Japan Story #1: The Veggie Vending Machine

I wanted to try and start with my favorite story from my trip, but I couldn’t decide. This one is definitely in the top five though.

There are vending machines everywhere in Japan. The first night after we got off the plane we took a train to Kyoto and in the dark the only thing I could see was the light of vending machines on otherwise unlit streets that looked to me like alley ways. But this was my favorite vending machine of all:

cabbage vending machine

Yes ladies and gentlemen, that vending machine has fresh vegetables in it, including cabbage, chives and lettuce. Behind me when I took this picture was an older woman sitting in her garage sorting vegetables which I assume would later go in the vending machine. The garage was attached to a very nice looking house. I like to imagine that the farm in the picture is where the vegetables we grown, but I don’t know that for sure.

All over Japan I was surprised to see little farms like this nestled into neighborhoods. Earlier this day I saw a farm which was about a hundred meters square which was in the corner of a super market parking lot. It looked like the owner had simple refused to sell the land, so the supermarket built around it. It was so different from the US where the only place you normally see farms are when they are stretching to the horizon. The patchwork of these farms much much smaller.

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