Tokyo touchscreen technology and the touching sight of an old man

Tokyo’s increasingly prevalent touchscreen vending machines are inventions to marvel at. Or at least they usually are. But next to the old man, the sheer size and expenditure of this one seems almost malevolent.

traditional Japanese touch screen vending machine


  1. Sam says

    Oh, thats heartbreaking. He looks sooo sad. I really hope you caught him at a bad moment and his life ain’t as bad as it looks…… :(

  2. Mattefan says

    Just discovered your website and i’m really glad i did.
    This picture in its incredible sadness is a beautiful one.
    I’ve been to Japan and Tokyo several times and sadly i’m aware of the homeless problem there (as it happens in most of the world’s biggest cities).
    Anyway, really great shot, very strong contrast between the “cold” machine and the warm expression of human feelings.

    • says

      Glad to hear it. Thank you.

      Yes, it was an incredibly sad sight. I stood and watched him for a little while, but his expression never changed…

  3. says

    The insignificance of a human being, this photo screams to me. Very sad.
    Also surprised that touch screens are being introduced in vending machines, pretty useless inovation, it would seem. I guess the manufacturers are struggling to come up with novel ideas to sell new machines. Although the price does seem to be stable, each time I am over I do notice that the cans of coke have become smaller and smaller, next time they will have the size of a thimble, no doubt. I didn’t mind the old machines, but could do with a 330ml can of coke :-)

    • says

      Yeah, he really does awfully small and insignificant next to that hulking machine. Heartbreaking really.

      I only tend to buy water or the odd hot drink in winter from vending machines, so I haven’t really noticed the shift in size. There has definitely been a drop in price of late though. A good number of machines selling all drinks for 100 yen. I guess with so many of them about, competition must be pretty intense.

  4. says

    Malevolent is definitely the word for it. Goodness… On the bright side his clothes and the bag he is carrying seem to be in very good shape, so perhaps his situation is not so dire? Or perhaps I’m trying to make myself feel better because I’m mesmerized by his eyebrows…. Either way, amazing shot! Definitely offers some food for thought.

    • says

      Thanks, Lizzy. And yes, it does.

      Unfortunately, if you look closely, his clothes are pretty dirty. As are his bags. Hopefully he’s not homeless, but his life is clearly pretty tough.

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