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Short Story: Ayase-san’s Days With Capsule Toy Vending Machines
One day, Ayase-san got really into capsule toys. And considering Ayase-san, who rarely showed such passion for such materialistic ideas, this was a surprise. This addiction was triggered on our way back home from Nagano after we visited our relatives. My old man and I were pretty used to this custom, but for Akiko-san and Ayase-san, it must have been relatively exhausting, no doubt. Even so, they both were quite cheerful and lively during the car ride home.
We grabbed a bite to eat as dinner at a service area on the way and had some time to buy some souvenirs. So, Ayase-san and I walked around, considering what to get for Narasaka-san and Maru respectively, when Ayase-san suddenly stopped. Looking in the same direction as her, I could tell her gaze was glued to the capsule toys that shone brightly. She was looking at one of those capsule toy vending machines. By throwing in some change, you get a small ball with a toy or other objects inside of it. And there were ten or so machines just standing next to the other.
What? Hearing something that resembled a chant, I glanced over at her face. Through that, I saw a passionate gaze in her eyes, telling me that something was off.
“It’s so cute…”
Well, it’s normal for capsule toys to be about cute characters in miniature form. It ranged from regular cat goods to…whatever you could imagine. However, what caught her attention weren’t just some regular goods.
“You mean this?”
Instead, she was staring at miniature furniture. And most of those were focused on chairs.
“Is this something rare?”
“They were designed by Alvar Aalto. He’s a Finnish architect, and he even ended up on their money bill.”
“Finish…So to the north, huh?”
“Isn’t this so cute? The red one?”
She was pointing at a picture printed on the translucent box, which introduced the goods inside the machine. There seemed to be seven in this Alvar Whatshisname collection, and one of the goods showed a three-legged stool with a red seat that Ayase-san pointed at. I personally wouldn’t call it cute, but that’s all up to the person’s interpretation, I guess. However, the legs that emerged from the seat looked like a human’s squared shoulders, which made it seem comfortable as well as reliable to sit on.
“One pull is 400 yen, huh?”
Lately, these vending machines have gotten pretty expensive. As a child, I’d often try my luck and buy something from them, as they were relatively cheap, but I guess using furniture and so on meant this must be aimed at adults instead.
“Though, seven different types means I have a one in seven chance…”
That took me by surprise. It was very much like her to immediately think about this rationally, but she’s lacking one crucial fact about those vending machines.
I tried to stop her, but she had already taken out her wallet and fed the machine some of the change.
“That red one’s a secret, so the chance is lower.”
“Huh? What’s that?” She looked at me in confusion, as the vending machine created a thud and spewed out a capsule.
“Ahhh…Wrong color. So, what’s this about a secret?”
“It’s basically a rare one. There’s fewer of those in there.”
Since Ayase-san even wants it, I can tell that it was rare.
“Welp…This one is cute, too, so I’ll take it.”
“You’re done already?”
“I mean, they’re expensive. I’ll try again next time I see it.”
Being satisfied with it despite not having pulled the one she wanted really was very much like her, too. And a vending machine that made you happy with just 400 yen was a steal…or so I thought, but Ayase-san’s luck turned out to be abysmally bad. Her desk slowly began to be buried with all sorts of miniature furniture, but it took her another half a year until she finally got the red chair she wanted.