Happy new year to y’all following along with my updates here. I hope everyone had peaceful holidays and a fantastic start into 2020.
Naturally, the beginning of a new year inspires one to look back and reflect on some of the things -good or bad- that happened in the past one. In my case that rang particularly true as it marked half a year spent in Tokyo. The second half of 2019 has probably been the most physically and emotionally taxing period of my career so far. At the same time, I’ve been fortunate to get to meet and work together with many very bright individuals and was able to gain experiences that will last a lifetime. Six months back, I couldn’t possibly have imagined the different things -technical and non-technical- I would (have to) learn in such a short time.
So what’s the verdict – will I stick around in Japan for long? Well, what I can say is that I will certainly not grow old here. As much as I grew to appreciate the culture, as convenient as everyday life is in Tokyo, and as beautiful the countryside is, there are fundamental things I could probably never adapt to with my liberal western upbringing. But for now, it’s pretty good fun.
Anyway, enough of that. You’re probably wondering what’s up with the vending machines at the top of this post. Well, in case you didn’t know, Japan is absolutely crazy about vending machines. They are so omnipresent that you’d be hard-pressed not to run into one within a minute’s walk in any given city. Back in 2012, the Japanese Vending Machine Association estimated a whopping 5.6 million machines being deployed throughout the country. Now for a foreigner like me, the sheer variety of different designs and range of products offered is extraordinary. Equally surprising however is that I was unable to locate a website that documents these things. Sure, you’ll find many individual blog posts about weird examples, but none that is really dedicated to it.
Well folks, someone had to do it: At vmo.tokyo (read: “Vending Machines of Tokyo”), I’ll try to post a new one every single day this year. Shouldn’t be too much of an issue with literally millions of them around the city.