Japanese vending machines (and buses in general)

The Japanese love of the vending machine is legendary. Having endured the start of a very bitter spring there, we came to appreciate the breadth of weird and wonderful beverages of the warm variety, if nothing than to heat one’s hands and temporarily forestall frostbite.

It must come as a shock to Japanese tourists when they visit our shores in Australia. The best we can manage is the 200 varieties of Coke, tooth rotting sports drinks, and calorific crisps and chockies; all mega sized for the voracious sweet toothed Caucasian.

We decided to bus it on our way to visit the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji). On the map, the route for the particular bus seemed to go from our hotel to the site. What the map didn’t reveal (most likely due to our non-existent Japanese language skills) was the terminusĀ half way between our point-a and point-b!

Moreover, the Japanese system of piling on the bus from the rear entrance and grabbing a ticket/tokenĀ then paying at the front of the bus when exiting though a good idea generally, falls down in practice when the bus is chockers and one has to plough through many civilised persons to exit the vehicle.

We found buses in Hong Kong (and Australia, to think of it) similiarly perplexing for their mystery value. At lease with trams & trains, you can fairly definitively say where you are going but buses? Who knows? Is the little side street a detour or a destination?