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Issue 9

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Pachinko: A Kind of Gambling

Keiko Imai from Japan

Keiko Imai from Japan writes about a gambling addiction which has become a social problem.

Pachinko players
Photo: Sandy Peters
It has become a social problem; some accidents have happened because people have this addiction.

I'd like to write about the pachinko addiction. Nowadays, some people in Japan are suffering from this addiction. It has become a social problem; some accidents have happened because people have this addiction.

What is pachinko?
First, I'm going to explain about pachinko. It is is a kind of Japanese gambling. There are a lot of machines (a kind of pinball machine) in pachinko parlors. People sit down in front of these machines and buy small silver-colored balls. Twenty balls cost about 100 Yen. Now if 100 Yen is exchanged into American money, it must be about 90 cents. Although some people think it isn't expensive, the balls are gone rapidly, and it is easy to use 20 balls in 30 seconds.

The pachinko players move small handles which are under the right side of the machine. There are some grooves in the machine, and if the ball enters in these grooves, players can increase their number of balls. But it is difficult to enter the grooves, so many people get nothing even though they spend a lot of money. But, a few people know the technique, so they can live by playing pachinko instead of working. These people are a kind of professional.

Description of a "pachinkoholic"
The person who has an addiction to pachinko goes to a pachinko shop compulsively. If they don't go there, they are irritated and angry, and some people become violent in their family, or some do nothing. They don't work or anything. Some people's hands tremble, and some people cry and shout.

A pachinko player
Photo: Sandy Peters
It has become a social problem; some accidents have happened because people have this addiction.

Nowadays not only men have from this addiction but also women; therefore, it affects children because some housewives are addicted.

Every year, there are some accidents. For instance, one housewife who was addicted left her baby in the car to play pachinko in hot summer and forgot the time. When she noticed the time and went back to the car, it was too late because her baby had already died.

Consequences on people's lives
It is a dangerous addiction because some people lose all of their possessions, get divorced, or even kill their children. They can't live in the society. Also, it is difficult to solve this addiction. In order to get well, they have to have strong will, and people around them have to help them.

Trying to solve the problem
There are a few solutions. One solution is for them to write a diary to get well. They write how much money they spend to play pachinko, and they strive to spend less. Also they write their feelings, suffering or anything they want to write, and after that, they read it many times. Then they control their addiction with their families' help.


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