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They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so we decided to test that theory at the Japanese pop culture expo.

Tokyo is a big enough city that you can find something interesting happening on just about any day. Last weekend was particularly special, though, since the Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival was being held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium in Shibuya Ward.

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Since its beginning in 2014, the Moshi Moshi Nippon Festival has sought to promote Japanese pop culture to foreign fans.  This year, RocketNews24 joined the festivities, and we sent our crack Japanese-language reporter, Mr. Sato, to man our booth. Oh, and we also sent several boxes of trash with him.

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Okay, so “trash” is a little harsh. Maybe the more accurate description would be “junk?”

See, in the process of preparing articles for RocketNews24, our team accumulates a lot of…unusual items, such as PaRappa the Rapper toasters and Pikachu sun visors. Some of these things get claimed by the reporter who wrote the article, but others just get tossed into a corner of our office. So we decided, half-jokingly, to see if anyone attending Moshi Moshi Nippon would be interested in taking them off our hands.

At the RocketNews24 booth, Mr. Sato set up a gacha gacha (capsule toy) vending machine, into which he stuffed capsules with strips of paper corresponding to one of the 120 items we were giving away. Considering the dubious quality of many of these “prizes,” we decided to set the price of our gacha gacha machine at an ultra-low 100 yen (US$0.88), far cheaper than the three or four hundred yen most machines of this type in Japan charge.

▼ We also posted this sign so that everyone would know what they were getting into.

ロケットニュース英語版のケーシーさんに英訳してもらった!

A post shared by よしお (@yoshio1117) on

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Honestly, we didn’t know what sort of reaction we’d get. Again, the prizes were essentially junk we were too lazy to throw away, although we did have two cool items in the pile: a radio-controlled helicopter and a drone. We imagined we’d have plenty of unclaimed items leftover to cart back to the office when the weekend was over, and told ourselves that if more than two people gave our gacha gacha a try on Saturday, we’d be happy.

We ended up meeting that goal pretty easily.

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While the first few hours of the day were slow, as more and more people started coming into the venue, more and more began stopping by the RocketNews24 booth.

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As a matter of fact, it wasn’t too long until this couple won the RC copter.

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Word started to spread about our gacha gacha machine, and before Mr. Sato knew it, there was a constant line of people waiting for their turn.

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Some people came back later to try their luck a second, or even third, time. But then, a potential problem reared its head.

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The young lady standing to Mr. Sato’s right in the above photo won the drone, so now we had no inarguably cool stuff to give away. That had Mr. Sato thinking that the flow of visitors to our booth would taper off…

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…but people still kept coming!

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Instead of having to carry boxes of remaining prizes back to RocketNews24 headquarters on Sunday, we ran out of stuff to give away well before the end of Saturday.

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We’d like to extend a special apology to this guy, who came back for a fourth gacha gacha attempt but had to settle for a photo with Mr. Sato.

▼ Which is kind of a prize in itself, right?

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Unfortunately, this meant that that the RocketNews24 gacha gacha ended up being only a one-day affair.

▼ Our gacha gacha-less Moshi Moshi Japan booth on Sunday.

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A big thanks to everyone who came to say hi to Mr. Sato at Moshi Moshi Nippon 2016, and hopefully we’ll see you all again next time!

Related: Moshi Moshi Japan Festival 2016
Images ©RocketNews24
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