Japanese vending machines are a magical thing. Not only are there more vending machine per person in Japan than anywhere else in the world (1 vending machine for every 23 Japanese people), but they’re also incredibly inexpensive and convenient.
For a mere １５０円, you can have any Japanese soda, milk tea, iced coffee, or other novelty beverage your heart desires.
But that’s not all; the Japanese have vending machines for practically everything. Want a fresh banana straight from a vending machine? You got it!
In short: they bring clunky American vending machines to shame.
Japan has upped the ante once again and begun to stock its vending machines with the greatest product of them all: the internet.
The Problem With WiFi In Japan
As Koichi wrote about a few years ago, finding wireless internet in Japan can be a huge pain. While Japan has some of the speediest internet in the world, it can be tough to find a public place to get your internet fix.
Fortunately, beer titan and vending machine operator Asahi has decided to combine Japan’s fast internet and awesome vending machines into a vending machine that dispenses honest-to-God free wireless internet.
The wireless signal reaches out about 50 meters (or about 150 feet) and auto-kicks people after half an hour, so no four-hour-long WoW raids on vending machine wifi while slurping down can after can of Boss Coffee.
Once you connect to the WiFi, you’ll be welcomed by a screen that shows you everything that’s available in the vending machine, along with information about local businesses and tourism. Definitely a lot more friendly than stealing your neighbor’s WiFi.
Line ‘Em Up!
Asahi hopes that customers will be drawn in by both the free internet and tasty beverages like moths to a flame.
And it helps that the Japanese are notorious for loving to wait in line. The longer and more useless the line, the better. A brand new doughnut shop? Better wait 4 hours in line for a taste.
Perhaps the hope is that as people start hovering around Asahi vending machines to siphon some of that sweet, sweet WiFi, more people will be attracted to the machine. If there are people loitering around a vending machine, then surely there must be a good reason, right?
Will Asahi’s new vending machines create popular hangouts around soft drink dispensers? Well, probably not, but it’s still a pretty cool idea, and will be definitely welcome in WiFi-starved Japan.