Previously, on THE AMAZING RACE: Teams raced through Broken Hill, Australia. Phil gives us quick rundown of the Kangaroo Keystone Kops in the Land Down Under.
We find out that the Pit Stop isn’t a stop, and that teams went from the Philster directly to a train into Sydney. We also learn from the posted departure times that round 2 was a genuine case of Nip/Tuck.
Leaders Zev & Justin hit the mat at 11:57am and tear open the clue - DESTINATION TOKYO!
Zev reminisces about his wasabi treat at the Wheel of Fortune Road Block - yum!
Team Globetrotters are next at 12:05pm - and they get to recall their GODZILLA attack.
Jet & Cord check out at 12:08 as the leaders head for the airport.
Kisha & Jen at 12:09, Maggie & Luke at 12:10, Mel & Mike at 12:14, Kent & Vyxsin at 12:16 flash past. The leaders get flight information and, lo and behold, there are two choices (no, not your typical ROAD BLOCK). There’s a direct flight (hey, QANTAS again!) that lands at 6:15am, or a flight with Cathay Pacific that gets to Narita at 6:00 - a full quarter hour advantage. But (there’s always a but) the caveat is a toughie - this flight has a (cue dramatic foreshadowing music) layover in Hong Kong.
Back at the departure mat, Jaime & Cara go at 12:24, Gary & Mallory at 12:26, and finally Ron & Christina at 12:28 -- a span of only 29 minutes from 1st to 10th…
We also find out Ron will be THE FATHER OF THE BRIDE as Christina tells us of her upcoming nuptials with Azaria from Season 12.
Teams continue to kvetch about flights - like we don’t know what’s going to happen - proving once again that most of our contestants never watch the show. The kids on the Big Bus are Jet/Cord, Kisha/Jen, Ron/Christina, Gary/Mallory. The Short Bus kids Mike/Mel, Maggie/Luke, Kent/Vyxsin, Jamie/Cara. The Trotters pay back Zev & Justin’s earlier clue help by ‘letting them’ take the now full early-landing flight and must be satisfied with the direct Qantas plane, alas.
So, with much dramatic foreshadowing music we get on the planes and -- SURPRISE SURPRISE SURPRISE - there’s a delay in Hong Kong!
During the commercial break we get our de rigueur culture lesson -- it seems that the most popular pizza topping in Japan is squid. Can’t wait for Domino’s to add that to their menu!
Back on the Hong Kong tarmac, teams continue to bemoan their fate, Mike reminds us that they are slow, which means they will be at a disadvantage (dramatic foreshadowing music). The Qantas flight lands, and, thanks to some inside (insight?) information, the lucky leaders learn of the Hong Kong delay (wow - different airlines actually share this kind of stuff -- whodathunkit?)
Arriving in Tokyo bright-tailed and bushy-eyed, teams head for a parking garage with a difference (but no chips). We get the usual bickering, (at least nobody says “gracias”), Flight Time gets the sardine treatment and Ron waxes
poetic prophetic about not being lackadaisical.
The early-late Hong Kong flight touches down at 7:20 and the whole car park roulette routine is repeated, redone, and revisited. (dramatic foreshadowing music) Justin worries about Cara breaking a mirror as the trailers hit the whacky right-laned Tokyo streets. Jet & Cord are (no need for dramatic foreshadowing music) lost, confused that the street signs in Japan have the temerity to be written in, of all things, Japanese. いいえフェア！
Teams are directed to drive to the town of Kamakura, and locate the Yabusame Dojo* - sight of this week’s Road Block - the Samurai Warrior Follies. Contestants get a quick lesson on some ritual Tai Chi moves, ceremonially taking up the bow, and finally, firing said bow & arrow from a spinning wooden horse. (Top Shot's pseudo-Jiffypop host is probably watching) while kitted out in a magnificent Samurai kimono, hat and toe-slippers.
Meanwhile, back on the mean streets, teams continue to be lost. Helpful natives are abundant, but Jet & Cord choose to go it alone. Cara manages to clip the mirror (WHAT??) off an innocent Tokyoite's car. Tokyo PD is summoned. She tried to pay her way out of trouble, but the GEICO™ lizard-critter will have to go to work.
