June 03

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The Lucky Vending Machine

If you feed a thousand yen note into the maw of this vending machine, you don’t know if you’re going to get an awesome digital camera, a Swiss Army Knife, or a spanking new copy of that first person shooter that totally flopped last year and only works on a game system you don’t own.

The one thing you’re sure to get is a surprise. In a brilliant year-round twist on the New Year’s fukubukuro phenomenon, behold the vending machine that promises to deliver “popular brand name goods” for a fraction of their usual cost. If the stuff inside is anything like New Year’s Lucky Bags, this machine is mostly filled with items of reasonable value that didn’t exactly fly off the shelves, plus a few things people would actually be happy to own.

So take a chance! You might get something you love. And if you don’t, you can always sell it on eBay…

If you’d like to try your chances at the lucky vending machine the next time you’re in Tokyo, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had. If you go to the KFC in Akihabara, it’s right down the street.

Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, now out for the first time in paperback

More Nightshade book goodness here, in case you think you might want to, you know, read it or something

A young woman is found dead in an abandoned car, with a pair of strangers old enough to be her parents. Their suicide note apologizes for a disaster that hasn’t yet happened. And someone is stalking the…read more

…or watch the book trailer (0:52)