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The Amazing Race Season 9: Episode 12 Part 1

By Reagen Sulewski

July 4, 2006

We *knew* it!

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It's down to the final three in The Amazing Race, and the wheat has been separated from the chaff, the contenders from the pretenders, and the crybabies from the emotionally stable.

BJ & Tyler's Pantsless Adventure leaves at 11:18 p.m., headed for the province of Ayutthaya to find something called the Royal Kraal. They've co-opted an elephant at the site into their little product placement scheme, and they'll get their next clue from a famously hackable electronic communications device. The fear of elimination is gone, so the Hippies believe they're more free to run their own style of race.

Eric & Jeremy are second out at 1:21 a.m., full of bravado and determined to beat dem hippies. Ray & Yolanda leave at 1:28 a.m., in hot pursuit of the Hippies and the "Frat Girls". See, it's funny cause they called them girls. Ray is still somewhat baffled by the way that a conversation with Yolanda about a wrong turn can turn into a debate on the state of their relationship. Oh, you have so much to learn there.

The elephant pen is closed until 4 a.m., bunching all the teams together early. Dodging large mounds of elephant dung in the middle of the night, they get their clues from the elephants, sending them on a flight to Toyko and down to Shibuya Crossing where they'll have to find a clue on an electronic billboard. If they don't have them don a pink wig and sing karaoke at some point, I'll be deeply disturbed at them.

This destination could be a huge advantage for the Hippies, as they announce that they've been there before, oh, and Tyler speaks Japanese and has a Japanese girlfriend. This feels just a little rigged. ...Wait, Tyler has a girlfriend? I lose a bet.

At the Bangkok airport, Ray & Yolanda score the earliest flight, arriving in Japan at 2:15 p.m. Eric & Jeremy have also gotten on it, leaving the Hippies behind. They secure a later flight but are now working from a two-hour disadvantage. You can't count on bunching on the last leg (though occasionally the producers will pull a few strings) so they'll have to work hard to catch up.

The first two teams now land in Tokyo and head to the hotels where their rental cars are located, then into downtown. Ray & Yolanda's trademark difficulties with navigating strike early, and they are forced into a bit of backtracking after getting directions from a fairly confused mechanic.

BJ & Tyler have now arrived and are attempting to make up time. They catch a break when Ray & Yolanda take a wrong turn again, leading to another sarcastic little conversation between them about directions. "My great navigator," he says, "Drivin' Miss Crazy." He just doesn't learn, does he? Their problems are exacerbated by, shock of shocks, the fact that Japanese people speak Japanese.

Eric & Jeremy have reached the Shibuya Crossing, and start to scan the area for the clu, eventually spotting the cryptic "Find Hachiko" across a billboard. (Aside: good job producers for at least trying to make this last leg harder. This refers to a statue of a dog in the area, and will allow them to pick up their clue. They find it in short order, and a Japanese guy with a yellow and red scarf hands them their clue. It's the Detour, and gives them the choice of carrying a Japanese maiden with a traditional litter, or delivering two packages via folding bike through the city. To the shock of three, Eric & Jeremy pick the task with the pretty girl.

Shortly after, BJ & Tyler arrive at the square, and spot the sign and then the yellow and red scarf, skipping the part about finding the statue. No points for cleverness, my friends! They go for the messenger Detour, giving us a look at both of them.

Eric & Jeremy start their half-mile carrying task, groaning at the burden of what is probably about a 100 pound girl. Way to impress there, dudes. Meanwhile, the Hippies are super-efficient at getting across to the bike shop (they use their language skills like a sword here) and start careening down the streets of nighttime Tokyo.

Ray still believes that he's ahead of at least the Hippies. At least he's still optimistic after all this. Yolanda, the more realistic of the two, and the one who's been paying attention to their struggles in navigating, correctly points out that you can't count on a team screwing up. It's not about not finishing in last any more, it's about beating everyone else.

Eric & Jeremy deliver their "naughty fantasy come true" to the end point of their Detour, revealing a Japanese girl with a grin so creepy you could base a Ring sequel about it. She gives them their next clue, sending them to a capsule hotel. These little attempts at torture are hotel spaces just big enough for a person, and would send any claustrophobic person into fits.

The messenger task is proceeding nicely for BJ & Tyler, as Tyler clears the path by yelling in Japanese, "Crazy foreigners coming through!" They get their deliveries done without incident and are on their way to the capsule hotel. Around this time, Pokey Ray & Yolanda are just reaching the Shibuya Crossing. They go for the more physical of the tasks, carrying the girl, with Ray astutely pointing out that the other task would involve asking for directions, something that would just end up with them lost on a Japanese fishing boat by some bizarre sequence of events.

At the Maiden Detour, Ray descends into a strange kind of "Blackenese" dialect, and boasting that he could carry the whole thing by himself. I think being away from the United States is starting to break his brain.

At the capsule hotel, Eric & Jeremy are presented with a set of linens, pillows and a 9 a.m. checkout time slip, indicating that they'll be spending the night here. They complain about their lead being lost, but the greater worry, according to Jeremy, is that they might wake up and it's 1972. Did the Japanese invent time travel when we weren't looking?

