”I did it!” says our reporter, but what was “it?”

A few days ago, our Japanese-language reporter Go Hatori walked into the office with two things: a gigantic grin, and a paper bag filled with 5,000 lottery tickets, which he’d bought with one million yen (US$8,850) of our company money.

▼ Go, relaxing on his lottery ticket bed

Go was certain that this was a wise investment strategy, based largely on the fact that he’d taken a pen and darkened in the money line on his left palm, a tactic which he assured us would lead us to profits. “Just wait, you’ll see!” he confidently told us while we waited for the drawing.

Of course, with 5,000 Lotto 6 tickets, each with six randomly selected numbers on them, there was no way Go was going to manually check each of them against the winning numbers. Thankfully, the Lotto 6 booth where he’d bought the tickets said he could come back the morning after the drawing and they’d feed the tickets into an automated results-checking machine. So he headed to the booth bright and early, with the a.m. sunlight creating an auspicious rainbow in this photo we took of him.

But when Go arrived at the booth a little before 10 o’clock, he found someone waiting for him: his boss, SoraNews24 founder Yoshio, sipping a can of tomato juice.

So why was Yoshio here? Well, two years ago our boss also dropped a million yen on lottery tickets, and so he and Go were now locked in a contest of pride to see who could win more (the rest of the staff, meanwhile, has been forced into a contest to see who can grind their teeth in exasperated anger the hardest).

At 10 o’clock on the dot the clerk opened the shutter of the booth, and Go pulled the bundles of tickets out of his bag. Even the clerk seemed fired up, with an expression that said “Come on, let’s do this!” as Go handed over the slips.

At this point, all Go could do was wait. However, one cool thing about the result-checking machine is that it has a screen that you can watch as it checks each ticket, updating you in real time every time it finds a winner. The top line shows the amount of yen from each winning ticket, while the bottom line keeps a running tally of your total winnings, and almost instantly, the machine started finding winners in our stack!

Lotto 6 has numerical rankings for its prize levels, and things started off small with a couple of Rank-5s, which pay off 1,000 yen (each Lotto 6 ticket had cost us 200 yen).

But then we started getting some Rank-4 winners, which are worth 6,700 yen each! That’s a 3,250-percent return on the single-ticket investment!

And then, it happened.

The monitor told us it had found a winner, but instead of telling us how much the ticket would pay, it flashed the message kougaku.

Kougaku / 高額

So what’s kougaku mean?

Big money.

While it wasn’t the ultimate jackpot, the ticket was a rare Rank-3 winner. However, the Lotto 6 booths aren’t equipped to handle the large-denomination kougaku payouts, and so the clerk informed us we‘d have to go to a bank to receive our Rank-3 sum. However, she could immediately give us the still sizable stack of cash from our 132 Rank-4 and 5 winners.

▼ Go, with a wad of bills and still more to come!

▼ Our Rank-3 winning ticket!

▼ Next stop: Mizuho Bank!

Striding swiftly into the bank, Go walked straight up to the receptionist and told her “I hit a big money Lotto 6 winner!” “Oh, wow, congratulations!” she replied, then gave him some forms he’d need to fill out before claiming his prize.

▼ Showing great restraint, he wrote his name as just Go Hatori, and not Go Hahamycoworkerslaughedatmebutnowtheyfeelstupidbecauseiwillprobablybestinkingrichhatori

After a short wait, Go had his money in his hands, and he headed into SoraNews24 headquarters to gloat.

▼ He even showed off the ridiculously long receipt showing each payout.

Of course, we wanted to know the tale of that tape, and so we asked Go to give us the complete breakdown of how his one-million-yen gamble had panned out. Beaming from ear to ear, he gave us the results:

● 123 Rank-5 winners, at 1,000 yen each, for a total of 123,000 yen
● 9 Rank-4 winners, at 6,700 yen each, for a total of 60,300 yen
● 1 Rank-3 winner, at 325,000 yen

“Wow, 325,000 yen for the Rank-3! That’s awesome!” we cheered.

“I know, right?” Go said, full of self-satisfaction. “And the grand total for all the winning tickets comes to 503,800 yen (US$4,460)! I did it!”

Wait, what? We were sure we hadn’t misheard Go when he said “I did it!” But we weren’t sure what “it” could mean, other than losing 496,200 yen on his massive lottery ticket investment.

▼ You did what exactly, Go?

“I did it!” he repeated. “I beat Yoshio!”

We quickly pulled up our report on Yoshio’s lottery ticket project from two years ago, and sure enough, our boss had only won back 365,200 yen after buying a million yen worth of lottery tickets.

▼ “I…DID…IT!!!”

“It’s no exaggeration to say that my technique is far more evolved than Yoshio’s,” Go smugly concluded, and in a way, he’s right, since he produced results that were almost 14 percent better than SoraNews24’s top dog. On the other hand, he also managed to lose roughly half a million yen in just a few days.


So, in conclusion, if someone was dangling you over a pool of hungry alligators and said you had to give a stack of your cash to Yoshio or Go, Go would, unquestionably, be the better choice. Really, though, you’re probably better off taking your chances with the gators.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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