This was the question I and some people I was talking to in the hostel became committed to answering after we read contradictory and doubtful accounts of this unique and extremely dubious aspect of Japanese 'culture.'
If you've been following my excellent adventures for a while, you might remember how disappointed I felt at the end of my Malaysia trip when I failed in my quest to find the world's largest pencil. This new task felt similarly vital, and I knew I couldn't move on from Tokyo until the matter was settled, and I could be sure this city's more depraved residents had a convenient way to get their perverted fix. I don't think I could have stomached another failure, though admittedly the prospect of success was similarly stomach-churning.
I didn't really want these things to exist, but I had a mission and I intended to see it through in spite of taste or decency. Join my unholy quest.
This slightly off-beat shopping arcade dedicated to hobby enthusiasts seemed like the best bet for this type of atypical interest, but as we weaved between action figure emporiums, Manga marts, Games Workshops and model railway suppliers, things started to look doubtful.
Wait... what's that in the corner...?
I hope I never feel this level of enthusiasm about something so bloody disgusting again. But like the fat old white men hanging out with skinny young brown girls in Thailand and the Philippines, you can either laugh at the situation you have no power to change or enter a bottomless well of despair
The time stamp is for naysayers who deny that these curiosities/monstrosities still exist. Apparently, the Japanese government tried to stamp it out, but you can never truly kill an idea as potent as the schoolgirl panties vending machine. Unfortunately.
It's possible some of the passing shoppers misinterpreted our enthusiasm
If you think the idea of an adult buying schoolgirl panties for erotic reasons is a little weird... I'm not going to disagree with you there. But this is just what's available outside the store, in full public view. Heading inside, things got a lot, lot worse...
If this was a bit much for your sensitive disposition, rest assured that I'm about to head to the historic capital of Kyoto, where things are bound to get a lot more boring/pleasant. Though who can tell? Japan is full of surprises, not all of them savoury.