An Unmanned shop in Tokyo
I live near Takaido station in Tokyo’s Suginami ward, and near my house is an unmanned shop, or 無人販売所 in Japanese. They have no one working at them, absolutely no one. There is no one there so no one to help customers or take their money. They work on an honesty system. You walk in, and as the items are usually vegetables or secondhand items that someone is trying to get rid of, everything is cheap, cheaper than regular stores. Some shops might have a standard price for everything, or each item might have its own price. Just put your money in the cashbox that will be on a table and take home what you bought. I think they are more common in country areas, but you can still see them in Tokyo.
Very near my house there is one of these shops selling vegetables. At the moment, it is early autumn, so they sell capsicums, eggplants and Okinawan spinach (金時草). All the produce is inside plastic bags with everything costing either one hundred or two hundred yen, depending on how many items are inside. The bags are inside little cabinets that have windows. Find what you want, place your money in the slot, open the door and take out the contents. As everything is grown in the local area everything is fresh and the farmer can sell direct to the public, it’s a win-win for everyone.
The other thing I’ve noticed about this place it is an occasional meeting spot for people. Whenever I’ve walked past it, you can often see people there having a chat. It’s a nice place. By the way, if anyone knows the correct name for 金時草 in English, could you let me know? I’d really appreciate it.