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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

相場で負け続けて辛いので、結婚相手を探しに千円札3枚握りしめて蒲田までやってきましたが、全部売り切れになっていたので、もう立ち直れません…(´・ω・`) pic.twitter.com/06QCMwBlxM

— 苦悶のジュウザ@汎用人型遠隔操作式養育費送金専用ATM (@kumonnojuza) December 20, 2021

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 …continue reading