A uniquely Japansese activity, a form of semi-legal gambling and an obsession.
These upright pinball-type machines are found all over the place, and unlike amusement arcades in the UK which are frequented by the feckless youth, in Japan it seems to be the perfect stress reliever for all sorts of workers. And unlike other stress-relievers you can keep your clothes on.
You should however have a go - if only to get a feel of the hypnotic atmosphere that these places create.
P.S.The dodgy business connections of many of these places means nearly all them don't like you video recording in them.
One night, we had to visit Links, which is a golf bar. You knew the Japanese were golf-crazy, right? All the wait staff are dressed like caddies. There are little tables where one is served alcohol and bar food, but the main draw is that you can play any of the world's most famous courses. You use real clubs, and face a video screen and a battery of cameras which calculate the velocity and trajectory of your drive (or putt, or whatever) and then display where, on the virtual course, your shot has landed. It's expensive, but vastly less costly than playing actual golf anywhere in Japan, which may account for its popularity.
Open Tuesday-Sunday 5:00 PM - 5:00 AM. Really.
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