Mr. Sato takes the 500 yen Trap or Treasure capsule vending machine to a workshop


One man’s trap is another man’s treasure.

Our reporter, Mr. Sato, has always had a soft spot for dodgy capsule vending machines. In fact, he’s a sucker for just about any kind of capsule machine…even one with scale replica railroad crossings.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that while in Tokyo’s Ameyoko shopping district, he couldn’t resist spinning the “Trap or Treasure” mystery machine. For a price of 500 yen ($3.62), this capsule machine promises one of the two eponymous types of capsule content, but doesn’t indicate what it might be.

There were signs under the machines that further indicated that those who wanted to take the plunge would be given “Heaven” or “Hell”, and another sign contained a set of three rules that must be followed.

1) Stand in front of the machine and close your eyes
2) Bow twice, clap twice, bow once and pray for success
3) Insert a 500 yen coin and turn the knob
Your feelings of gratitude and the power of your prayer will decide your fate…

The act of bowing twice, clapping twice and bowing again is a fairly common practice when praying at Shinto shrines. It’s something you’ll probably see every time you visit a temple, but rarely in front of a vending machine.

Since the reopening of the borders, Ameyoko has started to bustle with tourists again. It’s still not what it used to be, but there were enough people to make Mr. Sato feel a little embarrassed praying to this capsule vending machine.

Still, the sign said that if he didn’t pray sincerely enough, he might get a trap instead of a treasure. The stakes were high, so he swallowed his pride and made two deep bows, two loud applauses, and one final bow of faith as passers-by looked askance at him.

Then he put in a coin and turned the knob…

A large black ball rolled out. Mr. Sato shook it and there was a strong buzzing inside, as if there was something metallic inside. Based on previous experiences with capsule toys, it looked like a keychain, but it wasn’t a regular capsule machine. Wait, wait, he thought, This could be a gem!

Convinced that he had just obtained a valuable gemstone, our reporter put the capsule in his bag and waited for him to return home before opening it.

Mr. Sato’s eyes were wide open as he opened the plastic ball and dreamed of valuables about to spill out of it when…

Instead, reality appeared in the form key ring with a stuffed animal.

It had a tag that read “Warm School: Light Blue Polar Bear Classroom.”

Mr. Sato thought it ridiculous. There was no way the thing was a polar bear, and he even had reservations that it was a member of the bear family. It might as well be a red panda, otter or kinkajou.

As to whether it was a trap or a treasure, it certainly leaned towards the former, but he also thought that such judgment was really in the eye of the beholder. If he was six years old, it would surely be a treasure, so perhaps this machine only expected six-year-olds to pray to it and simply underestimated the unique power that our ace reporter’s inner child has over it.

Pictures ©SoraNews24
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