There was still no rest for our weary racers on last night's episode of the Amazing Race as they boarded an overnight train back to Sydney from the outback. Once in Sydney, they opened clues directing them to get on their way to Tokyo. (This is like our dream season. Producers, please revisit all these destinations when we try out, kthx.) Zev and Justin had a flashback to their season's trip to Tokyo, where they were forced to eat giant wasabi hand rolls on a Japanese game show. Now that was a great task.
Most teams were torn between a direct Qantas flight getting in at 6:15 a.m. and a Cathay Pacific flight with a layover in Hong Kong landing at six. Kent/Vyxsin, Cara/Jaime, Mel/Mike, Margie/Luke, and Zev/Justin decided to risk the layover (and an undisrupted night's sleep) to get that extra fifteen minutes and, naturally, their plane (which looked like it had a five-seat-across middle section, ouch) had engine trouble and they were delayed over an hour. This is why you always book direct.
Once in Tokyo, the teams headed to a rotating parking garage that seemed to be a cross between a vending machine and a ferris wheel. Ugh, Japan, you get the best things. Zev and Justin tried to will the vending wheel to give them a Ferrari or a Porche, but sadly they got a small little Nissan, which looked like a clown car for the Globetrotters. Everyone got very lost ("Tokyo is like the Times Square of Japan" –Kent) as they headed out of the city, where apparently you drive on the other side of the road. How did we not know that? No one got as lost as Jaime and Cara, who got further delayed when they drove straight into another car's side-view mirror. They then got very annoyed at the driver they hit's insistence on calling the police, calling him dramatic. We're almost positive that if their car got hit by a foreign tourist with rental insurance they'd do the same, but okay.
Everyone eventually made it to the Road Block, which asked the teams to perform a Yabusame ritual of shooting a bow and arrow off a wooden horse. The cowboys were right at home wearing the mini cowboy hats that were part of the costume, though we're sure they don't don beautiful silk robes while they're roping cattle back at home. Almost everyone was able to learn the moves relatively quickly except for uncoordinated Ron, and headed off to the next clue, a statue with adorable Japanese children waving flags in front of it, where their Detour awaited.
The Detour gave the racers a choice between a religious Japanese tradition and a silly one. For some reason, only the Globetrotters and Ron and Christina chose "prayer of purity," which involved chanting a cleansing prayer and then standing under a waterfall from Mount Fuji in the gorgeous autumn countryside. The rest of the teams went with "frog of luck," which meant donning a diaperlike outfit (with a bikini top that fell down for the ladies) and digging through mud for a plastic frog, while people threw mud at them. Yes, the Mount Fuji water was cold, but wouldn't you rather do something beautiful than something gross?
Most of the teams, while a bit disgusted, actually weren't too bothered by the mud, and Jet and Cord actually looked a lot better in those little shorts with no cowboy hats. Maybe it's time for a costume change, boys. Kent, the most grossed out by the mud, was just happy it didn't wipe his makeup off, which, WHEW. That would have been the real travesty of the race. At least half the teams vented their frustration at the task by hugging the frog master once they found their prize, covering him in mud. Zev and Justin finished first, and, possibly thanks to the fact that Justin didn't put his pants back on and Zev never put on underwear, made it to the Pit Stop first and scored a trip to Costa Rica. The Globetrotters beat Ron and Christina to the Pit Stop, but after Christina complained to Phil that the Globetrotters (most likely accidentally) moved their fanny pack of passports and clues, Phil stuck Flight Time and Big Easy with a 30-minute penalty. Since when do accidents incur time penalties? Watch out, everyone else, because despite their cleansing Ron and Christina are fighting dirty. Meanwhile, Mel and Mike couldn't find their frog through the dirt and mud, and once darkness, cold, and rain set in, they were forced to head to the medical van to warm up and ended up in last place. Mel promised to return in ten years with his walker, a sight we'd love to see.
Next week we head to China, where Zev will get confused and Ron will get so angry that he throws things at buses. Also, you might be blinded by Vyxsin's glitter lipstick, so pack sunglasses.