Our Japanese-language writer Kowloon Kurosawa was in Akihabara one day when he decided to visit a vending machine-lined, somewhat ramshackle corner of a street. The last time he passed by here was three years ago, when he was scared witless by the amount of chilling warning signs seen all over the place.
But what caught his attention was the contents of a vending machine. Peering into one, he found a brandless paper-wrapped box priced at 490 yen (US$4.40). On it were some words he could not quite make out in the fading light of the late afternoon.
A quick scan revealed another machine stocked with the mysterious white boxes, some selling for 1,080 yen but larger in size.