A Hot Dog Vending Machine

Hot Menu - photo by James Hart
Once again, I’m impressed with Japanese vending machine technology. This time it’s hot food for a few bucks, er, yen.

We all heard about the wacky vending machines before coming to Japan, but this still surprised me. Hot dogs, noodles, french fries, etc microwaved from frozen, 400Yen each.

There is a close up of the selections here.
[via metroblog tokyo]

Japan’s Internet Cafe Homeless

'Net cafe Tokyo Image by Kai Hendry
Nice to know that if I’m ever in Tokyo and need a place to sleep I can just hunker down in an Internet cafe for the night. Apparently there are a few thousand people that just can’t get enough work to afford an apartment in Tokyo. You have to remember that when you undertake the renting of an apartment you have to pony up about four months worth of rent as the down payment. Ouch! You also have to have a co signer in case you can’t make the rent, if you don’t have one of these your out of luck. It’s no wonder that these guys will spend 980 yen ($US) for a place to sleep. The deal breaker is the free coffee and soda that the cafes offer.

[via boingboing and futurismic]
The internet cafe refugees – no friends or prospects, and only a cubicle to call home

Japanese Vending Machines Now Sell Noodles!

Japanese canned noodles a big hitWhat a great idea. I know from personal experience that there is nothing like getting a delicious can of hot chocolate from a machine next to a train station on a cold winter night. Being able to buy noodles the same way would be like heaven…

Kyoto-based vending machine manufacturer Fujitaka was the first company to come out with canned ramen. In May this year it began selling Sapporo-style noodles, which gained huge popularity, mainly in the Akihabara district. In June, the company added hiyashi-men (chilled noodles) to its lineup of canned products.

The noodles are made from konnyaku to prevent them from going soggy when they soak up the noodle soup. Since no hot water is needed they can be eaten straight away.

Now the company’s canned products are sold in vending machines across Japan. They are reportedly so popular that the firm is having trouble keeping up with demand.

Canned noodles emerging as hit product in Japan

Japanese Klled by Russian Gunfire, Work Related Accident?

Japan NiponTalk about rough work conditions…

A local labor standards inspection office has designated the death of a Japanese fisherman shot dead by Russia near a chain of disputed islands as a government work-related accident, and has started paying his bereaved family a pension, it has been learned.

Death of Japanese fisherman killed by Russian gunfire accepted as work accident