Hello everyone! Please forgive my uncreative title lol, but as it says today I am going to be talking about Japanese Gachapon!
If you are a fan of the Japanese culture, you may have read or heard of this term; I first came across it on the LINE PLAY game that you can download on your mobile!! Gachapon machines are coin-operated toy vending machines; you insert a certain amount of money (can be anywhere between ¥100-500 – that’s anywhere between £0.50-£2.70!), turn the handle and out pops a toy! These are very much like the ‘gumball’ machines that we have here in the UK and in many other countries; the toy is undecided and comes out in a little egg-like container that you pop open. ‘Gachapon’ refers to the machine itself and the toy that is released, as well as being the plural word!
Here in the UK, these machines can be found at service stations (the big ones by the motorways or airports) and malls/shopping centres. Quite often they will have typical cheap toys such as putty, slime, bouncy balls, jewellery and sometimes sweets; the term ‘gumball toys’ sounds very cheap which is exactly what they are. However, more Japanese-inspired Gachapon machines can be found; I first came across one in a toy shop that used to sell Pokémon toys and cards during the Anime boom when I was around 7-8 years old. They had little Pokémon in clear containers or Pokémon roller stamps in eggs; the machine had a glass container on top that showed you all the different types you could get, and rather than each machine having a mix of toys, they had their own set. Now there are lots of different kinds ranging from Pokémon, Hello Kitty, Disney Princesses and Disney, but you can still find the old tacky gumball machines in service stations, outdated restaurants and garden centres.
In LINE PLAY you use the coins that you have collected and received to play the LINE Gacha machines; same principle, you insert set amount of coins and receive an item only available by playing those machines. Usually there are items considered to be rare in each Gacha set; there are many sets to choose from in LINE PLAY, and their contents range from LINE character and Sanrio/San-x character sets, to themed sets and Korean/Japanese celebrity inspired sets.
Gachapon machines are very popular in Japan, as are the UFO machines (known here as claw machines); it is understandable why they have become very popular with foreign tourists since the prizes are great quality (and usually expensive for Otaku lovers that don’t live in Japan). So often I have come across items that are extremely expensive to purchase yet are amazingly cheap and readily available if only you lived in Japan! You can find Gachapon machines throughout Japan but one of the most popular places to find rows upon rows of them is Akihabara – the Otaku paradise!!
Thank you for reading! I hope it was fun to learn about Gachapon with me today!! I think I might write a little post about UFO machines too; I can’t wait until I get the chance to go to Japan, I will make sure to take a good purse full of Yen and try lots out!! Until next time~♥