How to Ashtray

Japanese arcades are dripping with tar and nicotine. In fact, it’s said that the reason nineties candy cabinets keep going so long is that the plastics have transformed into a super-strengthened resin after decades of suspension in cigarette tar.

Seriously, the arcades here smell like a Tokyo restaurant they’re so smokey!



Ash trays are self-service

If you need one please go to the counter

That doesn’t mean you can steal them.

Who would steal them? Builders of JP-style games rooms always try to add some Sega or Taito ashtrays for authenticity. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just round the corner and smoking gradually being curbed, perhaps they’ll become quite rare.

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The Winning Eleven soccer screen advertises the exciting update to 2015 player data!Perhaps incongruous to see sports and smoking so close together, but then I remember seeing a collection of Tokyo 1966 Olympic souvenirs that included actual cigarettes draped in the five rings – “The visual ambassador of Olympism for billions of people”. (Oh and also it causes cancer.)

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people