Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ghost Shrimp in a Machine

Oh, Japanese vending machines, you never cease to amaze and amuse me. And I mean "vending machines" like gumball machines, where you put in coins, turn the dial, and get a little plastic egg with a prize inside.

First there was Grocery Bear and Bear in a Bear Suit (I later realized that both bears have a little plastic zipper in the back of the head, so it's really a person dressed as a bear dressed as a bear).

Then there was the machine devoted to dog wigs.

The latest item to make us literally stop in our tracks for a double take is a Ghost Shrimp kit. As far as I can tell it includes salt, eggs, food, and an itty-bitty magnifying glass with an ittier-bittier spoon on the end.

I have since had a friend read the directions for me, but I'm going to pretend I don't know what it's about so I can interpret the pictures.

Step 1, put water in a jar.

Step 2, add a packet of something.
Step 3, an itty bitty scoop of something else, then wait 2-3 days.

Step 4, poof! Happy Ghost Shrimp appears!
Step 5, Happy Ghost Shrimp clothes itself in grapes and gloats.

A very small log book is also included to track the progress of Happy Ghost Shrimp.

It also looks like we got one of three kits available from this dispenser. I have no idea what the other two are. I'm going to say one is brine shrimp and the other is teeny tiny scientists.

More on this story as it develops.


  1. Hi, I'm a Singaporean student and I'll be visiting Yokohama in August. Could I please ask how common this ghost shrimp gashapon machine is on the streets of Japan? Is it a big thing/popular? I like it very much, would it be hard to find? Thanks :)

    1. Hi! Capsule machines are very common, mostly keychains and cell phone charms, but the prizes are temporary and unpredictable. To be honest, I only saw shrimp kits once. So keep an eye on the machines while you're out and about, and if you see something you like, get it because you may not see it again.

      Have a great trip! Yokohama is a nice city, and if you get a chance to get to Tokyo proper, I highly recommend it.