Back at Yabusame, Ron is first to greet his Goshujin-sama, and immediately struggles. He's followed by Gary, Flight Time, and Jen - who uses her Zen powers to breeze through the task, leaving the others to ponder their fates. Justin is next to clear, with the 1000-year-old Gary right behind. The next clue sends them out to find the Kintaro Statue and our Detour.
Our little lost ones take the innovative move to break up, providing more proof that this is the biggest collection of losers since the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Los Angeles Clippers with Charlie Sheen in the front row. One time front-runner Ron finally hits the target, with Luke, Kent, Cord and Mike on his heels.
Jen gets directions from a hearse driver - a creepy encounter but useful. Some split-screen foo-fah sends us to the Kintaro Statue (with a couple of cutie-patootie native greeters) then off to the Detour. (Remember, a Detour to a choice between two tasks…)
This week’s edition is “Prayerful Purity” or “Frog of Luck” In “Purity”, team members must learn a prayer, do some Tai Chi, then get a waterfall shower - frigid water from the sacred Mt. Fuji. In “Frog” teams get to strip down to their special Japanese underroos/pampers and join some mud-flinging locals venting their frustration with whatever frustrated them while hunting for a small plastic frog (a good luck symbol). Take the frog to the mud-master to get the next clue.
Not realizing the difficulty of a find-it task (like, we’ve never seen one of these before!), Team Short Bus (aka The Skinny Sumos), Gary/Mallory, Jen/Kisha, Luke/Maggie, Jet/Cord, Mel/Mike and (eventually) Cara/Jamie all dive in for the mud. During the fracases silliness abounds, along with plenty of frustration and a couple of oobie blurs. Mud ends up body cracks where mud has no business visiting. Victors bond with the mud-master via chest-pumps, muddy hugs, and even a kindly spolsh on the back. Everyone is relieved to learn that Vyxsin’s makeup is indeed mud proof.
Ron/Christina and Flight Time/Big are wise grasshoppers and go for the Purity. A quick salt rub, some incense, more quality Tai Chi time and into the 45° blast with absolutely no problems (well, maybe one. But more on that later). Back at the mud-pit, Zev comes up with the first frog and the lads head for the next Pit Stop sans pants. Their Short Bus is first into the barn (the Commodore Perry monument) and the Travelocity™ Gnome treats them (now properly togged) with a trip to Punta Islita, Costa Rica. Gary and Mallory cruise in for second, with Flight/Easy trotting in for third (or are they???). Back at the mud, Mike &
Molly Mel are stuck - no clue, no frog, and temps are plummeting. Kisha hits the anuran jackpot, as does Luke. Kent tries his down-home frog-gigging technique before realizing these frogs taint real. Somehow, he stumbles across one lying inert in the mud anyway (errp).
Back at the Purity doijo, Flight Time & Big Easy head out as Ron & Christina hit the dressing rooms -- but hold on -- Christina’s fanny pack is AWOL! There Be Thieves About! Quick cuts to empty rocks prove the point -- something is rotten in Japan! In desperation, Ron goes in to change, not knowing what to do. So what does he find? The missing fanny pack! Those scamps from Harlem moved it! FOUL! CHEATERS! YIKES!
As night falls, teams are still hunting for their lucky frogs. Mike is worried about his father and the very genuine threat of hypothermia. They leave the mud and seek refuge in an ambulance. Cara finally gets her frog, and sure that they are dead last, glumly hit the final trail. At the mat, Ron and Christina fill Phil with the gory details. He instantly recognizes unlawful mischief and slams a 30 minute penalty - making Ron and Christiana team number 3. Kisha and Jen earn the number four spot, with Jet and Cord placed behind the re-set ‘trotters.
Cara & Jen, sure they are headed for Sequesterville, reminisce about better days (fortunately, no mirrors are harmed in this drive).
Kent & Vyxsin take 7th, Maggie & Luke 8th (as rain starts to fall). Mel and Mike are shown getting medical attention as Jen & Cara, certain they are last, joke about Panda Poo hair. Phil smiles, winks, and relieves their angst by telling them they are still in the race.
Mel and Mike finally arrive, healthy and reasonably dry. The emotions flow as the final fade out fades in.
Next week - China, with the expected Ron melt-down a highlight.
* I visited Kamakura in 2007 - spend some time literally inside the giant Buddha statue about half a mile from Yabusame.
Seana, mistress of siggies 2010