Unable to overcome his compulsion to play pachinko, long-time Tokyo expat Wayne Smith created an unconventional strategy to limit his ability to gamble away his hard-earned money — keep all his cash in rolls of ¥500 coins.
"¥500 coins cannot be used in pachinko (machines) and cannot be changed at the weekend, as banks are closed, or after 6 p.m. weekdays," he says. "Also, coins will survive a fire at home and are more cumbersome for burglars to steal."
Smith, who spoke under a pseudonym due to concerns that public knowledge of his addiction could have negative ramifications on his job, says he used to go to the bank every weekday after pay day and withdraw the maximum limit of a ¥25,000 roll (50 x ¥500) until he had emptied his bank account. That way, he was never short of spending money, but wouldn't blow it all on the machines.