What are the toy machines "Gacha Gacha" I see around town?
They are one-coin operating gadget vending machines! I would say they were developed based on Japanese people's two characteristics - 1. Like to test one's luck. 2. Love the action of devising an unusual plan on tiny items.
Japanese people love to test their luck based on every little things around them. Taking advantage of that, Gacha Gacha is popular from little kids to grown-up adults.
Some Gacha Gachas actually have a lot of adult fans. Some manufacturers including famous "Kaiyo-do" have very popular Gacha Gacha series where collectors do not hesitate to pay a couple of ten thousands yen for their premium items.
Why is it possible in Japan? What drives our people to seek such a special quality on tiny items? Our people love anything tiny including our houses? Maybe :-)
As one of the reasons behind this, I would like to share with you one unique Japanese culture - "individual advocacy" - started around 300 years ago in Edo period. "NETSUKE" is one of representative arts from that culture. It is a miniature carving attached to the end of a cord hanging from a pouch and it was considered as an item to show one's taste back then.
Japanese people are said to take same actions together, but still they are seeking to differentiate them in a casual manner to show their individuality.
Today, you can take a look at peoples' cell phone straps to tell their taste in the same way as NETSUKE. J