You only have to watch the evening news once to know we have a serious trade deficit. With that said, part of the blame now rests squarely with ABC, which has actually shipped Americans to Japan to compete in its newest reality show, I Survived a Japanese Game Show, airing Tuesdays. Back in my day we would have kidnapped Japanese to play $100,000 Pyramid — now look what we’ve become. So call your friends; it’s time we show the world we can strap meat to our foreheads with the best of them.
Setting the scene:
If you’ve never been to Japan, let us paint you a picture: cherry blossoms, pagodas, karaoke and Suzukis. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. But decorating can be done with simple choices such as silk fabrics, paper lanterns, live and dried bamboo, hand-painted signs with Japanese symbols spelling out Tokyo Airport and posters from The Mikado and Madame Butterfly. Plan to rent some games that will make the Land of the Rising Sun proud, such as inflatable sumos and human bowling pins. For the more delicate invitees, consider hiring someone to teach origami during commercial breaks. Once the show is over, plan karaoke for the next hour. Invitations should be written in haiku and sent wrapped around personalized chopsticks, and party favors can include bonsai trees.
The more outrageous the better: giant bunny costumes, Godzilla, robots and sumo outfits. Everyone else in kimonos and karate uniforms — although it wouldn’t kill the host to dress as the Iron Chef.
On the menu:
Sushi, shark fin soup, miso soup, teriyaki chicken, green tea and sake. Or, make life simple and order takeout.
On the hi-fi:
Mr. Roboto by Styx, Sukiyaki by Kyu Sakamoto, Turning Japanese by the Vapors, anything by Seagull Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her (yes, that was an actual Japanese band), Tokyo Nights by the Bee Gees, Somewhere Near Japan by the Beach Boys.
Short of remaking You Only Live Twice, nothing says “celebrate Japan” like an actual trip to the Asian nation. With its neon lights, imitation geishas and indoor downhill skiing, it’s as foreign as you’d expect with none of the bitter aftertaste South Korea leaves you with. Hit Tokyo and visit the Sensoji Temple or the famous Akasaka or Roppongi districts filled with nightclubs.