Monday, April 24, 2006


OK, so you're probably wondering why I'm dressed up as a ninja. Cast your mind back to last April, and you may remember me writing something about the "Kraazy Reinan Kar Rally" - a madcap (I love that word) event where pretty much all the JETs in Fukui get dressed up in mad costumes and race around southern Fukui doing stupid things for points. Well, it's that time of year again...
If anything, the race was even sillier this time around. The plot was fantastically convoluted, involving characters from a junior high school textbook posing questions and photo challenges (such as taking a photo of a member of the public dressed up in your costume) and all the while we were required to carry round a "new character" in the textbook called "Hanako" - which was actually a bag of flour. "Hanako" had to appear in every photo, and if she arrived intact at the finish line then extra points were awarded.
It started a little badly for "Team Ninja" this year - at the first checkpoint we were thrown out of a local market for "scaring the customers" by walking around in ninja costumes: the owner of the market even came out into the car park to write down the number plate of our car. I'd like to think of this gesture as a compliment to how realistic our costumes were, although I should also like to point out to the owner that most "real" ninjas don't carry plastic swords and shurikens made out of foil and cardboard.
Anyway, that was the only negative experience we had all day - everyone else we met had a good laugh at our expense, as we dashed around like mad hares trying to fulfill our objectives. One of the highlights was clambering around in an adventure playground, hunting for parts of a clue, as little kids were running around us shouting "NINJA, NINJA!!!". Bless their little cotton socks.
You may remember that last rear we roared home in first place, only to discover that, when the points were tallied up, we'd only achieved a disappointing ninth position (it seems that in our haste we'd stupidly missed out some of the answers...). Well, this year we'd learnt our lesson and took a much more relaxed (yet thorough) approach to answering questions. In fact, we were so relaxed that three members of the team stopped to take an onsen halfway through the day... One of the questions required that two team members be immersed in water (holding the flour of course), so we decided to do it with a little dignity and hot water, rather than flinging ourselves opportunistically into the sea like some other teams.
Of course, all of this comfort and relaxation did take it's toll, since we finished in... last place. Whoops. Well, at least we were clean.
Yet then something amazing happened...
I couldn't quite believe it as I went forward to lift up the trophy... We'd beaten the second place team by just five points (who incidentally finished first in the race). Our thoroughness in answering every question had paid off! GO TEAM NINJA!!!!
Amazing. Big thanks go out to the team - Brandon, Caitlin, Hudson, Sam and Yuki - and huge thanks to everyone on the rally committee for organising it all. Good work guys.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could add that ninja don`T go driving around in cars but that`s beside the point. Congratulations :)

8:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last rear?

Engrish or freudian slip?

6:01 pm  

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