I snapped these images on my phone this morning; heading to Busan this afternoon.
This is a typical scene on the side of a Japanese street – vending machines, and lots of them, even on less-populated streets. Not only can you get stuff like Coke and water (or the charmingly-named Pocari Sweat), but you get buy coffee in a can (heated), Kirin or Asahi beer for around a euro, and cigarettes galore. Oh, and some sake if you like it!
In a nation where the normal hair colour is black, hair dye is big business. Here’s a picture from a pharmacy showing a few of the options you can choose from (this is the men’s selection BTW).
I was looking for a depato (department store) and accidentally wandered into a full-blown pachinko zone. Pachinko is a Japanese game where you put little metal balls into a machine in the hope of getting more balls out, which you can then re-exchange for cash. (Actually, we had a less-interesting game not unlike that in Ireland where you’d put 2 pence coins into a machine in the hope of knocking one of an ever-growing piles of 2 pences off the edge into the out slot – I don’t think it had a name so I hereby christen it “topplepence”.) In this huge gambling building, there was row after row of people happily connected to their pachinko machines like cigarette-smoking Borgs. Maybe I’ll give it a go if I’m feeling brave next time…
And if a break is needed from pachinko, the same establishment has a relaxation area with massage chairs and a library of manga to read!