Neurotic Explosion: The Yen Arcade

JAPAN

Pachinko-byo is an ailment new to the annals of medicine and peculiar to Japan. Its symptoms: blistered fingers, a sprained thumb and eyeballs that jiggle in their sockets like popcorn kernels tossed on to a hot griddle.

The cause of pachinko-byo is pachinko, a sort of poor man's pinball game. It has swept Japan like a virus in the last three years and brought the neon pallor of the penny arcade to the land of the rising sun.

The pachinko machine (cost: $20) stands upright to save space. From the owner the player buys...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!