チンドン屋

1 Apr

In Japan, sometimes (if you’re lucky) you will see “Chindonya”.

Chindonya is like a Japanese traveling band for hire.

They used to be a common sight…but have become quite rare nowadays.

They dress in an over-the-top version Japanese traditional attire (although occasionally one member may wear something like a clown suit), and the women wear their hair and make-up like a geisha and the men often have their hair in a ちょんまげ (a top-knot that like those of samurai and sumo wrestlers).

The are paid by a store or restaurant to advertise a grand-opening or a sale.

The leader wears a sign board advertising the shop and might hand out flyers as well. Meanwhile, the whole band plays a distinct type of “music” that everyone knows is the sound of Chindonya.

Their name comes from the sound of the music the make. I guess “Chindonya” could best be translated as “Bing-bang group”.

Anyways, I took a short video of a two-member Chindonya group that were advertising the grand-opening of a “Pachinko” parlor.

“Pachinko” is a popular game in Japan that is often called a cross between a slot-machine and a pinball machine.

It’s not technically gambling, since gambling casinos aren’t legal in Japan (there is legal gambling in Japan though…horse racing, bike racing and the lottery). Pachinko, though, is still basically gambling.

To win at Pachinko, you have to aim the BB type balls that you purchase into the holes that are in the upright pinball-looking machine. If you succeed, you are rewarded with a jackpot of the same balls. You can take the balls to the back of the parlor and exchange them for prizes (not money, otherwise that would be “gambling” and therefore illegal).

The loophole, and why pachinko is popular with many people, is that outside every Pachinko parlor is a “seperate” shop that buys the Pachinko prizes from the customers for cash (and they end up back in the Pachinko parlor).

Anyways…here’s my video of Chindonya:

10 Responses to “チンドン屋”

  1. Tom Webster June 15, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Reblogged this on "And now for something completely different…" and commented:
    Well this is fairly awesome….certainly beats the Golf sale guys you see around London

    Like

  2. jon November 24, 2009 at 1:52 pm #

    Nice work – and my favourite game too! Gambling in Japan IS legal of course (horse racing, boat racing and bicycle racing are all examples). Pachinko is legal to play, but illegal to use as gambling. It is this aspect only that is overlooked by authorities. So modern parlours have moved more and more towards pushing players to cash in smaller wins for actual goods. That is not to deny the still massive amount of players who convert winnings to cash at non-disclosed nearby ‘swap’ locations. There’s a LOT more to this fascinating game than its shiny, loud surface conveys. Check out http://www.pachimono.com for more detailed info…

    Like

    • tokyo5 November 25, 2009 at 12:54 am #

      >Gambling in Japan IS legal of course (horse racing, boat racing and bicycle racing are all examples).

      Yes. As I wrote in my post above.

      Thanks for commenting on my blog.
      I checked your site out. Very interesting.
      You really like Pachinko, don’t you?

      And you lived in Japan for a couple of years in the early ’90s. What part of Japan? Tokyo?

      Like

  3. tokyo5 April 2, 2008 at 1:29 am #

    Mom…It’s been awhile since you’ve commented last!

    >Really nice work

    Thank you.

    Like

  4. Mom April 2, 2008 at 12:59 am #

    I love it all!! I have a lot of catching up to do but I am enjoying it all so much. Beautiful photos and I love the descriptions you write.

    Like

  5. tokyo5 April 1, 2008 at 11:56 pm #

    Thanks.

    Like

  6. Aunt Linda April 1, 2008 at 6:12 am #

    Cool. This is great stuff. Keep it coming!

    Like

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