Pachinko – The Most Popular Entertainment in Japan
Almost every culture has it’s own form of entertainment. For us in America, we have Las Vegas where their is shows, concerts and most definitely casino full of gambling. In Chinese culture, there is Pai-Gow and Mahjong. For Japanese, there the popular game of Pachinko.
I first heard of Pachinko when I was teaching English in Japan. You could hear the sound on every street corner as machines were spilling out balls. Similar to all slot machines in the world, Pachinko has beautiful decoration, music, announcement and flashing light. As a foreigner in Japan, I was a bit curious so I walked into one of the Japanese parlour and started to played. It was a challenging game for beginner, but provided hours of entertainment.
A pachinko machine is similar to a vertical pinball machine with a large amount of small steel balls. The player fires the ball up into the machine whiles it travels down through a mass of slender, pin-like nails. Most of the time, the ball falls to the bottom and you lose, but if it goes into certain pockets, more balls are released as jackpot. Since gambling in Japan for cash is illegal, balls that are won can be exchanged for prizes ranging from Hello Kitty pens to higher end item like a Louis Vuitton bag. There is also house hold items as well as the latest electronic devices.
If you happen to walk a Pachiko Parlor is the wee hours of the morning, you will see a very long line of people standing outside and waiting for the doors to open, eagerly wanting the “best machine”.
Next time you travel to Japan, why not try your luck at a Pachinko Parlor. You never know, you could win the next “jackpot”.