Dienstag, 2. April 2013

Cliches are there to be broken: Pachinko

All of this is based on what I experience and doesn't necessarily describe the true nature of Japan/japanese people.

You heard that story about Pachinko and how almost everyone in Japan played it?
Well, I have heard it and I know now: It's not true.
Most japanese people never even tried playing Pachinko. And many of those that had only did it once.


Because Pachinko is plain boring.
You have a console with many metallic sticks. Those sticks change positions every three days. Now you insert a small ball (you need to buy those, of course) and shoot it into the machine. Then the ball just falls and - hopefully - will end up in one of the three to five holes. Or - more likely - will disappear in the hole at the very bottom, meaning that you lost the game.
And that's it.

There are some professional gamers that watch which machine with which stick positions gets the most winnings, but most japanese people actually don't play. And if they do, then not for the fun (proven by the fact that most actually read or watch a movie on their mobile phone while playing), but because they can win valuable prizes. And - since I could see the Pachinko center of my area while eating my Ramen - no one actually enters that shop in a time frame of almost three hours at the evening.
Simply because most players are only there to do their stuff and leave and others just ignore the whole "fun".

But still, going into a Pachinko center at least once should be something that every visitor does. To see that big amount of machines, the people that just plainly stare at it as if sleeping with open eyes or even doing something else, the massive noise (because that game got it name for a audible reason, you constantly hear the loud "PACHIN" when the ball is shot inside and then a loud rattle while it falls, accompanied by many electronic noises from the machine itself). Maybe even play a bit, too. But don't waste more then 1000 Yen on it, the chance to win is very little.
Well, the man sitting there are sitting there since the center opened. Sitting in front of the machines with the highest probability of winning. If you win something, then you are simply incredibly lucky.

Fun Fact:
Since most free time activities like going out to drink with collegues, having some time with the family, watching TV, reading and simliar are seen as part of everyones life instead of actually being a "hobby" or "free time activity", Pachinko still is one of the top items of Free Time Activities whenever some scientists make a study about it, together with shopping and playing video games.

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