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"On The Street Vol.1"

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-08-13

It was 3:45pm. 75 minutes before the time was up. The deadline for "a jumbo dream" of summer for Japanese people.

The Summer Jumbo Takara-kuji, or lottery is one of the major lotteries run by the administrative divisions of Japan. As well as the one in winter, many Japanese are looking at the Summer Jumbo Lottery as one of the biggest seasonal amusements that give them a chance to fantasize a dream of their life, at least for a while.

Takara-kuji or lottery tickets are sold at Takata-kuji ticket boxes and banks throughout Japan. There are certain Takara-kuji ticket boxes said to be "the big hitter boxes" that reputedly have sold many jackpot tickets compared to other outlets. To share good luck, Japanese Takara-kuji buyers tend to purchase their tickets at those "big hitter boxes" in their area. During the Takara-kuji period, "the big hitter boxes" information can be exchanged at homes, offices, and the drinking gatherings at Izakaya, or Japanese pubs, among the buyers.

On the last day to buy the Summer Jumbo Takara-kuji tickets, there was a long line of people waiting for their turn to get the tickets that might lead them to the riches. The backs of people standing in the line seemed to reflect Okinawa's hard economic depression that manifests itself in the double unemployment rate compared to that in the mainland Japan and the Okinawans' hopes for a life free of money woes as well.

The winners of the lottery will be announced on Aug. 18. Two hundred million yen will be given to 86 first-prize winners each. 215 second prizes (ten million yen each) and 2,150 third prize (one-million yen a pop) will also go to the lucky ones throughout the country.

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