Putting our faith in the gacha gods at a new store dedicated to weird vending machines in Tokyo.

Our Japanese-language reporter Mr Sato loves vending machines, especially when they serve up edible surprises like noodles and insects. So when he heard about a new store in Tokyo that grouped together a whole bunch of machines with food in them, he immediately made the trip out there to see what it was all about.

▼ The Pippon “Vending Machine Select Shop” opened in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward on 16 December.

As soon as Mr Sato stepped through the front door of Pippon, he felt like a kid in a candy shop, only instead of candy he was surrounded by a variety of unusual vending machines he’d never seen before. Some of the food on offer included:

Samgyetang, a Ginseng chicken soup popular in Korea…

▼ ...nabe hotpot meals and oden from Japan…

▼ …Western meals like doria and gratin

▼…and gelato in tubs, from a brand called Husky.

What really caught Mr Sato’s eye, though, was a special “gacha” vending machine. Gacha machines dispense their products at random, and that’s what this one promised to do, although instead of spitting out a capsule toy, this one would be dispensing a random tin of expensive caviar.

▼ The “Caviar Gacha” machine is only available for a limited time, until the end of January 2022, to celebrate Pippon’s opening.

Looking at the display, Mr Sato could see that the purchase options here were:

2,000 yen (US$17.51), which could net you a 10-gram (0.35-ounce) tin or, if you’re lucky, a 100-gram tin worth 18,500 yen ($161.94)

3,000 yen, which could net you a 10-gram tin or, if you’re lucky, a 250-gram tin worth 40,000 yen

5,000 yen, which could net you a 50-gram tin or, if you’re lucky, a 500-gram tin worth a whopping 75,000 yen ($655.45)

The chance of winning a high-priced product were said to be 1 in 30, so Mr Sato decided to go big, opting for the most expensive 5,000 yen option. Even if he didn’t score half a kilo of caviar, he’d get a 50-gram tin, which is said to be usually priced at 9,500 yen, so it wouldn’t be a loss either way.

After feeding his notes into the machine, it promptly responded by delivering an insulated package into the slot below.

▼ Could it be a 500-gram tin?

It felt light, but Mr Sato decided to keep the mystery and anticipation high by holding off on opening the package until he got home. When he did finally open it, he found there was another layer of packaging he’d have to make his way through before the big reveal.

Eventually, he was able to pluck the tin from its packaging, to find…

▼ …a handsome sturgeon called Cavin Costner! 

Well that certainly was a surprise. However, upon turning the can over to check its contents, there it was:

▼ Weight: 50 grams

Oh well. You win some, you lose some. Still, Mr Sato chose to see this as a win, especially when he lifted the lid to reveal a mound of glistening beads, made up of kaluga and Amur sturgeon eggs, seasoned with sun-dried salt from Christmas Island.

The caviar was sold frozen, so Mr Sato followed the recommended instructions to keep the tin in the refrigerator for 6 hours, followed by 10 minutes at room temperature to thaw before eating.

So how was it, Mr Sato?

“It’s delicious! I think. Well, to be frank, I don’t usually eat such high-class food, so I’m not sure if it’s delicious or not.”

Ah, Mr Sato. Always chasing after fanciful dreams of luxury, even when he ought to stick to what he knows best — the life and hobbies of a common man with simple pleasures like building cardboard toilets.

Store Information

Pippon / ピッポン
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku, Nakanobu 4-7-7
Open 24 hours

Photos © SoraNews24
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