Thursday, August 13, 2009

Held for Ransom in Japan

Bing Has Made Friends in Japan

Bing has made new friends in Japan, but they want to keep him there. In fact, they have threatened to hold him for ransom unless his American friends and family do two things:

1. Answer questions about Japan/Nippon culture and cuisine.

2. Donate money to help his mother pay the plane fare for his trip.

It's tempting for a young man to stay in Japan, because so far he has found the food to be awesome and the shopping (even in vending machines) to be, let's say, "unique." In fact, the Japanese students think that if he stays long enough he could use his ninja powers to be Emperor someday. I don't think that this would be a good thing for world peace, as Bing has not worked out his "Megalomania" issues and bad things could happen.

So, here are the questions that they want you to answer:

1. In a Japanese restaurant which serves "family style" what is the polite way to move the food from your platter to the plate when dining with close friends?

a. Using your fingers after washing them in the finger bowl.
b. Using a scoop.
c. Using the back end of your chopsticks.
d. Using the front, sharp end of your chopsticks.

2. In a Japanese restaurant, how long are you going to wait for service from your server?

a. No wait. The server will be at your table immediately.
b. Five minutes, as the custom is to allow the patrons to settle before ordering.
c. No wait if you tip the host/hostess before seating.
d. Until you shout "Sumimasen!" moderately loud. Don't wait all night.

3. What is the customary tip for a meal in Japan?

a. Silly American. Don't tip!
b. 15% - it's the same everywhere.
c. A flat 500 yen, no matter the bill for the meal.
d. 25% - everything is more expensive in Japan.

4. The code of bushido of the Japanese samurai is most similar to:

a. Belief in reincarnation and karma by Hindus
b. Practice of chivalry by European Knights
c. Teachings of Jainism in India
d. The Theory of Natural Rights by the Enlightemnent philosophers

5. The name “Japan” is an exonym. Exonyms are place-names not used in the native language nor by the native people. The endonyms for Japan are “Nippon” (formal) or “Nihon” (informal.) The origin of the word “Japan” is traced back to Portuguese sailors who adapted it from the language of:
a. Vietnam
b. Korea
c. Malaysia
d. Hawai'i

6. A valid generalization about early Japanese culture is that Japan:
a. Had a strong influence on the culture of Korea
b. Spread Shinto throughout Asia
c. Maintained a unique culture while borrowing from other cultures
d. Imported nearly all of its cultural heritage from China, resulting in nearly identical cultures

7. The proper way to answer the telephone in Japan is "Moshi, moshi!" What does it mean?

a. I am not a fox so you know you didn't call the zoo.
b. "Say, say!"
c. "Hello! Hello!"
d. "Ring! Ring!"

8. Who was the first sitting U.S. President to visit Japan?

a. Gerald Ford.
b. Teddy Roosevelt.
c. Woodrow Wilson.
d. Dwight D. Eisenhower.

9. What is the largest of the islands that make up Japan?

a. Hokkaido
b. Kyushi
c. Honshu
d. Shikoku

10. What is the game that Japanese children play called "Kancho?"

a. They try to stick their fingers up your butt.
b. Nothing so gross. It's just "tag."
c. "Speed" haiku. The Japanese value teaching their kids literature.
d. Pin the tail on the monkey.

11. According to Nihonjinron, the Japanese are unique because:
a. They are taller on average than other Asians.
b. They evolved separately, from a superior genus of monkeys.
c. Earthquakes and volcanoes made them more resilient to natural disasters than other people.
d. They know how to train sea jellies.

12. What sandwich dressing/ingredient for salad dressing do the Japanese treat as if it was a meal in itself?

a. Vinegar.
b. Ketchup.
c. Mayonnaise.
d. Teriyake Sauce.

13. What percentage of the landscape of Japan is suitable for human habitation?

a. 18
b. 23
c. 10
d. 35

14. The world's longest underground rail tunnel links Hokkaido to Honshu. How long is it?

a. 54 km
b. 33 km
c. 104 km
d. 86 km

15. In World War 1, the Japanese:

a. Joined the Axis.
b. Joined the Allies.
c. Maintained a strict neutrality.
d. Considered it a European War.

Please provide your response in the comments. Once the donations have reached the ransom price, the answers will be published.

Thanks for playing!


  1. Answer to question 10 is actually A, as weird as it sounds... they steeple two hands together and try to jam both forefingers into your anus through the cloth. It's not viewed as sexual harassment, but as a childish prank. And strangely enough, there's even a video game about anally probing people like ex girlfriends, your boss, or other people that annoy you.

    Is it scary that I know this?

  2. In response to Jason's comment, all I can say is:


  3. Just guessing, of course, but:

    1.d, 2.b, 3.No idea, 4.b, 5.b, 6.c, 7.Huh? 8.Not the foggiest clue, 9.b or c, probably c, 10.a if Naruto manga is at all accurate, otherwise, 'you gotta to be kidding me', 11.Wha? 12.No idea, 13.c, 14.Will have to look it up, 15.b (absolutely sure about this one)

  4. Good guesses so far. When ransom is reached answers will be revealed.

  5. 1c,2d,3a,4b,5b,6d,7b,8c,9c,10a,11c,12b,13a,14d,15a

  6. 1a,2d,3a,4a,5c,6b,7b,8c,9b,10b,11b,12a,13a,14d,15c

  7. 1. D
    2. D
    3. A
    4. D
    5. B
    6. C
    7. B
    8. A
    9. C
    10. A
    11. B
    12. C
    13. B
    14. D
    15. D

    I know I got a few wrong. I was curious about some, so I looked them up. The ones I got wrong, I have kept as wrong answers.

  8. Thanks for not spilling any beans. Still a few more dollars to go and thanks to everyone who has been generous so far.