Below you can see a pachinko parlor. These places are all over Japan. Even really small town have a few pachinko parlors. They are always busy too. Filled with lots of Japanese people wasting their money away. Also they’re very noisy and always filled with smoke.
Pachinko is one of the things that is unique to Japan. Some people say it’s like pinball, but it’s not really like it at all. Basically you are shooting small metal balls into small slots to gain more balls.
They have all kinds of pachinko machines based on pop stars, animation, movies, TV dramas, etc. I tried playing pachinko one time. I got 1000 yen worth of balls and proceeded to see them completely used up in just over one minute. All you do in Pachinko is turn a knob, which controls the speed of the balls shooting out. It’s really quite boring. Now you might be wondering why Japanese people love this game so much. One reason, gambling.
Much like the chap above they want to get a big score and make lots of money. The thing is getting money from playing pachinko is illegal. Everyone in Japan knows the system though. You take all of the balls you’ve won and exchange them for a present or a token. After that you go to a special store which is usually in close proximity and sell the item you got for cash. Yes even the police know about this. Everyone does! I put a link to a flash based pachinko game so that you can try it out, and see for yourself how boring it actually is. Enjoy!