Saturday, August 02, 2008

I am Surviving a Japanese Game Show II

I noticed in my last post that I described Japanese game shows, but failed to say how I am actually surviving them. Of course there are challenges I wrote about before like The Toilet Flush Fip-out or You Want Me To Eat What? Here are a few examples of lesser known ways of how being a foreigner is like being in a game show.
  • The Granny Dodge - I am big blond foreigner in Japan, as well at the mother of the World's Cutest Baby. Therefor I often get approached by strangers who want to see this odditiy. In "The Granny Dodge" at any given moment half a dozen older ladies will surround me and begin to pinch Baby-san's little feet, all the while gabbering away saying things like "He is so cute", "How old is he?", "Where did he get this red hair?", "Can I take him home and marry him off to my granddaughter?", etc. The trick comes in being able to guess if they are expecting an answer and then being able to provide the correct answer quickly before the pinching leaves bruises and claustrophobia sets in. But to be a first place winner of the game, before they reach us I can dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge or try to outrun them. I am a plus size woman with a baby strapped to her, so while the sight of me being chased down the road by a gaggle of grandmothers might give viewers a giggle or two, so I will be doing the former.
  • Subway Surfing- This is a game that can be played in many metropolitan areas. When entering the subway car do not take one of the many seats given up by business-boys. (I know this is hard to tell in writing, this comment is just reeking of sarcasm. Come on boys, can't you see this baby strapped to me?!? If we'd been in Eastern Europe I could count on some babushka granny to wallop you with her umbrella as she chewed you out commenting on how young people had the decency to give up their seats when your mother was carting you around when you couldn't even get the snot out of your nose and she had not survived two wars to see her country come to to this. So get your fanny out of the seat for this mother and her adorable red haired baby whose dimpled cheeks I must pinch. No, I am in Japan where public chastisement ranks up there with mooning the President.) Anyway back to the game. In subway surfing, the contestants stand in the middle of the train without holding on to any handles and keep their balance for as many kilometers as possible. Bonus points for people who, during rush hour, can keep their balance and read a book AND keep their hands from being into other contestants' personal spaces.
  • Mini Mini - In some Japanese game shows you will see adult men and women peddling a tricycle with all their might, knees bouncing off chins as they go. As a five foot eleven person, the trick is to maneuver around things that are designed for folks who might not be tall enough to go on all the Disney rides. Clothing stores are to be avoided at all costs, as is anything with sleeves, pant legs and hemlines. When on the bus you must be the first to reach that one seat stretching across the back and has a spot with actual leg room. And the winner has to be the contestant who can hold a bag of groceries, answer their cellphone, insert the door key in a lock that is eye level with your knee, and not bang your noggin on low ceilings.
  • Supermarket Scramble - In a country where the writing resembles modern interpretive art more than an actual alphabet, it is amazing when you come home with what you'd planned to buy. Is that mayonnaise in the squeeze bottle, or some kind of tofu puree? Is that a bag of cabbage or kelp? And really, what is that white box with the blue writing and a stream of liquid being poured out? The real winner is the one who brings nothing home and goes to the neighborhood noodle shop for dinner.

Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!