6. Vending Machine TakoyakiApril 8, 2008
Otherwise known as the Octopus Ball, Takoyaki is an ovoid pancake sullied with onion, fish flakes, and the odd tentacle. It straddles the divide between mediocre and indifferent: while no one craves it like a greasy breakfast or a third trimester milkshake, no one veers away from it either.
Octopus is one thing that should not be vended. Especially when it is dispensed in a six-ball set, each ball made falsely warm by a mechanical alcove of reconstituted heat.
More worrisome is that this machine is open 24 hours a day. If you find yourself eating vending-machine takoyaki past 3am, you have a problem that cannot be surmised in this blog.
Only a drunk college student returning from the bar at 4:34am could find appeal in this product: apart from the health risks of eating tentacles issued from a machine with no expiry date or influx of customers to warrant a stock change, it could provide an impromptu game of ping-pong.
But this machine is located in an aquatic centre in the middle of nowhere in Northern Japan. There are no bars, no college students.
Worse, the aquatic centre is only open until 9pm, so the question of why a 24-hour vending-maching exists on the second floor, down a dimly lit corridor, in a small damp room is unanswered.
I invite any conjectures.