Monday, December 2, 2013


I'm not sure what they were thinking.  Friends of theirs had one and I used to play with it whenever we visited or when I was sent there for babysitting -- babysatting, since I was being sat and not sitting.

I remember it was $50 and that was a lot of money for my parents in the late 70s.  I'm not even sure how they tracked it down.  But one Christmas, I received a pachinko, a Japanese pinball machine.  

A very loud, clangy, bell-ringing, metal ball spewing pinball machine.  

Again, I'm not sure what they were thinking.  I can't imagine how annoying it was to hear me playing with that thing.

Here's a tame video of one.  The more the balls fall into the three large flowers near the bottom, the more balls one wins from the back top of the machine.  I can remember them just coming out as a constant loud stream.  And then once they were all out, they'd have to be added to the dispenser cup in the top back.  Again, a very noisy prospect.

Pachinko machine in action

Alas, the pachinko machine made it through a few moves, but when my mother sold our house, I didn't take it with me to Virginia.  I see one every so often -- there's one in a window display across the street from Stove in Portsmouth -- and just searched for mine online about two weeks ago.  I'm not sure I'd recognize my specific machine if I saw it.  Mom just sent me an email earlier today asking me if I knew there was a pachinko app.  I can't bring myself to spend the $0.99 to see if it still makes the same obnoxious noises.  Let's just assume it does.

The thought of it makes me smile, though.  It represents what my parents would do/put up with to make me happy.  And for that I'm quietly thankful.

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