After bashing around their cargo, Ray & Yolanda finish the Detour and speculate about their position in the race while Yolanda sings a jaunty little tune about Shibuya. I think they've both gone nuts.

Tyler is entirely too enthused about the capsule hotel, embracing the idea of being shoved in a tube too small for any human to live comfortably. They receive a 9:15 a.m. check out time, which tightens up the race considerably. Ray & Yolanda aren't punished too badly for screwing up their navigating today, receiving a 9:30 a.m. departure time when they reach the hotel. They're greeted by the Hippies and the Frat Boys bonding in bathcoats (!), and fib about being caught in traffic. Oh, but we know how badly you suck, Ray.

The next morning, Eric & Jeremy are out early, with a clue sending them to Fujikyu Highland, an amusement park near the base of Mount Fuji, and home to some wicked-ass roller coasters. They find directions easily, with the Hippies easily navigating and communicating, though Ray & Yolanda continue to be held behind because of their difficulties. They wander into a Denny's, thinking, - Hey, Denny's right, that's good old American cuisine and someone must speak English there! Well, yes and no. A manager does his best, gesticulating wildly and not quite helping them. They are so screwed.

Jeremy admires "Mt. Tokyo" in the distance, proving he should never quite be allowed out of the country again. He does have a revelation about the futility of speaking slow English to foreigners, so maybe he can be saved. They luck out a bit when they stop for directions and find a bus driver that will let them follow.

Tyler's rants about Japan and how this is an ideal leg for them is starting to wear a bit thin, even with BJ. You can tell even he can't deal with him sometimes. Yeah, yeah, you speak Japanese. Yes, you've mind melded with Japanese culture. Have you heard of home-field overconfidence? They've caught up with the Frat Boys, however, reaching the amusement park at the same time. The task is the Roadblock and is marked by ease and awesometude. There's a giant pendulum thing, and two rollercoasters, so the Sweet! Factor is pretty high, but the person performing it will also have to watch for a man holding a clue somewhere around the park.

Tyler & Jeremy get the call for their teams, with Tyler calling for the assistance of his neighbors on the first ride, with Eric trying to pick up the girls next to him. The Pizza ride, the Japanese take on what it would be like to be on a pizza crust being flipped, apparently, spins them around while flipping them up and over. Tyler gets a second taste of his cricket meal from yesterday for his troubles.




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Sloppy racing holds back Ray & Yolanda again, as they have lost their tollbooth ticket, tearing apart their car trying to find it. The tollbooth attendant doesn't appear to speak English either, which seems to leave us at an impasse. Pulling off to the side, Ray is worried about going to jail, though what he actually gets is a small fine, directions and a pat on the butt. Now, that's a little condescending, but Ray's reaction to this is a tad over the top. That doesn't make you gay.

Speaking of hookups, standing in line for the next ride, Tyler gets the attention of some Japanese girls because of his beard (insert obvious joke here). He then convinces them to feel it, sending pangs of jealousy through Jeremy, as Eric never offers to feel his beard that way. The second ride proves uneventful for the race, though they do get sent flying across an impressive track-style coaster. Tyler tells Jeremy that he did see something, although he's lying out his ass. On the third and final rollercoaster, a Millennium Force-esque looking beast (Cedar Point people, you know what I'm talking about), the man with the clue, Lake Yamanaka, is standing in the middle of the structure. Both of them spot it and get their clue from the attendant at the end of the coaster. Tyler's psyche-out attempt fails, but amusingly so.

The clue they get directs them to the first Pit Stop of this lake, on the aforementioned lake, where they'll have to take a paddle boat out to a giant boat shaped like a swan in the middle of the lake. Tyler decides he doesn't need to ask directions; "The streets of Japan are my second home". OK, Super-Gaijin. Jeremy wants us all to know that he was in Duck Boat club in high school. Heh.

Ray & Yolanda are now just arriving at the amusement park, where their newfound communication prowess has already vaporized. Yolanda's happy to take the roadblock just to get some distance from Ray for the time being. She spots the clue easily and they're finally on their way to the Pit Stop, with Yolanda complaining about Ray's driving. Ray finally scores one by pointing out that she's never happy in the vehicle, whether she's driving or not.

With BJ & Tyler leading the way, the first two teams reach Lake Yamanaka. Eric & Jeremy feel they can overtake them, but if you've ever been in one of those oversized paddleboats, you know that these things have all the speed and maneuverability as a shopping cart. BJ & Tyler get to the swan boat first, and take first at this midpoint of the leg. As their prize for this leg, they get a T-Mobile Sidekick and three years of service, plus their entire social circle sent out for the whole Internet to see.

Eric & Jeremy come in for second, with Jeremy complaining about Tyler's earlier chicanery, about as mild as a ‘dirty' tactic can be on this race. Tyler rightly points out that, hey, you cancelled our cab, so don't talk to me about sweetness and light. The crybaby. This leaves Ray & Yolanda for third place. As a non-elimination leg, they have to hand over all their cash and belongings, and with their navigation and communication skills, makes it likely that we'll never see them again.


     


 
 

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