If your iPad gave you Diet Coke…

4 May

Touch-screen vending machine

Japan is widely recognized as the Mecca of vending machines. The newest twist is a touch-screen version. Instead of buttons (as in the US) or empty cans, there’s a giant high-def display of your beverage choices, which you select by touching. I’m not sure what the advantage of this is over displaying actual cans, except maybe reeling people in with the “Ooh, touch screen!” factor. I guess you could show ads and such when it’s not being used for vending. Maybe in the future you’d be able to check your Facebook while waiting for your frosty (or hot! Japanese vending machines can heat and cool) beverage.

I totally fell for the “Ooh, touch screen” myself, and treated myself to a hot Calpico, which is what they call Calpis in the US to avoid the unfortunate homophonic connotations of the original name when pronounced by English speakers, especially Americans. (The Japanese pronunciation sounds more like “karupisu”.) (Also, Googling “calpis” led me to a homemade calpis recipe, which excites me to no end, as it’s quite expensive to buy outside of Japan.) Calpico is a yogurt-based soft drink, and tastes a little like the beverage form of the Korean frozen yogurt that was trendy a few years ago (“plain” flavor, of course). I’ve only ever had it cold, with or without fizz, so the hot version was something new. I have to say that, like frozen yogurt, Calpico is best served iced. But at least it gave me an excuse to use a cool vending machine!


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