From persimmons to eggs and even noodles, we’ve seen vending machines dispense some surprising things in Japan. Now we’ve found a machine so unique it’s been featured on television and newspaper reports around the country, with even Japanese people raising their eyebrows in delight at its unusual contents.
Located in the rural town of Uchiko in Ehime Prefecture, this vending machine contains a range of beautifully folded origami designs. The traditional Japanese art of paper folding isn’t something you’d immediately think to connect to a vending machine, but this one proves that when the two worlds collide, the results can be simply beautiful.
The handmade touch extends from the designs to the machine itself, with the addition of a handwritten sign at the top that reads “Origami“, and another sign on the bottom left requesting that customers leave the empty plastic containers from their purchase into the small sack so that they can used again.
Twitter user @bon_chic recently shared this photo of the machine online, and when she visited, there were 18 designs available.
Selections from the bottom row, which retail for just 10 yen each, include (below, from left to right): a plane, a shuriken ninja throwing star, a goldfish balloon, a rabbit balloon, and a balloon with wings.
The middle row features designs that retail for 50 yen each, consisting of (from left to right): a frog that jumps when pressed, a pair of lips that open and close, a crow that opens its beak, an acrobatic horse that flips, and a spinning top.
Items in the top row retail for 30 yen each, featuring designs that change seasonally. For spring, we can see three helmets on the left, a sword in the middle, and to the right of that, some koinobori carp streamers. All these items are commonly displayed in homes with sons as part of Japan’s Boys’ Day celebrations on May 5. To the right of the flying carp, there’s a Japanese iris, followed by a decorated envelope, which is used to give money to children on special days at this time of year, which include Girls’ Day on March 3, Boys’ Day on May 5, and Children’s Day, which is also celebrated on May 5.
When she visited, @bon_chic made the following purchases: goldfish balloon, the acrobatic horse, the koinobori, and the lips. According to @bon_chic, these were all made to an incredibly high standard, with tight, neat folds and beautiful paper which was obviously selected to match each of the different designs. Uchiko has a long history of traditional Japanese paper production, and this is a lovely way to pay tribute to the region’s cultural traditions.
Social media users have been blown away by the cute origami vending machine, leaving comments like:
“What a cute machine! Just looking at it warms my heart.”“We need this type of vending machine to spread all around the country!”“I hope this operation stays in business forever!”“I wish they installed these at airports in Japan – they would be so popular!”“The beautiful simplicity of this machine makes me want to support the people behind its creation.”
According to Japanese news reports, the designs are made by a 61-year-old woman who runs the shop where the machine is located. Instead of discarding one of their old vending machines, they decided to put it to use by selling origami pieces with it instead.
It’s a wonderful idea that we hope will inspire other vending machine owners around the country, because this is one unique commercial operation we’d definitely love to see spring up on street corners around Japan!
Vending machine informationOkano Shoten / 岡野商店Address: Ehime-ken, Kita-gun, Uchiko-cho, Hiraoka-Ko 1555-3愛媛県喜多郡内子町平岡甲1555−3
Source: Net Lab
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