The Amazing Race

(Most pictures shamelessly stolen from other peoples’ Facebooks.)

The Amazing Race is an event that Miyazaki AJET has run for the last four or five years (I think).  Based on the American game show, the Amazing Race has teams running all over the capital city, competing in challenges and solving clues.  Though the event takes place every year, the theme and the challenges change.  Last year’s theme was “Game of Thones,” and the one before that was, “The Hunger Games.”  This year’s theme was, “The Lord of the Rings.”  I don’t know who originally came up with the idea, but it was as great one.  Many people commented on how perfectly the theme seemed to work.

Planning for this event actually started two months ago, in February.  The MAJET team, along with a handful of amazing volunteers, created the challenges from scratch.  There were 10 challenges in total, spanning what felt like the entire city.

For me, the race started on Friday night.  Alissa and I picked up the practice drums from my taiko team and loaded them into her car.  We headed down to the city and spent the night there.  Larissa and Julian were awesome enough to host me, even though they already had 3 other guests.  The next morning we all woke up around 6:30 and tried to reanimate ourselves enough to get our things together and head out.  Most volunteers made it to the starting point around 7:30, about half an hour before participants started showing up.  I had a few big tasks throughout the day.  First, I had made the t-shirts for the volunteers.  (Which just involved a lot of printing and ironing.  Altogether, making the t-shirts took me about five hours.)  Second, I had volunteered to make the teams.  After matching people together for the Valentine’s event I ran, making teams was like a fun logic puzzle.


Volunteers` t-shirts

Volunteers` t-shirts

This also meant that on the day of the race, I was in charge of making any last minute shuffles should anything come up.  We only had three small hiccups with teams: one person did not show up, three extra (unregistered) people showed up all the way from another prefecture and asked to participate, and one team ended up being entirely made of out of towners (Next year, we definitely need to make sure we have people put down where they live).

So while Alissa made the opening speech with Saeko translating, I plopped down in the grass a few feet away and spread out my lists.  It did not take long, thankfully.  I wasn’t able to honor everyone’s requests, but overall I think the teams worked out.  Next year we will have to try and find ways to make them all evenly balanced.  That all taken care of, the news crew came to film us and it was time for the day to begin.

Their mighty steeds.

Their mighty steeds, made by Julian

Challenge 1: Relay Race

Teams members had to choose from four different roles: hobbits, elves, dwarves, and humans.  They had to do a different part of the race based on their chosen role.  Challenges included running around in circles before running a segment, carrying water, hopping in a rice sack, and “killing” an orc.  All while holding a wooden horse (that they they carried around with them all day).  The prize for winning this race was that your team got to choose their power card first.  Each power could be used to help your team or hinder another team.

An example of the quest cards they got throughout the day.

An example of the quest cards they got throughout the day.  The artwork was a team effort: Alex,  Julian and Rick rocked it.

Challenge 2: Red Light Green Light

Teams had to sneak up on Gollum (Karl) and steal a Ring hanging from a nearby tree.


Challenge 3: Second Breakfast

Teams had a choice of three different kinds of breakfast.


Challenge 4: Fabric Store

MAJET teamed up with a local fabric store to do one of the challenges.  Participants had to dig through some fabric scraps and put together a flag that they felt represented their team.  They then had to explain the store behind their flag to one of the volunteers.  If it was acceptable, they moved on to the next challenge.


Challenge 5: Lunch/ Dragon’s Hoard

Teams were given up to 45 minutes to eat lunch (based on when they arrived) before they were allowed to do the lunch challenge.  Inside a bag, we had a dragon’s hoard of chocolate coins.  On each coin was a number.  The number then corresponded to different penalties/ bonuses.  Teams were told that while taking the gold, they had awoken the dragon.  The outcomes were:

  1. They not only got away from the dragon successfully, but they managed to grab some more coins on the way out: +25 points.
  2. They not only got away from the dragon, but they ran so fast they could have lapped him. -2 minutes from their total time.
  3. Unfortunately, while trying to escape, the dragon managed to trap them behind a rock for a while. +2 minutes.
  4. The dragon caught them, but they still had a chance to live. They could challenge to the dragon to a game of brain or brawn.  The teams had to choose which before I told them what the challenges were.  For brain, they had to solve once side of a Rubik’s cube.  For brawn, they had to catch the ball on any side of the knead (basically the Japanese ball and cup game).


Challenge 6 (one of my favorites): Price Hunt

Teams were given several pictures of items inside Don Quixote (Basically the amount of stuff in Walmart, but in a building half the size. You can’t not get lost in there).  The participants then had to find the prices of those items and add them up.  The total was the combination for a locked box outside the store.  Inside was their next clue.


Challenge 7: Miyazaki Shrine

Participants had to go to the shrine, figure out a riddle, and get a special stamp.


Challenge 8: Culture Park Taiko Challenge

We set up two stations of four practice drums.  Karl and I were the taiko “masters” and we taught each team a short taiko pattern.  The teams then had to successfully do the patterns two times in a row.  There was also a hard and an easy version for them to choose from.

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Challenge 9: Heiwadai Park/ False ending

Teams thought they were on their last challenge, but we tricked them!  The final clue was hidden inside of a statue and led them to final place.


Challenge 10: Heiwadai Park/ Real ending

For the final challenge, teams had to thrown their rings into the lake in the correct area.  The rings were brilliantly made of salt dough (Cassie’s epic idea) so that they would break apart and wouldn’t hurt the animals.



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