No contact required: Covid fuels vending machine revival in Japan
After decades of decline, jidō hanbaiki are back in fashion with public wary of human interaction
After a brief wait to the faint whirr of moving machinery parts, the tiny cardboard box that drops into the plastic-covered tray is reassuringly warm. Inside is a perfectly passable burger in a chewy white bun, topped with a blob of ketchup and diced fried onions.
No human interaction occurred in the making of this transaction. The Guardian’s alfresco lunch came courtesy of one of dozens of vending machines in Sagamihara, an unglamorous town near Tokyo.