywhere, even in the middle of nowhere! (According to a survey in 2018, the number of vending machines in Japan is around 3 million.)
These days vending machines sell a variety of items, such as:
- Drinks (Beverage, Water, (cup type) Coffee, Alcohol, etc.)
- Food (Snacks, Ice cream, Bread, Pizza, Instant noodles, etc.)
- Tickets (Train tickets, Food tickets, etc.)
- General goods (Newspapers, Magazines, Cards, Toys, Sanitary goods, etc.)
There are some vending machines with microwave functions for ready-made food (e.g. pizza, hamburgers, pasta, etc.) so that you can eat them right there and then. Also, there are some vending machines selling produce like fresh vegetables and fruits in front of the farm that produces them.
However, vending machines not only sell products/produce, but also help people in emergency circumstances by providing useful information and materials.
For example, vending machines have stickers displaying their address, so you can easily tell where you are when calling for an ambulance. Also, some new vending machines have a bulletin board system for disaster information, and provide food/drink for free in the wake of a disaster. Now more and more vending machines plan to have security cameras to contribute to local crime prevention. Thus, vending machines play a much more important role in our life than before!