These are the games kids used to play before Japanese video games.

Like old-school milk bars or corner stores in the West, dagashiya are small shops filled with cheap sweets that conjure up fond childhood memories for a lot of people in Japan.

Our Japanese-language reporter Saya Togashi still has a soft spot for dagashi (cheap sweets) even as an adult, and just the other day, when she was browsing through them online, she came across a familiar product that she couldn’t resist buying.

While this particular product doesn’t contain any dagashi, it’s something she often saw on the walls of dagashiya, and as a child it’s something she would’ve handed over all her pocket money for, although back then, owning the entire thing was like an impossible dream.

▼ Now though, as an adult, Saya’s impossible dream has finally come true!

Called “Lottery Time for Everyone“, this collection of old-school retro toys, numbered and stuck to a big piece of cardboard, is designed to be sold via lottery, with tickets usually priced at 100 yen (US$0.92) each.

When Saya’s pack arrived, she hung the collection on her wall, clapped her hands together with glee, and got to work preparing the lottery tickets, tearing them into separate pieces and placing them in a cute box, just like the ones used at candy stores.

Saya reached into the box and pulled out her first lottery ticket…number 32!

She scanned the wall of toys to find out what she’d won, and there it was – a traditional wooden spinning top! There’s a certain skill to mastering this toy, which is spun with a rope, and Saya has never been able to successfully spin them, but hey — maybe now’s the time to try again!

Saya had always wondered what toys would be the easiest to get in a lottery like this, so she decided to take down all the other wooden spinning tops to rate the chances of receiving them. There were six in total, and with 40 items on offer, that meant about one in eight people would receive a top, making it a pretty common low-tier prize.

Saya’s next lottery number was…21! This meant she was now the lucky recipient of a set of samurai menko.

Menko is a Japanese card game played by children since the Edo period (1603-1867). During this time, and in the early Meiji Period, (1868-1912), the cards were adorned with images of ninja or samurai, and the sets that Saya received were a lovely recreation of the old-school versions.

Now she’ll just have to find some people to play the game with, and hone her skills at throwing cards down on the floor to flip others’ to collect them, which is how you win the game.

There were six of these up for grabs in the lottery, which meant they were a step up from the wooden tops in terms of prize ranking.

Next up, Saya pulled out a 19, which netted her a paper balloon! These are always heaps of fun to play with, and each one here comes with an additional toy, making them all slightly different, which was a nice touch.

Saya’s next prize was a Daruma Otoshi, which requires each block to be knocked away with the hammer, without letting the daruma head fall.

Then she received a Fukiage Pipe, which needs to be blown into to keep the small ball afloat above the plastic net. Longest float-time wins!

Saya’s heart skipped a beat when she pulled out a number 3, because low single-digit numbers usually mean a top-tier prize has been won.

Here, her lucky draw meant she was now the proud owner of a Polyethylene Balloon-Making set! All you need to do is blow through the straw, with a dollop of paste at the end, to create an air-filled ball that’s somewhere between a bubble and a balloon.

▼ Maybe her colleague, the giant-bubble-making expert Go Hatori, would like one of these…

▼ With only two of these available, this was definitely one of the top-ranking prizes.

▼ Other top-ranking prizes included kaleidoscopes

▼ …rubber band “pistols”...

▼ …and otedama, little beanbags that are juggled and tossed in a game that’s similar to jacks.

▼ Saya loved every second of her lottery, and by the end of it, this was her complete haul.

Saya has a feeling she’s going to be very popular with her friends’ children over the next few months, because as much as she loves her retro toys, she really can’t justify hanging on to every single one of them. For 3,080 yen (US$27.33), you too can own a wall of goods like this, and there are other options online too, offering more modern products or ones with anime or character themes.

It just goes to show the child inside us doesn’t ever really grow old, and if you’d like to give them a treat every now and then, then this is a very sweet way to do it. Or, you can always treat yourself to a trip down memory lane at this Dagashi Bar that serves alcohol with dagashi sweets.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]