Views #365 | Intermediate 5


Kawabe explains why many Japanese people love pachinko.
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Todd: OK, Kawabe, can you explain Pachinko? Foreigners don't understand pachinko.

Kawabe: OK. Explain pachinko.

Todd: Yeah, because when we get off the train and go home we often we often walk past pachinko parlors, or in the morning even.

Kawabe: It's everywhere

Todd: And there's a big line of people waiting to get in, so we don't understand it, like, why do people like pachinko?
Kawabe: OK, pachinko is, 1) it's a gamble, you know, you pay a lot of money to play that and if you win you can get a lot of money back, and 2) it's a, there's no 2. It's only 1). It's the gamble. That's it.

Todd: Well, how do you win money? Like, you just, you take the ball and you put it in the slot and it trickles down?

Kawabe: Yeah, um, there is a slot you put your money, bill, into it, and OK, let's say I go into the pachinko shop and I pick out one of the seats and then, "OK, I'll play with this." And I, you know, take out my wallet and pick up a thousand yen and put the bill into the slot and then the machine gives you a certain amount of the, you know, silver balls, and you play with it. What you do is just, roll, or touch the...

Todd: Dial!

Kawabe: Yeah, dial

Todd: Dial!

Kawabe: And move like 5 centimeters.

Todd: Uh-huh!

Kawabe: That's it!

Todd: What happens?

Kawabe: And the silver balls go up to the top and you know it comes down to the holes and sometimes it, you know, the balls get into the really nice hole and then I don't know how they work, exactly but anyway, if you got a good hole, you got the money. That's it! So, it's a really, that's too simple to enjoy. That is why you never see people smiling in front of pachinko. You know every one is making a grimace in front of the pachinko machine. Have you ever seen people smiling?

Todd: No, I've never been in a pachinko parlour. I just walk by.

Kawabe: You know they just sit in the machine and staring at one place and spend like 20, 30 minutes and when you're money's gone it's the time to you know, stand up.

Todd: Have you ever played?

Kawabe: Many times. Why not? Many times.

Todd: That's cool! Well, thanks, Kawabe!

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!


We often walk past pachinko parlors.

A 'parlor' is a small sitting room or shop. In this case, a pachinko parlor refers to a place where a lot of people are gathering to play a game.

Notice the following:

  1. I like going into all of the old fashioned parlors.
  2. The traditional parlors are becoming quite rare.

get in

And there's a big line of people waiting to get in.

To 'get in' means to gain entrance to a place or event.

Notice the following:

  1. It seems very busy tonight I am not sure if we will be able to get in.
  2. You will need to make a reservation at the restaurant if you want to get in.


It's a gamble, you know, you pay a lot of money to play that and if you win you can get a lot of money back.

'Gamble,' in this case, refers to something that is a risk. You don't know the outcome, but there is a good possibility that you will lose.

Notice the following:

  1. Starting your own business right now is a bit of a gamble.
  2. I think it is a bit of a gamble hoping to get a table without booking first.


There is a slot you put your money into.

A 'slot' is a small gap into which you can put flat objects like coins or letters.

Notice the following:

  1. There is a small slot where you can post the letters.
  2. Put the money in the slot.


Every one is making a grimace in front of the pachinko machine.

A 'grimace' is a facial expression that you use to express concern and discomfort.

Notice the following:

  1. Try not to grimace as it makes you look unattractive.
  2. We were all grimacing at the sight of her new dress.

Vocabulary Quiz

parlor • get in • gamble
slot • grimacing from
  1. First you put the money in the and then you press the numbers to make your selection.
  2. After his accident he was the pain in his neck.
  3. Having a wedding outside is a big here. You never know when it will rain.
  4. I have a friend at that club who can help us .
  5. During the spring and summer we spend a lot of time in the of my parents' house.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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