Shibuya Station’s Limited-Time Unmanned Ramen Eatery This new technology comes into play on JR Shibuya Station’s very own outer circle Yamanote line platform (on the Ebisu end). Where the iconic instant cup noodle shop Donbareya once stood, a much more colorful booth is open (but only temporarily!). Ace Cook, Microsoft Japan, and iRobot Japan have teamed up to produce a slightly more futuristic instant cup noodle shop called Mocchicchi Station. This unmanned cup ramen shop is open from February 14-28, and our Japanese-language writer Mr. Sato was first in our team to size that opportunity. Basically: you pick; pay by VISA, Mastercard, or JCB; and then you make it! First, you buy a cup of ramen. Hidenori had a choice between wonton noodles or vegetable tanmen. When you touch the screen to select the type and number you want, the price will appear on the screen. Magic! Then, select a payment option. Score: in addition to credit cards, you can also pay using your IC train card! The total bill came to 212 yen (US$1.92) if you eat inside the cozy eatery. When the cup ramen comes out, you then pour in water using the hot water machine… The touch screen set at each booth features a timer that helps keep track of the noodles. If you looked at his booth arrangement clearly, you may have also noticed an image of a phone drawn into the counter. This is actually a contact phone charger; you can charge your smartphone just by setting it down on the indicated space on the counter (as long as it charges using Qi)! And then there was the mystery device lurking in an alcove under the touch screen…but we’ll get to that later. When done, the touch screen showed a new button: Start Cleaning. Its subtitle also reads “Please press this button before you leave the store.” Not ominous at all, right? When you push the button, a robot comes out! It turns out that it was actually iRobot Japan’s Braava jet m6, a quiet robot machine. It tidied up the counter without any effort. If you’re interested in going, then you’d better head over to Shibuya Station’s outer circle Yamanote platform (on the Ebisu side) before the end of February 28! It’s open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.