After finishing my last course at university this year I left for vacation immediately to Japan.
By the end of my trip, I totally got myself obsessed over the gacha machines.
What is a gacha machine? Oh, let me tell you all about it! gacha machine is a machine that dispenses capsuled toys. I am sure you have encountered one in the grocery store when the 5 year-old you were totally dying for a gum ball. Apparently, the machine is called gacha because that is the sound the machine makes when you turn the nob. Like, gacha gacha!! Then a surprise falls out. It is the perfect embodiment of the little joy out of daily routines.
When my friend and I landed in Osaka past midnight on May 24th, the last bus to the city had already left. Stranded in the airtport, we had few things to do. As we were exploring the airport, we passed by an area where it was completely filled with gacha machines. There were easily 100 of them if not more. We were immediately excited over the gachas we could do over the night. Today, two months after my trip, I am still blown away by the number of the machines that were at the airport.
My friend and I had a lot of fun playing the gachas that night. By the time we realized, we already had a full collection of the “Piske & Usagi” key chain set. Thinking back, that was probably where our journey with gacha machines officially started.
For the next 10 days, we travelled to many cities across Japan. We noticed that wherever you go, there’s gotta be gacha machines. Things that were offered by gacha machines in different cities were completely different too. There were countless region-limited key chains, bottle stoppers, stickers and so on. Our mission for the ten days was to collect region limited edition of figurines from Osaka, Kyoto, Aichi, Shizuoka, Tokyo, and Hokkaido. Sounds easy but it was actually such a difficult thing to do, we failed to collected all the figurines in the end.
So you may ask, why are the gacha machines so popular? Just what’s so good about them?
It is true that the rewards you get from gachas are usually minimal, trivial things that cost nearly nothing to produce; you may also get many repeats from the same machine that you don’t need. However, I would argue the feeling of finding small, simple joy is what’s really behind the popularity of gacha machines.
I enjoy forming my collection with the help of my friends. I enjoy exchanging and sharing my gachas with them as well! For my friend and I, having a good time doing simple little things are always the most fun! Certainly not everything we do in life has to be major or meaningful, we need to give ourselves a break sometimes too.
Here, I wish all the people reading this blog find fun little things to do in their normal, day-to-day life!