1 Mar 2014

one way ticket to rapture

It's been almost two months since Japan and I've been having a hankering that has popped up almost daily now. Among my general reminiscing: the shopping, the people, the toasty, timely, titillating trains (you'd feel the same way), my gluttonous self has sorely missed and pined for.... A vending machine meal. Feast your eyes. Seriously.

Bowl of udon noodles and Japanese curry

*the feels they crash all over me all over me*

No, the udon and curry combo you see above did not fall out of a vending machine, wonderful and enchanting as they are, but it's kinda close! This particular lunch was consumed at a vending machine restaurant, which are located all around Japan - especially train stations, but only made aware to us after we had a hearty play at a cat cafe in Shinjuku. Basically, from a vending machine located at typically the front/outside of the restaurant you order and pay for your meal, the machine prints out a ticket and you bring that ticket of guaranteed deliciousness to the restaurant staff. The meals are pumped out quick, but what got me was how damn economical it was. It was cheap. Observe:

Udon noodles, katsudon, curry

On the left, Rainie ordered some soba and katsu-don and it came out in record time, tasted faultless and left her a mere... ¥690 out of pocket, call that seven beans. SEVEN DOLLARS. Mine was even cheaper! ¥590, make that six dollars. Six dollars of udon noodles and curry + rice that was 110% YUMMILICIOUS. Don't even get it twisted. Of course, we chose the combo meals (refer to me being a glutton), so there were even cheaper options but seriously, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO ME AUSTRALIA? WHY? ARE? YOU? HURTING? ME? What was even more fun was that because of the speediness and inexpensiveness of the meals, a majority of these vending serviced restaurants were populated by business folk on their lunch break. In some places, such as the following eatery located in Shibuya station, you had standing tables where the business men and women would eat, yeah, standing and zip right outta there and head back to their jobs/desks/headaches. It was pretty crazy *slurp* cool *slurp* interesting *slurp*

Vending machine restaurant in Shibuya

So, almost everyday I have asked myself, 'what to have for lunchies today?' and almost every time I have answered, 'I could really go for a vending machine lunchie'. It's been a painful exchange between myself and myself.

To stave off these thoughts, I made some chicken udon noodle soup for dinner yesterday and it was delish, but there's something about buying your lunch through a ticketed system and sitting between the suited patrons that kinda adds an extra somethin', somethin' to the overall experience of your meal.