The Ur-Vending Machine

I was walking along a little back street in Tama when I came across the great grand-daddy of vending machines: this little neighborhood vegetable hutch. People leave their backyard surplus in the bins and anyone can buy it by dropping ¥100 in the slot marked “Put Money In Here.” I know that there are lots of other places in the world where this kind of honor system is used so neighbors can trade what they make and grow, but finding it in the middle of a typical Tokyo suburb made me smile.

The Last Tea Bowl Thief was chosen as an Editor’s Pick for
Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense on Amazon

For three hundred years, a missing tea bowl passes from one fortune-seeker to the next, changing the lives of all who possess it…read more

“A fascinating mix of history and mystery.” —Booklist

Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

6 thoughts on “The Ur-Vending Machine

      1. my pleasure- really! My nephew just visited Japan, and I’m terribly jealous. Since I linked your blog to him, you may see him posting in future.
        BTW, read your post re: host clubs, and had to laugh… one of the people Italo met was a host, and I don’t think he had any idea… cracked me right up I promise you. BTW, Sheri S. Tepper’s novel, Six Moon Dance, revolves around a character trained to be a consort- a male concubine; lot’s of parallels to hosts, lol. You might enjoy it. I’ll be buying your novel from iTunes aftr the first of the month. I’m looking forward to it, and more visits to explore your blog. (Loving the Loli-Goth stuff, I think the hubs and I have watched every bad L-G movie on Netflix 😉

        anyway, I’ve written a brief essay when I just meant to say hi, so I’m stoppin’ now (and yup, that’s my native dialect showin’ in print < Texan here)

      2. How great is it that you’re Texan AND love GothLoli stuff?! And how do you know about hosts & host clubs? I never meet anybody (even in The People’s Republic Of San Francisco) who’s heard of them! The second book in my series, Fallen Angel, is set in the Kabukicho host club world. As you can see from the blog posts, I had to do extensive personal research. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it…

      3. the truth is that I read an ungodly amount of manga, and the clubs are mentioned frequently in some genre’s… and I know a lot of people in a lot of jobs here in the states. Or used to anyway! And, they sound damned fun to me, if out of my budget.

        While I lived in Nevada from 1977-1982, I had many adventures. I made the rent playing baccarat for a while among other things 😉 So sorry for all the hard research work, lol. I’d be more than glad to help you out with that research (I’m pretty good at it with a defined goal!). Mama-san wouldn’t be an entirely inappropriate title for some of the jobs I’ve held ;), and I’d be happy to discuss that and or parallels off board if your curious.

        BTW, any chance of you attending WorldCon in 2013? If so, I’d love to have coffee or something with you- and pass your name on to the events chair. I’m a lowly information officer/voodoo officer. The con is sort of a tradition for us, my mother was on the committee for both previous Lone Star Con’s, one of which was a WorldCon.

  1. I would LOVE to have coffee with you at WorldCon! (And I would kill for a business card that listed my position as Voodoo Officer. heh.) I just checked the dates online, and I’ll be back in America then, where friends who share my interest in Japan subcultures are rather few and far between! Would love to hear of your exploits in Vegas – I’m sure we can exchange a few wild stories. My email is

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