SASEBO, Nagasaki -- A vending machine offering insects (and only insects) for the public's snacking convenience was recently installed in Nagasaki Prefecture.
The machine is run by a Sasebo-based event management company that sells a fine range of deep-fried or dried crickets, grasshoppers and other insects.
The vending machine at Michi-no-Eki Konchu no sato Tabira, a roadside market and rest stop in the Nagasaki Prefecture town of Hirado, was well received, partly due to its novelty. It sells nine kinds of insects, including locusts, silkworm chrysalises, diving beetles and cicadas. All of them are bottled and refrigerated, and the prices range from 600 to 1,000 yen (about $5 to $9). The company, Art Studio Wao, claims that the buggy tidbits taste like they've been freshly fried if heated up. It will expand its insect offerings beyond the bottled lineup in the near future.
This is the third insect-only vending machine installed by Art Studio Wao, following one each in Sasebo and Omura in the prefecture. Company president Tatsuaki Morooka said, "We'd like to keep spreading our uniqueness from Sasebo to the rest of Japan."
This year, the company's online shop, "Hamaru Shokuhin," won second prize in the second west-Kyushu Sasebo metropolitan area business plan contest, with the theme of regional revitalization through edible insects.
(Japanese original by Hiroshi Watanuki, Sasebo Bureau)