The Marble Bust Vending Machine

I saw this gashapon vending machine in Akihabara the other night, and stopped dead in my tracks, trying to imagine what kind of kid would pester his mom for $4.00 to try for a little plastic statue with a piece of gum stuck to its head.

Turns out, a Japanese movie with the catchy title “Thermae Romae” is in theatres right now, and because the time traveling “Roman” (played, of course by popular Japanese actor Hiroshi Abe) suddenly pops up in a modern-day Japanese bath, the promo items feature statues with onsen-style washcloths balanced on their heads, washing their hair with faces protected by Japanese lather shields, or mysteriously carting around koi fish.

Mommy, pleeeeeeez?! All my friends have one!

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Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo Mystery Series, published by Penguin/Intermix.

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