Tuesday, July 01, 2008


The Missus and I are relaxing at home, a home that seems strangely quiet and cavernous without the patter of Offspringly Feet. And we’re watching what has to be one of the dopiest Reality Shows ever to hit the airwaves: I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

The premise is familiar to any of the unfortunate damned souls that watch reality programming - shows like The Apprentice, The Fattest Ass Biggest Loser, and other similar tripe - on a semi-regular basis. Two teams compete in any number of tasks; every week, a person is eliminated from the losing team. At the end of the season, the last contestant standing wins a huge monetary prize. And to cap matters off, the winning team gets some sort of reward, while the losers get punished with some unsavory task.

In this case, the two teams serve as contestants on a mock Japanese game show. “Mock,” in this case, means that the show is not currently being shown on Japanese TV. But it’s a fairly accurate rendition of the over-the-top character of Japanese television...and nutty Japanese game shows in particular. And it’s really filmed in Tokyo, at the Toho Studios, thus adding a certain strange verisimilitude to the proceedings.

The show is worth watching - for a few minutes, anyway - if you’ve never seen a Japanese game show. Then, boil your eyeballs in bleach and you’ll be fine.

What caught my attention was the “reward” earned by the winning team this week. They got a visit to what was billed as “the finest spa in Tokyo,” none other than Oedo Onsen Monogatari.

I was a little envious. These dudes (and dudettes) got to experience the sand baths and Doctor Fish, attractions that were closed in the dead of night when Elder Daughter and I were there. But I got a boot out of seeing the place on my very own TV.

It was like having déjà vu...all over again.

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