On Your Hire Horse

I worked on a bookie counter and learnt about gambling. Idiots say the house always wins. They don’t say that about the cinema or the gym.

I saw retired Yorkshiremen hanging out on 10p yankees for the afternoon. Neither home nor the pub, it was a third place they could be. They “lost” money by spending it on their entertainment. They could even choose how much it cost and sometimes would get it all back plus some extra.

Smart money.

So Star Horse looks like it’s about gambling – and makes its billions (of yen, annually, no joke) off people who aren’t in control – but it’s really just a seat you can rent.

You get a drinks holder, a side table, an ashtray, multiple power outlets, a reclining seatback, a footrest, a wraparound headrest to hide in, adjustable armrests. Everything’s wipe-clean and, because it’s Tokyo, well wiped.

Each cushioned punter has their list of the places they’re not and their list of reasons why. Star Horse asks no questions; just drop the coins.

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