Nothing says summer like delicious ice cream… and roadside toilets.
While vending machines selling ice cream are nothing new in Japan, for the first time Baskin-Robbins (better known as 31 (サーティワン）in Japan because of the company’s slogan suggesting you can have a different flavour of ice cream every day of the month) have thrown their hat into the ring. Where have they chosen to announce their gift to summer sun-roasted sweet tooths across Japan? At Kariya Highway Oasis, a service station in central Aichi Prefecture, where their very first vending machine was put in place on August 18. Japanese Twitter users like @watashihachanko and @09_kawamura_17 were quick to take photographic evidence of the location, right in front of the toilets.
ちゃんこ🍲 (@watashihachanco) August 18, 2017
川村真輝 (@09_kawamura_17) August 19, 2017
While Japanese roadside toilets are generally much cleaner and less whiffy than those in other countries, more than a few Twitter users had some questions about the machines’ rather odd placement.
“Why in front of the toilets??”
“Maybe it’s been put where guys are hanging about waiting for girls to finally come out of the toilet.”
“There’s already a normal 31 at Highway Oasis, but anyway.”
“It says that it’s switched off at night to prevent theft; what kind of anarchic country is this?”
“Speaking as a local, isn’t it because Kariya Highway Oasis is famous for its beautiful and luxurious toilets?”
The toilets next door weren’t enough to put off ice cream fans, excited at the chance to buy one of the chopped chocolate, caramel ribbon, very berry strawberry, vanilla, chocolate mint, peach & mango or popping shower ice creams without the need for human interaction.
#刈谷ハイウェイオアシス #サーティワン自販機 #営業時間外 #やっと見つけたのにぃ https://t.co/56ebp21IGV—
こづえにゃんʕ•̫͡•ʔ♬✧推しおじ青♡ (@kozueightorn) August 19, 2017
While right in front of the toilets is a bit weird, between the new Baskin-Robbins machine, the Baskin-Robbins shop inside, the Ferris Wheel, carousel and natural hot spring, Kariya Highway Oasis must be in the running for best roadway service area in Japan, despite not making TripAdvisor’s top thirty last year. Then again, that still might not be enough to compete with a rest stop that transports you back in time.
Also branching into pots of ice cream and sandwiches available to buy at Japanese convenience stores, Baskin-Robbins is really pushing its ice creams this summer. With a move towards vending machines, they might well be onto a winner; let’s just hope that they choose any new locations a bit more carefully. The SoraNews24 offices, for one, might be a lucrative option. Ideally in time for their special Halloween ice creams, like last year’s spicy habanero and glow-in-the-dark flavours.