The interesting operating system for buying metres of bubble wrap involves the use of a gacha capsule toy machine.

If you’ve been following our site for a while now, you’ll have come across the crazy antics of one of our most popular Japanese-language reporters, Mr Sato. Whether he’s pole-dancing for crowds of onlookers or marrying VR characters, our thrill-seeking reporter is always on the hunt for the new and unusual, introducing us to the whacky side of Japan at every opportunity.

Even the act of purchasing something as mundane as bubble wrap becomes an exciting experience when you’re out with Mr Sato, and we had the opportunity to do just that recently, during a trip to Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture.

Attracted by this sign on the side of the road, which read “Puchi puchi uttemasu”, or “Bubble wrap for sale”, Mr Sato immediately stopped his Sato mobile and took us out to see what we could find.

▼ Sure enough, just around the corner, we came across a huge machine with a large banner that said “Bubble Wrap Direct Sale”.

The machine was located in front of the Kawakami Sangyo factory, which had the words “Pura Pearl” printed across one of its walls. Pura Pearl is a lightweight cardboard-like plastic product made using bubble wrap technology, and according to Mr Sato, this meant that our direct bubble-wrap purchase from the plastic specialists would be one of the best buys around town.

The unmanned sale of bubble wrap here came with one of the most entertaining vending machine systems we’d ever seen. Several steps were involved in making a purchase so we were glad we had Mr Sato there to talk us through it.

First off, we had to put five 100-yen (US$0.89) pieces into the old Bandai “Capsule Station” vending machine. These are usually filled with capsule toys, so using one to buy bubble wrap was a unique mind-bending experience, even for Mr Sato, who’s seen nearly everything under the sun.

The three-step purchase system requires customers to place their money into the capsule toy vending machine, before turning the handle to spit out one of the capsules.

Once you receive the capsule, you have to open it up and look at the number printed on the slip of paper inside. This will indicate which one of the four lockers to open, and the three-number code printed on the slip will allow you to open the lock on the locker door.

After you’ve used the number to crack the code on the lock, you’ll be able to open the locker door and lift out your purchase!

Mr Sato wasn’t expecting the bubble wrap to be this big, but for just 500 yen he was thrilled with his bargain purchase.

Now he just has to find a use for it all. Knowing our industrious Mr Sato, though, we’re sure he’ll come up with a grand plan to incorporate bubble wrap into one of his future articles!

Photos © SoraNews24
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