“Hey, is this true, this thing I heard about Japan?”
“What?”, I say, “What is that thing you heard about Japan?”
“I heard you can buy used schoolgirl panties from vending machines! Honest! A guy I know read it on the Internet!”
I think the “used panty vending machine” story is up the top of the list of questions I get about Japan. While having all the hallmarks of an urban myth, it’s true!
That is, it was true. Maybe. Some claim it was a strictly ’90s phenomenon before the machines got shut down. Others claim the reports come from illiterate Westerners, who can’t tell the difference between clean and used underwear being vended. In any case, if used panty vending machines still exist today, there’s no obvious evidence of them in Tokyo.
Or is there? Spied last weekend: an ordinary-looking vending machine in plain sight near my house:
Which on closer inspection – yes – contains panties!
Oh, regular pantyhose. That’s probably kind of convenient. I guess it’s a little quirky. Sort of.