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I Survived a Japanese Game Show: Round three. Back on track

When traveling time zones, it's a good idea to remember that TV schedules change. When I sat down to watch the 3rd episode of "I Survived a Japanese Game Show," in St. Cloud, Minnesota where were were visiting friends on our way to Montana, I forgot it was Central Time.

The show comes on ABC at 8:00 p.m. in St. Cloud and not at 9:00 like in Columbus. The show had just ended. We proceeded to watch the sunset and drink wine.

Watching online a day later in Bismarck, North Dakota at the Seven Seas Best Western was just as entertaining. To catch you up for tonight, here's the recap. If you can't head to Japan any time soon, here's one way to feel like you're there in an unusual sort of way.

What I liked so much during the first episode is back. There was more about Japan and the contestants reactions to being in the country. Everyone loves being in Japan.

There was also more footage about what it's like to be on a Japanese game show. Less time was spent on the contestants' chatter about their strategies to win, therefore the bickering was minimal which left more time for more interesting footage.

Another positive change in round three was Mamasan's increased TV time. I particularly liked observing the contestants reactions to her. The hugs, the thank-yous, the being ever so polite, even when served a gritty version of green tea that isn't what one likes is so typical of trying to be a gracious guest in another country.


"Good?" said Mamasan. Not exactly, but they drank it.

This episode drew me in for other reasons as well. I loved the behind the scene details that showed how the game show is put together and the crews' reactions to the Americans.

"What's that noise?," one person asked from the control room before the contestants came out for the first game, "Pedal Fast, Big Splash." The contestants were in the green room getting pumped up.

"They're screaming."

"Too much green tea," said another.

When host Rome Kanda shouted, "Let's go Americans! Come on out!", the crowd did their normal going wild routine with their stash of noise makers as the Americans waved enthusiastically, bounding through the door. All seemed happy to be involved with this crazy completion.

"We don't care who wins, said Kanda, "as long as someone gets wet."

"With Pedal Fast, Big Splash," there's no way to avoid getting wet if you're the person on the tricycle. No matter how fast two team members pedaled their bicycles to slow down the treadmill, the tricycle rider couldn't keep up and eventually went backwards into the pool of ice-water.

The Yellow Penguins won by four seconds which meant the Green Monkeys became rice farmers for a day for losing. The Yellow Penguins were given a tour of Tsukiji Fish Market for winning.

Rice farming is not easy. Watching the Green Monkeys slog through muck in an attempt to plant rice reminded me of why I'm astounded that rice is not more expensive.

The Tsukiji Fish Market is as large as several airplane hangers and the place where 4,000,000 fish are sold a day. The Yellow Penguins loved the tour and proved that one doesn't need a lot of pomp and circumstance to have a great time traveling. Any time one can learn something new is a bonus. As Andrew said, "This was a once in a life experience."

As a testament to trying new things when traveling, Cathy, known for being a picky eater tried the tuna sashimi. And just like what often happens when trying new things with an open mind, she found out she liked it and downed another piece.

The next day, back in the studio for the elimination round, Darcy and Meaghan dressed up in suits covered with Velcro strips in order to hurl themselves at a wall in an attempt to match shape outlines that looked similar to what is drawn at crime scenes.

The hurling involved bouncing on a trampoline. Meaghan nailed the task all three times. This time Darcy's lost on a positive note. As she pointed out after the men in black suits carried her out of the studio, she's the only contestant to have played every game. Even though she didn't survive a Japanese game show, she sure knows how one is played.

The previews for tonight's show look excellent. The contestants seem to have decided to just have fun more than anything, except for Meaghan who thinks she's on "Survivor." What was the deal with walking around in a bath towel?

Now all I have to do is figure out where I'm going to watch the show tonight. We're without a TV since we are staying with friends in Montana who don't have one. There's the online version that shows up about a day later.

Photos are from the gameshow Web site gallery.

Filed under: Arts and Culture, Stories, Japan, Video

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