Thursday, May 20, 2010

5月20日 Day 56: Geriatrics and Gambling

So, I finally tried pachinko for the first time in celebration of the fact that I don't have a torn ligament and that my friend Joelle got medication to combat her nasty cough! Hurray for modern medicine! Too bad all my make up got washed off and my hair got all messed up in the rain without an umbrella so I look like a psychotic hobo!!!

Pachinko is a game that is essentially stand-up pinball-- and you're controlling how hard the ball gets flung around. The object of the game is to try to get the ball to land in this little hole at the bottom of the table you're looking at. If you get enough balls to land in the hole, you get more balls, and more holes open up for you to shoot more of your balls into. The more balls you have at the end of the game, the more money you win!

Balls, holes, money-- make your own joke.

Too bad I sucked! I couldn't figure out the strategy. Honestly, it didn't feel like I really had control over all those little metal balls. The just sort of did their own thing while I watched in agony. Although, I only lost 500, and Joelle lost 1000.

Like everywhere else in Japan, the pachinko parlor reeked of beer, cigarettes, and salary men. And since pachinko is a gambler's game-- there was no shortage of grinning, toothless old ladies. The machines' gambling music is DEAFENING; every time you landed your balls in the hole, your eardrums would fill with this jaunty tune that would somehow convince you to keep playing. We left the place screaming,



It was an interesting atmosphere to be in, but I'm still not 100% sure I understood what was going on... or if there's even a strategy to winning. I'm guessing that you have to find a sweet spot that guarantees your ball to land in the hole, but that requires some serious trial and error... and some serious yen as well.

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