Wonder Brothers (part 1)
There are literally hundreds of vending machine-related websites in Japanese, including:
Wabisabi Vending (retro machines, clickable map and a theme tune!)
Yamadaya (with an incredible “links everywhere” design)
and Vending Machine TV (check out the videos)
For me though, the most intriguing site (by a country mile) is this one, a daily blog by Ryuichi Ikeda who has been photographing the same vending machine in Sapporo, Hokkaido almost every day since September 2005.
The website subtitle means “I take a photo of the vending machine every day. Sorry.”
As you might imagine, the site has an incredible and compelling sense of continuity.
Over time, as one drink in the machine is replaced with another or cans and bottles are moved to different positions, this dedicated blogger meticulously documents it all with close-up photographs and detailed diagrams of the changes:
Most changes (like the above) are slight, but sometimes (2009/08/08 shows a particularly interesting example) it becomes quite complex.
Of course on most days there are no changes, and that’s the beauty of the site, as one is only occasionally rewarded with an anomaly. Although twice a year there are really big changes as hot drinks are swapped out for cold and vice versa.
He has even shared a downloadable “make your own vending machine” template, which you can find on his Flickr page along with other images of the machine.
And he even shows you how to create an iPhone home page icon to gain instant daily updates.
Now if that seems enough already, Ikeda-san is into more than just vending machines; among his numerous other web-documented ventures are:
Constructive , almost 3 years running, which documented the construction of a 20-storey building as seen from the same position every day.
And as an incredible concept it’s hard to beat this one:
Radio Zinc Club is a concept whereby he sends his prepaid Starbucks card to preselected people in different parts of Japan, who then go to drink coffee at their chosen Starbucks, paid for by his card.
The people then write a report on their experience and send the prepaid card, photos and receipt back to Ikeda-san which are then added to the blog.
Thus, by using his card in each cafe, it seems that he has travelled all over Japan when in fact he has stayed in Sapporo the whole time!
A Wonder Brother indeed. Thank you, Ikeda-san!