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Monday, December 30, 2019

From the gram:

For the next bookclub book we are reading Pachinko (Min Jin Lee, 2017), an epic novel that follows the lives and tribulations of four generations of a Korean family, over eight decades, that immigrated to Japan. It’s a fascinating reflection on, and unbeknownst to me, the many Korean families and their descendants that currently live in Japan with no formal recognition. Well worth the read.

Pachinko is a type of mechanical arcade game, that is frequently used for gambling, similar to a slot machine (pokies). Though instead of coins, small steel balls are loaded into the machine and are used to play the field. Multiple balls can be used at once, and acts as both the prize and bet. The field is populated with multitude of brass pins and a few cups, that the player wishes the balls to land, as they trigger a payout of balls to the player. Interestingly, gambling for cash is illegal in Japan. However, a loophole exists: pachinko balls can’t be exchanged for money nor removed from a pachinko parlour premises, however they can be legally traded for ‘tokens’, which can legally be sold for cash at seperate off-site vendors.

Such parlours played a major role in later generations of the book. A trip to a Pachinko Parlour during my next Japan visit? I think so!