Japan Field Trip – Pachinko

This was another recording I did for fun, and not for the film. As far as I know Pachinko only exists in Japan – certainly there are similar phenomena in other countries (slot machines, pokies etc) but I don’t think the sonic element is quite the same….
You know you are near a Pachinko parlour first due to the noise – imagine fifty or a hundred glam pop metal bands all jamming at the same time… then image lots of garish flashing lights… then imagine someone slipped you some LSD and you don’t know where you are and thats a little like walking into a pachinko parlour. You’re not quite sure whats going on but in this surreal environment are rows of people glued to shiny mechanical machines….


Apart from them being completely perplexing, what makes the sonic element extra fascinating is when someone enters or exits a Pachinko parlour. So when I walked past a relatively small parlour (some of them are HUGE) I stopped, set up my mics & shot some sync video… Now bear in mind you really need to play this so its nearing the pain threshold when the doors open…

Pachinko from tim prebble on Vimeo.

Apparently the Japanese government estimate the annual revenue from Pachinko is US$378billion!! So its not some minority hobby like seniors that play bingo for real money…. but I find it fascinating that after a hard days work people would go and submit themselves to an environment that is so loud and dense with sound… but maybe thats the point, to become lost in the noise…
Heres a nice quiet description of how you play the game:





One thought on “Japan Field Trip – Pachinko

  1. Jon Clark

    Years ago my dad bought a Pachinko machine somewhere and I have to admit it was a lot of mindless fun watching the balls bounce around. I also know it was maddening when you listened to someone playing for more than about two minutes. I can’t imagine large rooms full of them!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *