The host calls the studio to order in accented English, "Are you ready to play the Sushi Roulette?" Goofy Japanese TV-type graphics, including the letters "SUSHI ROULETTE" spin up on the screen as everyone -- racers, spectators, hostesses, crew members for all we know -- cheers in the affirmative. Phil informs us, "The Japanese are well known for their wild and outrageous game shows." But this isn't going to be anything like those. "In our version, teams must complete a Road Block where one person competes in a gut-busting game of..." Suddenly the host appears at Phil's elbow and bellows, "...Sushi Rouletto!" "Sushi Roulette," Phil agrees, seeing the host's excited finger-wagging and raising it with an eyebrow-pop of his own. As the racers arrange themselves in position around the wheel, Phil says the host will spin the wheel, which holds nine sushi rolls and two wasabi bombs. "Wasabi is an extremely hot spice that is Japan's version of scorching horseradish," Phil explains for the benefit of any viewers whose knowledge of Asian cuisine extends no further than fortune-cookies. We see sped-up footage of a wasabi bomb being assembled, with a big dollop of the light-green paste wrapped in not nearly enough rice and a much-too-large seaweed wrap, then covered with another thick layer of the stuff on the open end. I wouldn't want to eat one; rice and seaweed notwithstanding, it's probably like filling your mouth with spackle made of antimatter. Phil says the payers will all have eat whatever stops in front of them, but they don't get to move on until they get a wasabi bomb, which they'll have to suck down in two minutes. Well, if nothing else, half the racers will be finishing the leg with very clear sinuses.
The game begins, complete with the letters "Start Game" bouncing around on the screen and a guy saying them in a falsetto voice. The host gives the wheel its first spin. While it turns, Brian re-explains the rules in an interview, and Ericka says, "He doesn't eat sushi." Yeah, that would be another problem for me. As the wheel coasts to a stop, the host leads the crowd in a chant of "Taberu! Wasabi!" Which of course means "Eat Wasabi." The first two wasabi bombs land in front of Ron and Cheyne, and goofy graphics and narration clarify this further. As Cheyne starts eating, we see an interview of him saying he wasn't' scared of the wasabi bomb until he was looking down the barrel of the thing. Remember the giant doomsday weapon on that old Star Trek episode, the one shaped like a cone with a gaping maw of death? That's what a wasabi bomb looks like, though on a somewhat smaller scale. "Everybody else must eat their sushi!" the host cries as Ron and Cheyne get eating. So not only do the other racers have to wait to get their torture-snacks, they're going to have to eat them when they're not as hungry. "This Japanese wasabi very strong. Can you eat it?" the host finger-waggles at Ron. Ron responds by turning away to cough some out, accompanied by a graphic of a crocodile tearfully breathing fire. He keeps at it, though, and finishes choking it down just a second after Cheyne does. "Okay! Okay!" the host tells them with the kind of enthusiasm that only people in Asian nations use to say "Okay!" They each get a clue and a colored flag from one of the hostesses. Phil tells us what's next, which also tells us why everyone's wearing visors: "Teams must now match a colored flag with the same-colored visors of twenty Japanese tourists from the studio audience and lead them through the infamously overcrowded Shibuya Scramble crossing. A million people pass though this chaotic intersection every day." One million, two hundred and forty-two today (1,000,264 with camera and sound crew). If you've ever seen footage of the crowded streets of Tokyo choked with pedestrians, it was probably of this spot, which is basically Times Square plus Piccadilly Circus plus M.C. Escher. I'm just disappointed to learn that not all Tokyo intersections are like this. From there they have to make it to Konno Hachimangu Shrine, a Shinto shrine that is this leg's Pit Stop. Already? This is a pretty short leg for a two-hour episode.