Like most gaijin, I had a fixation with Japanese vending machines when I came to live here, and took many silly pictures of them. Vending machines are quite advanced here, and often accept 10,000 yen notes (the equivalent of a $100 bill) and give change, verbally thanking you for your purchase. In Tokyo, where land is scarce, there are vending machines that are incredibly slim, so you can fit them in small spaces. You can buy just about anything from vending machines here, including canned coffee (hot in the winter, cold in the summer), canned corn soup, and cigarettes. Eggs and rice are sold in areas where there are no shops around, and I've seen machines that sell frozen meals and microwave it for you. Beer has been sold in vending machines for decades, and I have many fond memories of sitting in front of the local vending machine with friends, throwing a few back and talking with people who came by on their way to the station. Beer vending machines are being phased out, though, due to concerns about minors buying alcohol -- although the machine we have at our liquor store features a slot which reads your drivers' license for verification. Adult products are sometimes sold in vending machines, too, since customers like the privacy a machine affords.
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No must keep the beer vending machines, and start importing them to the US as well