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Vending machines with 'donate' button to boost conservation installed in Nara

Those involved in the project pose for a photo in front of the vending machines with donation buttons at a rest area near Kohfukuji temple's Nanendo southern round hall in the city of Nara on Oct. 12, 2021. (Mainichi/Yuhi Yoshikawa)

NARA -- Kindai University and its partners have installed vending machines with donation buttons here to support conservation efforts at nearby Sarusawa Pond in historic Nara Park and the surrounding area.

    Two vending machines have been installed in a rest area near Kohfukuji temple's Nanendo southern round hall in Japan's ancient capital. Donations will be used for purposes including ecological surveys on the pond through the university.

    The machines have three donation buttons each -- 10 yen (about 9 cents), 100 yen (90 cents), and 500 yen ($4.40) -- beside buttons to buy drinks. If one of the donation buttons is pressed upon purchasing an item, that amount of money is donated. The machines also carry an ad designed by students asking for donations, with a senryu poem roughly translating to "Waterfront in the city of Nara, from a long time passed, is here today" -- a pun in Japanese on a haiku written by female Heian period (794-1185) poet Ise no Taifu which translates to "Multi-layered cherry blossoms in the city of Nara, from a long time passed."

    Kindai University's conservation activities have included setting an artificial fish reef in Sarusawa Pond made of 260-year-old roof tiles.

    Ai Komai, 24, a second-year student at the university's graduate school, said, "Environmental preservation activities can't be done without lots of cooperation. We'll be glad if the vending machine buttons prompt people to think about the environment."

    (Japanese original by Yuhi Yoshikawa, Nara Bureau)

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