A lot has been written about vending machines in Japan. From handmade gyoza to pizza and Pokemon toys, there’s no end to the types of items you can purchase instantly from a machine here, but now there’s an extra degree of difficulty involved if you’re looking to quench your thirst with a coke, thanks to this new vending machine in Tokyo. It is over 350 centimeters tall.
If the task of reaching those buttons waaaaay up there seems impossible, you’re not entirely wrong. You see, this machine has been made to demonstrate the heights jumped by male and female volleyball players at the Olympic Games.
The lower row of buttons, at 309 centimeters high, represents the height that female volleyball players can reach while jumping, and the top row, at 348 centimeters, shows the height that can be reached by male players.
The “Volleyball Vending Machine“, as it’s being called, comes with some interesting facts about the sport, including the fact that serves can hit impressive speeds of 120 kilometers an hour. It also explains that this is a working vending machine, which will actually dispense a cold drink for those who are able to hit one of the buttons.
With 10 buttons on each row, those who are able to jump high enough to hit one of the five buttons on the left will receive a free bottle of Coca-Cola, while those who hit one of the five on the right will receive a free bottle of Aquarius, a sports drink manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company.
Staff are on hand to help guide hopeful customers, with instructions that only one attempt at the machine is allowed per person. Children are required to use a special paddle with a long handle and foam-covered tip for their attempt, while adults have to make the jump from a line marked out on the ground to the left of the machine.
While there were many attempts by both adults and children at the time we visited, all the adults walked away empty handed after not being able to reach any of the buttons. However, one child went home victorious, hitting one of the buttons after getting a lift halfway up by their father.
The Volleyball Vending Machine is only in town for a limited time, as part of the “Futsuu Ja Nai 2020 Exhibition” (“Not Your Usual 2020 Exhibition“) currently being held outside the Tokyo Midtown complex at Hibiya.
There are plenty of interesting interactive displays on offer here, including a "Marathon-sized Cup Noodle."
▼A set of hurdles used at the Olympic Games.
▼ And a “Rugger Weight” which lets you experience the force of a rugby scrum.
If you’d like to test your athletic prowess, be sure to head down to Tokyo Midtown Hibiya to check out the exhibition, which runs until Aug 26.
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