Even if you've never been to Japan, you may have heard about the "weird vending machines". Things to know:
1. 99% of the vending machines aren't weird at all: they mostly vend drinks.
2. Cold AND hot drinks! That's right: for 130¥ (~$1.30 USD) you can warm up with a hot tea or coffee on a freezing day. It's awesome.
3. Sometimes they also have hot soup, like miso or corn chowder. And it's actually pretty good.
4. They really are EVERYwhere. Example: driving on an island with nothing around for a mile in any direction except foliage — still possible to find a vending machine, conveniently roadside. You cannot die of thirst in this country if you have a few coins on you.
Wish I took photos of some of the middle-of-nowhere vending machines, but I was driving. I really wish we had these, among other conveniences and comforts, in the US.