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Tweet of the Week #106: Farmer’s Creative Vending Machine Hack

Japan Twitter is really impressed with this farmer's coin hack.

By 2 min read

Japan has earned its reputation as a country that loves vending machines. There are around five million dotted around the country. That’s more than the entire United States. From Tokyo’s busiest streets to the loneliest back alleys, train platforms, schools, offices, and even Mount Fuji’s hiking trails, you can quench your thirst practically anywhere. 

That’s approximately one vending machine for every 23 people. They also sell more than your classic drinks and on-the-go snacks. Of course, there are cigarettes and beer, but you’ll also find daily necessities and even fresh fruits and veggies. 

Perhaps no other country like Japan has embraced the convenience of vending machines.

Rural vending machines

Egg-cellent vending machine in rural Japan.

While places like central Tokyo have the most high-tech vending machines you’ll ever see, suburban and rural areas have more low-cost and pragmatic traditional coin-operated machines. Even regular old coin-lockers.

Local Japanese farmers are particularly fond of coin-lockers to sell their products because they do not require electricity and are big enough for baskets of produce. They’re relatively cheap to run and can set up anywhere.

Insert your coins, open the locker and voilà — you’ve got yourself tomatoes or strawberries. The problem is, these low-cost vending machines only work with ¥100 coins and can’t give back change. However, a resourceful farmer has MacGyver’d a solution that has Twitter folks smiling.


“This is a coin-locker style vegetable vending machine. Chinese cabbages cost ¥150, but you can’t insert a ¥50 coin so…”

While stabbing the cabbage with a toothpick holding your ¥50 change is certainly a clever trick, coins are not exactly hygienic.

How to use ので (node) to give reasons

“Kyo wa ame ga futte itanode kasa wo motte kimashita.”

Like から, ので is a particle that translates to “because,” “since” and “so.” Usually, when attached to the first part of your sentence, ので introduces a reason for the consequence or conclusion that’ll be in the second part.

When used with nouns and na-adjectives, you need to attach な before ので. While both ので and から give reasons, ので sounds more formal and should be preferred in a business context.

“I caught a cold, so I’ll take the day off today.”

Used with nouns and na-adjectives, you need to attach な before ので.

Since it’s my first trip abroad, I’m nervous.

“It’s quiet at the library, so I can focus.”


Japanese Romaji English
しき shiki -style
野菜やさい yasai vegetable
自販機じはんき jihanki vending machine (short version)
自動販売機じどうはんばいき jidohanbaiki vending machine
投入とうにゅうする tounyuu suru insert
hatsu kaigai ryokou first oversea trip

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