Friday, February 11, 2011

Foreign Friday

Misawa, Japan

Pachinko Parlors were common in Japan in the 80s. The store fronts were all glass on the front to allow the passerby to see into the parlor. The windows, doors, and every other uncovered area were lined with flashing lights, attempting to lure customers. I didn't understand the concept of pachinko, but I did play once with a friend.

Pachinko is a pinball machine on steroids. If you look closely at the photo, you will see a tray of small balls. These are the tokens for the machines, much like older slot machines used quarters or tokens. The balls could be "cashed in" for prizes, but not money since gambling was not legal in Japan. Usually, the players collected cigarettes with their tokens.


  1. Hi Nancy! Hope you are doing well!

    This is so interesting. I really enjoyed this.


  2. I notice there are more men than women in these photos.

  3. We have an old machine in our basement! Funny you posted ABOUT IT!

  4. Yes - I used to love to go to the Pachinko Parlor on Saturday mornings around 1978/79/80 with a pocket full of yen. When I'd win, they'd give me packets of tea, and packs of lighter flints (which equated to cash denominations). The parlor was adjacent to a yard and a garage. I would go behind the parlor, into the yard, and into the garage. At the back of the garage was a small sliding door. I would knock on the door, it would open up and a small tray was pushed out. I would put the tea and flints on the plate - and the plate was removed, and the window would shut. A minute later the window would open - with a small pile of cash on the plate! Much fun. CJ


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