One thing foreign visitors to Japan immediately notice is the ubiquitous vending machines. Particularly in big cities, you can’t swing a tanuki without hitting a machine selling something. Mostly it’s soft drinks, but there are also vending machines for beer, cigarettes, hamburgers , used panties , weird toys , curry , fresh eggs , and pretty much anything under the sun . Now you can even get a good deed done with your canned coffee purchase at this vending machine accepting charitable donations.
We spotted this rather unusual vending machine option on the approach to Kompira-san shrine in Kagawa Prefecture.
As you can see in the picture, users have a choice of donating 100 yen (about US$0.80) or even as little as 10 yen. Simply put your money into the machine and when the button lights up, press it just like you were buying a soda. Not a bad way to lighten your pockets of those pesky 10-yen coins, particularly on the steep climb up to the shrine.
▼ “This button is a donation button. Your good will is going to reach a lot of people.”
The donations go to Central Community Chest of Japan , also called the Red Feather Organization, which is a well-known and respected charity in Japan and part of the international United Way network. They use money collected for the public good, for example by assisting victims of natural disasters and supporting orphanages and welfare homes.
It’s nice to see the same vending technology that allows pervy old men to anonymously buy dirty schoolgirl panties being used for something a little loftier.