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It’s that time of year again, when hundreds of people can be seen lining up in front of the shopping arcades in Ginza and Shinjuku. No, we’re not talking about Christmas. We’re talking about the big Yearend Lottery.

As it is elsewhere in the world, the lottery — takarakuji — is big business in Japan. Last year, the Japanese spent more than 1 trillion yen on lottery tickets, and it’s estimated that 70 percent of the citizens buy some form of takarakuji at least once a year. As the recession continues, these numbers have increased.

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