Originally uploaded by jimiinc.
This is a very poor photo, but I was walking past and shot it just as the doors slid open. Basically, I am afraid of pachinko parlors and their management, nuff said. Anyway, one thing that has always amazed me about Japan is the seemingly inexhaustible appetite which many people seem to have for it. It's hard to tell from this picture, but most of the people inside looked to be college students, or around that age, not the sad middle-aged man crowd which I always associated with pachinko when I lived here. Internet gaming, with all its attractions, is indeed impressive, but it seems that people who play pachinko are looking for something which may not be replicable online, even if they were allowed to win money. It seems to me that the experience involves some very unique aspects (cramped seating, a choking cigarette haze, deafening music, and the incessant din of the machines themselves), which no amount of Ajax could recreate.