The Tokyo Pachinko craze

Pachinko is a game; it’s mayhem and is a real craze here in Tokyo. Nothing prepares you for the noise, the glare of garish colours and the haze of cigarette smoke when you walk in to you first Pachinko parlour. Pachinko, パチンコ, is a Japanese gaming device used for amusement and prizes. Although pachinko machines were originally mechanical, modern pachinko machines are a cross between a pinball machine and a video slot machine. Players buy metal balls, at 4 yen per ball (250 balls for 1000 yen is the current practice), which are then shot into the machine from a ball tray with the purpose of attempting to win more balls. The pachinko machine has a digital slot machine on a large screen in the center of its layout, and the objective here is to get 3 numbers or symbols in a row for a jackpot.
Dave outside a Pachinko parlour in Rappongi.
Pachinko players. You are not supposed to take photos so I had to sneak these.

Pachinko parlour in Shibuya.

Close up of a Pachinko machine.

Stairway to heaven found in Pachinko parlour!

Usually Dave and I have a rule; never buy food from restaurants that have to show you pictures of it. We have broken that rule as we can’t understand any menus here and have even moved up to selecting from perfect plastic lifestyle models of menu items!

Dave nearly cried when he thought he had to eat this.

A massage parlour a few floors up in Roppongi district – you’d think they’d have some net curtains closed – hah!

It’s crazy enough on Japanese TV; this was an eat as much as you can endurance test. A lot of them dress like this away from the cameras too. I love the way they express themselves though clothes here – it’s so over the top. They don’t follow trends – they start them.

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