Tokyo's streets are characterized by a plethora of vending machines--dispensing everything from soft drinks, candy, cigarettes, magazines, personal toiletries, and beer. Unlike other major cities such as New York and London, virtually every downtown street corner seems to have at least one vending machine. Explain why vending machines are so prevalent in Tokyo versus more traditional purveying mechanisms such as newsstands, grocery stores, and liquor stores.
Congratulations to Jenny Kuebel (our first two-time winner this semester) for being the first to provide a reasonable explanation for the prevalence of vending machines in Tokyo. I think Jenny hits the nail on the head when she notes that vending machines take up very little space compared to a standard brick and mortar store. The scarcity of land in downtown Tokyo suggests that rents would be very expensive for such brick and mortar stores.