Tokyo man`s working day ritual

Every morning at 10am I stride into the office with a can of coffee in hand.  The canned coffee, I buy from a vending machine on the street.  The purchase has become a ritual, a statement of intent before the grand office entrance.  “Look, I have bought brain firelighter again – I mean business.” (Fortunately, nobody pays me the slightest bit of attention)

Canned coffee sales seem to depend on ritual.  Each morning at Akihabara station, salarymen congregate for a cigarette and canned coffee surrounded by white, box-shaped vending machines.  At break time, building site labourers sprawled out on the floor sup their cans.

Men seem to love buying canned coffee from vending machines.  I don`t know why; perhaps it`s the attraction of handling grubby coins and the sharp clunk of machinery.  There is also the sense of achievement with buying vending machine coffee: nobody made the drink for you; you earnt it, decoding the technology and downloading it yourself.

And of course, vending machines don`t require speaking – man`s achilles heel.

My current can of choice is called Fire Gold, made by Kirin, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi.  While clutching a can of Fire Gold, I feel like flames follow me through the office door.  With a name like Fire Gold, does it matter what the drink tastes like?  I am happy enough just posing with the can.

Of course, it`s all branding.  Most of the cans barely contain coffee; they are filled with milk and sugar.  They taste like the hot, sweet, milky drinks given to children before bedtime.  I think that`s probably why I really buy them.


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