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Lobster 'Marine Catcher'

In Japan, vending machines are everywhere. It’s not uncommon to see a dozen lined up in a row where a store once stood, and in some cases they serve consumers more effectively than a store ever could. After all, when you’re caught in a rainstorm and all the stores are closed, finding a machine that sells umbrellas is very convenient indeed.

It’s also true that Japanese vending machines also dispense commodities for which the need is often less urgent, such as neckties, iPods and, in at least one case, crustaceans. In Osaka, you can use the “Sub Marine Catcher” machine, which allows you to catch your own live lobster with a descending claw similar to that found in many carnival games. It will set you back 100 yen, and since an entirely self-service operation, be sure to bring your own rubber bands and perforation-proof bag.

There is also a US version, called "The Maine Lobster Game," so you don't even have to make it out to Japan to experience this mechanized lobster-grabber.

Photo: Japan Guidebook