A few weeks ago, I began to notice that some of the Coca-Cola vending machines I saw on the streets in and around Tokyo had a new word painted on them: Ecoru.
Lots of Japanese verbs end in the suffix “-ru.” For example, eat, think, sleep, run, throw, forget, and live are taberu, kangaeru, neru, hashiru, nageru, wasureru and ikiru.
According to “Zakennayo,” a 1995 book on Japanese slang, the Denny’s restaurant chain was such a popular hangout for Japanese teens in those days that they turned its name into a verb: “deniru,” meaning “to do Denny’s.” I never encountered that word in real life myself, but I get the concept. And apparently so does some clever copywriter at the Coca-Cola company.
It seems that the ecoru machines have been around for a couple of years. They involve such eco-tweaks as LED lighting and non-CFC coolants, and they claim to put less strain on the power grid by charging up in the off hours so they don’t have to draw on the public electricity supply during periods of peak demand.
You can find technical details in Japanese at Coca Cola’s website here. It shows that some of the machines even have solar panels on top. I haven’t seen those yet.
Condsidering what a big business vending machines are in Japan, this looks like a step in the right direction.