In Japan, since most people take public transportation, walk or ride a bicycle to get where they are going, vending machines can be found on just about every block in the city. I can't even remember when I last used a vending machine in California, but I can easily remember buying something from a vending machine in Sendai, Japan.
There are your usual items to be bought from vending machines in Japan: soft drinks and juice. You can also get energy drinks, beer and cigarrettes.
Some of the more unexpected food items: oden, udon, crepes.
As soon as you drop your coins in, the udon vending machine will place cooked udon noodles and broth in a bowl for your dining pleasure. The crepes are made locally in my city, Sendai, and lovingly placed in a container and sold in the crepe vending machine. I have yet to try these but I have heard they are delicious.
For more information and photos of vending machines in Japan:
The Japan Times
Two Minute Japan