Thursday, December 2, 2010
Fiorina the Flower Vending Machine
Even after all this time living in Japan, I still marvel at the goods sold in vending machines. Discovered in the bowels of Shinjuku Station, this one dispenses fresh flowers. Its rotating display offers a range of floral possibilities, from the discrete single blossom to the exuberant cluster of seasonal blooms.
In Japan, where floral shops abound, it seems counterintuitive to buy a bouquet from a vending machine. How do the flowers stay so fresh and perky? How many arrangements can this machine possibly sell in a day? But there is bound to be someone dashing across Tokyo's busiest transit depot -- a million commuters are said to pass through Shinjuku Station daily -- in urgent need of daisies or roses.
A numbered tag identifies each offering. The solitary rose will set one back Y1000 but the autumnal bunch requires a slightly larger investment. By punching in the number (top) and inserting the appropriate quantity of Y1000 bills into the slot (bottom), the flower consumer on the fly can grab a bouquet and still make the express train to Odawara.