originally uploaded by okinawa hai.


I’ve always been a little late to the game.  I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 25 and then it took me another couple of years to get my first car.  I didn’t get my first cell phone for another year after that.  Had no clue what crocs were until they started popping up on the little feet of my son’s friends.  I’m a follower, not a leader.  And so it only made sense that when I saw my friend feeding hundreds of yen into a vending machine for little Thomas trains I was baffled and thought she was nuts.  You must have seen these ubiquitous machines at San-A or Jusco.  Rows of them filled with little goodies for the kids.  Well, maybe not just for the kids.

My son started to like Thomas trains and so I would get him one or two of them on our way out of the store.  And then I just couldn’t stop.  I had to have them all and found myself feeding hundred yen coins into these yen-eating machines.  I think I’m more obsessed with these things than my son is.

If you’ve seen a grown woman peering through the windows of a Thomas machine trying to figure out which piece of the collection was coming out next it was probably me.  I’ve also tried shaking them although it’s not very effective.  Apparently these capsule toys, also known as Gashapon, are quite popular.  According to wikipedia it looks like I’m not the only adult into these.  So maybe I’m not so obsessed…perhaps I am just a collector.  I think I like the sound of that better.

Click the photo above for more pictures.

Or click here for Flickr gashapon pictures.


  1. Yes Lan I have to give credit where credit is due. You ARE the nutso friend I was referring to!

    And now that I have been warned I will be watching DTJB closely the next time she’s over! Train inventory is now at the top of my priority list!

    Meredith, kudos to you for having the strength to resist temptation. Also, I will be using the term “extra dollars/yen” the next time my spending comes into question. As in “You mean those weren’t EXTRA dollars I was using?!” 😉

  2. I believe that I’m that nutso friend who got you started on this craze and am pretty sure that you’ve outdone me on this one. Respective collector you are and I am so very envious of your new additions! I’ve got to get myself out to Jusco to catch up with the new train collections one of these days. Thanks for giving this craze an official name – Gashapon. Another cool thing to bring home from our adventures here on Okinawa.

  3. Hmmmm.. How about obsessed collector? My problem is that every time I see you buying some of these cute trains it ropes me in further… Pretty sure I may have to fight you for your collection sometime soon! Just warning you in case you find that some trains have mysteriously disappered. I wanted to add that they make great presents for nephews in the US.

  4. I had a few weak moments with you where this all seemed like a lovely way to spend extra coins. But what IS lovely is coming to your house and playing with your collection!

    Also, you’re funny and I like you.