Well, it really isn't much of a story. I was a delegate of an exchange group in high school (there were seven of us), and while we were staying in Tokyo, we happened to pass a Pachinko parlor. This, in and of itself, is not newsworthy--those things are everywhere over there. But they happened to be filming a segment of a game show inside this particular one.
If you aren't sure what Pachinko is, just imagine Plinko from The Price is Right...
...but condensed into a slot machine sized package. And there you have the biggest addiction to hit Japan since animated porn.
Pachinko parlors are nothing more than loud, garish, smoky casinos. So, naturally, the producers of the show figured it would feel just like home to us American high school kids. They literally pulled us off the street to tape a short interview segment. They had time to fill, and it was just luck that a group of strange, yet benevolent, American giants happened by.
Seriously, those people are small. I'm 5'7", and I dwarfed the host of the show. Which worked out well for him, since he was apparently a boob man. Oh joy! Even at 15, I gave him quite an eyeful, which just made me feel dirty inside.
Having only studied the language for a year at that point, I was at a loss to know what the hell they were talking about, but I do recall they used a lot of sound gags. If you've ever seen a Japanese game show, you know how freaking crazy they are. And this was no exception. One contestant was wearing a large diaper and standing next to a small pool of what I can only guess was creamed corn. The female contestant was wearing a toga, and I have no idea what kind of humiliation she had signed herself up for. Once our interview was over (only our guide spoke, the rest of us just stood there with perplexed looks on our faces), we were shown the door. No free show for us!
I'm sure if I went there today, I'd totally be recognized from my brief stint in the limelight. It was only 15 years ago. I'll bet there are posters of me everywhere. Not that I could converse any better with my adoring fans now. I took 6 years of Japanese, and the only thing I remember how to say is "You're an ignorant, good-for-nothing transvestite porn star."
Anata wa muchi no yakunitatanai Misuta Reri poruno suta desu ne.
Quite handy, I assure you.
Anyhow, what made me think of this is something my husband saw on Youtube. The newest sensation to sweep their nation--Human Tetris.
Oh, those crazy Japanese! What will they think of next?!