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Do As Tokyo Does Pachinko
(Entered Sep. 23, 2005)
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pachinkoGambling is illegal in Japan, but it seems that most people haven't been informed of this fact yet. Although you won't find any casinos, for those who feel like getting rid of some money quickly, 'pachinko' is the solution. Pachinko is kind of hard to explain unless you've seen it in action. Imagine a slot machine that uses little metal balls instead of coins, kind of like an upright pinball machine. The balls fall down, bouncing around the metal pins, and depending on which holes the balls fall into, you either never see them again, or you win more balls. There are no controls at all. Once you put the balls in, they're on their own, so it would seem like your chances of winning are totally random. However there are pachinko 'professionals' who make their living doing this, and most of them swear on some sort of secret technique.pachinko
Also hard to explain is why it's so popular. It's too bad that you can't add sound and smell to these pictures. The first thing you notice when walking into a pachinko parlour is that it's friggin' loud. Hundreds of high pitched bells are ringing and clanging, constantly.... Most of these people sit here all day dumping their balls in the machine, but I was ready to chew my arm off after only a few minutes of being surrounded by the din. The second thing is the smoke. I mean seriously, the poor people that work here are probably ineligible for any kind of health insurance.... If you haven't left by now, you'll notice the machines next. There are rows and rows of them, but finding a free one may be more difficult than you think. If you do, as with any gambling establishment, you should be prepared to spend at least a couple hundred dollars (you have to spend money to make money right?) to have a chance of winning big. pachinkoIf you manage to accumulate enough balls you can trade them in for little, worthless presents at the counter, not money because gambling is illegal, right? But oops, just outside the pachinko parlour and around the corner is a secret counter where you can exchange the presents for money. Obviously the police are fooled by this.
Myself, I've played just one time, and managed to lose 100 yen (about a dollar) in roughly 5 seconds, which is also the amount of time it took me to lose interest. Las Vegas this ain't.



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