Over the years, Japan has seen an array of interesting and unusual vending machines. Recently, a brassiere-dispensing one debuted in Tokyo.
Last Friday, Japanese lingerie maker Wacoal rolled out a bra vending machine at its Une Nana Cool branded specialty shop in Shibuya. The vending machine is packed with the popular wireless "Fun Fun Week" bras.
There's a size chart on the machine for the colourful undergarments, which are priced at ¥2940 ($30).
Customers pony up the cash and punch in the item number.
And within seconds they are the proud owner of a vending-machine bra. Congrats!
The shop's manager told Tokyo MX, "The vending machine's strength is that you can quickly look at the size chart and buy." Tokyo MX also pointed out that one of the vending machine's merits was that customers didn't have to tell shop staff their size. Heck, they don't even have to talk to shop staff -- well, unless the vending machine eats their money.
On GirlsChannel, a site aimed at Japanese women, many thought the idea of buying a bra via a vending machine seemed rather strange. "Purchasing one without trying it on would be somewhat impossible (for me)," wrote one commenter. Others said it seemed "embarrassing" or even "dodgy".
"An old man probably came up with this idea," wrote another commenter. Others suggested that it was ideal for male customers who liked to wear women's underwear. Elsewhere online, there were the inevitable jokes asking if the bras were new, and there were requests for Japan's somewhat mythic panty vending machines.
If anything, this seems like a Wacoal publicity stunt, which is something the Japanese lingerie company often does. It sure is working, Wacoal!
Not all commenters were completely against the vending machine, and there were those who thought the novelty aspect was interesting. Wrote one commenter, "So, this is peace of mind for the days you forget to wear a bra, I guess?"
Interested shoppers need to act fast as the bra vending machine will only be in service for a limited time: It will be at the Une Nana Cool in Shibuya Parco until August 31, and between September 1 to September 30, the vending machine will be at the store's Futako-Tamagawa branch. That doesn't mean that maybe, just maybe, a permanent bra vending machine is an impossibility!
According to the manager of Une Nana Cool's Shibuya shop, "From here on out, it's very much a dream to put this (vending machine) in a spot where there aren't any shop staff." And there aren't any underwear stores or online retailers? Whatever, if it exists, then somebody somewhere in Japan has probably sold it in a vending machine.