And here we were thinking cans of hot green tea were amazing.

Japan has so many vending machines that they hardly register in the minds of most people walking down the street. However, an array of vending machines in Tokyo’s Kamata neighborhood has been catching eyes recently.

Occupying the curb and otherwise empty interior of a small bank of coin-operated lockers, the first thing you notice might be the machines outside offering canned drinks for as little as 50 yen (US$0.43), less than half the price of most vending machines in Japan, but the really unusual machine is the one found inside. The product display case is stocked with cans, but these they don’t contain beverages. Instead, you’re purchasing the path to a potential romantic partner.

▼ Photos of the vending machine that sells love

The pink cans represents women seeking companionship, and the beige ones men, each with the individual’s age written on it. The vending machine isn’t anything so vulgar as an anonymous hook-up provider, though, as its inventory is stocked and managed by Matching Advisor Press (which also goes by the acronym MAP), a matchmaking service for singles actively seeking a serious relationship that will hopefully lead to marriage, or konkatsu, as it’s called in Japanese.

Each can costs 3,000 yen (US$26), but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a date, let alone a spouse. Instead, what you’re purchasing is a voucher for a one-hour interview and advice session with a MAP advisor, whose name is also written on the can, ostensibly to see if you’re an amicable match for the single whose can you bought. If you are, then MAP will arrange a three-hour dinner date for the two of you, with an additional 9,000-yen service fee plus any associated food and drink costs to be paid by you.

Several of the details are on the hazy side, however. For example, the message on the can’s exterior is phrased as though the MAP advisor is the one speaking to you, such as “I am advisor Ishikawa. There is a 27-year-old woman who wants to get married. Won’t you meet with her? I will advise you.” However, the placard at the bottom of the machine shows a photo of a woman with her given name listed (all of the advisors’ names on the cans are family names), along with “My mobile phone number is on the back of my photo. Please call me.”

As such, it’s unclear if the 3,000-yen “interview” is a counseling session with the MAP advisor alone, a direct phone conversation between the can’s purchaser and the other single, or some kind of a three-person meeting between the purchaser, advisor, and the person represented by the can. It’s also unclear as to whether or not MAP, if you don’t hit it off with the person from the can, will help you find another of its clients you might be more compatible with, or whether that would require an additional fee.

Speaking of additional fees, the matchmaking vending machine’s signage also says that in the happy event that you and the person from the can do end up falling in love and getting married, you’ll be asked to pay an additional 300,000 yen (US$2,608) to MAP as a “successful marriage award payment,” though how the company confirms the marriage or enforces this is unknown. As a final head-scratcher, the machine is powered on and every can is marked as having been sold, but a sign inside the cans’ display case says that MAP won’t be starting operation until March 1. Whether the “sod-out” status of the cans is because people have already begun buying them three months in advance, or because MAP’s machine just isn’t actually allowing anyone to buy them yet, as well as how the company can be sure that the people represented by the cans will still be single at the start of spring, are just a few more of the mysteries surrounding the situation.

Source: Togetter
Top image: Pakutaso
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