Two articles in The Japan Times caught my eye during the last few days, and I thought I’d comment on them here.
Gold vending machines
The first one is “Vending machines to offer gold“. Basically it is just what the title says: A company is installing vending machines that sell gold and silver. They claim that customers want to invest in “something real”, and I think they may be on to something there. In Japan, payments are usually made in cash, and most shops do not accept credit cards. Bills (e.g. for my mobile phone contract) are often payed via convenience store transfer. I’ll get a form along with the bill, take that to a convenience store, pay the money and they’ll transfer it to the company. Japanese seem to like having their money in a way they can touch, so I think buying precious metals might appeal to them. However, I’m not sure if a price that is about twice the normal market value according to the article will attract too many customers.
“Intravenous drip bar”
No, I did not invent that term, a clinic in Nagoya did. Their business model: Providing IV drips containing “vitamins and other health supplements” to tired and exhausted workers. For my European readers this probably reaffirms the image of the overworked Japanese, and I do suspect that a bit more sleep and a bit less work might be better in the long term. However, the article mentions another aspect:
One of the reasons behind the establishment’s popularity is the growing number of companies that have been closing down their in-house clinics. “People usually don’t come to see a doctor unless they get really sick. I hope this place will be like a ‘health consultation cafe’ where people drop in and freely talk about their health concerns while receiving an infusion,” said Kinoshita, the director.
Well, I’d want to talk about health concerns to a doctor before considering getting an infusion, but I understand the problem. Luckily, Tohoku University does have a health center. 🙂
The last few days we had some snow, so here’s a nice photo I took on the footpath to Aobayama campus. Enjoy!