Amazing Race China 2 (2015): Istanbul, Turkey.

From riches to rags.

Sura Hagia Sophia Hotel

Teams (while eating breakfast): God…being in this show is great. Traveling around the world, eating nice food, sleep in hotels, and the only thing we have to do is being filmed and do various stuffs.

Producer: Welcome to Istanbul, the place where the empires from Rome, Byzantium to Ottomans are managed, religions from Christianity, Orthodox to Islam. Where even Napoleon Bonoparte considers this as the capital of the world. And right here, we are so blessed to be racing in this country full of histories.

Teams: …(Standing still for a moment, and then clapped as loud as the could).

Producer: Today, we are going to have a theme in this country, 流浪 24, a vagrant for 24 hours, which means all your money belongs to us. And aside for 1 task, you will be penalized for begging money, this is absolute.

Teams: Gasp! What about our suitcases, food, and all the history that you all have narrate to us?

Producer: You all have to race until you board the next country. Team Super!, here’s the first clue.

Team SUPER!: [ZhiWei] Chomp!

Route Info (Haseki Hürrem Sultan Hamamı)

Morning shower, soap each other skins into finding a picture to a location where they must walk (since they don’t have money), breaking the soap is disallowed.

M: It’s a okay task that show the Turkish culture.

After Team Chopsticks & Team Happy Junior decided to beg for money and took themselves in a cab to Galata Tower…

Producers: 15 minutes penalty for each of you, roughly the same time where teams decided to tire themselves by walking there. And take some bottled water while you wait.

Detour (İstiklal Avenue)

This only task where teams can get allowance, by keeping the surplus teams earned

Craft: Earn 40 Turkish lira by shining only leather shoes, where each shoes shined is worth 4 lira. (Skill)

Arts: Earn 40 Turkish lira in coinage by performing with using 1 of the 5 equipments: sword, Chinese dancing cloth, guitar, clown costume and balloons and Turkish musical equipment. (Skill)

M: This task makes me feel bad for the teams (Being seen as an impostor despite the camera crew and a husband, shining shoes where Turkish people actually didn’t pay despite being on TV, wearing a clown costume in general), so…good job producers?

Note: Sure, Turkey is not a Chinese speaking community, but why the heck you want to shine leather shoes in the summer before realizing that you can belt your way to the top.

QianHua: (to ZiGao after they finish the Detour): Gosh, why do you have to be so rash about getting first? Now we have a budget less than a backpacker would ever allow himself into.

ZiGao: Sigh…she’s loves to yell a lot.

Later at the Roadblock,

QianHua: Wah….I’m scared of heights!

ZiGao: Sigh…now she’s gone soft.

Roadblock (Rumelihisarı)

The one who take the Roadblock must climb up 33 meters of rope ladder to hit the gold before 5 minutes. If not, the one who don’t take the Roadblock, who had to involuntarily rappel down to a tub of dirty water, and splash into it if 5 minutes are up. (Physical+Guts)

M: Sure, the penalty is really lax, but seeing 4 out of 5 teams taking the penalty shows that it has a really unforgiving time limit. Even if you have wings.

Route Info (Hasanpasa Bakery)

Deliver 3 orders of simits to vendors, by stacking 100 simits to their head. Restart if 1 simit falls off, proceed when the orders are proofed, and drive a rental Infiniti to the Pitstop. (Physical)

M: Another fine task, and having to self drive after being utterly frazzled by the sudden difficulty of the leg, yikes and yum.

Pitstop (Ortaköy Plaza)

Prize: An intelligent water filter and travel vouchers worth CN¥50,000 both sponsored by RRS Electronics.

Allan Wu: BTW, after you have taken your ice-cream Turkish style. You must chose between 5 locals and stay the night at their house. First come, first serve.

(After everybody accommodate themselves in their temporary home…)

Team SUPER!: (BaoYi looking at her father) I have never seen him that tired, me as well…I think we have to take a penalty for making us sleep in a hotel.

* BTW, after the last season insane 20 week development and filming, this time teams are now racing in a more consecutive way, the filming starts at 2nd of June, and the broadcast starts at 10th of July, so the race, is still not over yet.

* I share the teams’ sentiment where the race suddenly gave them a huge difficulty. But at least this leg finally gave the difficulty that the season claims to provide, way better than the last 2 legs combined.

* Kinda weird that why do the editors first select the scene where teams accommodate in their now homes (or store, in Team Singers case), and Team SUPER! having to take a penalty with ZhiWei sleeping in the hotel room.

* Average penalty teams received in 3 legs with 6 teams at the start, 2.33, probably because the time penalty being so lax (currently, the longest being an hour, and the shortest being 15 minutes), that all the time penalty teams taken (9) in just 3 legs is only 30 minutes longer than a regular Roadblock penalty (4 hours). And seeing Team Super! at the end, it will probably become 4/4.

Granted, the 1st season also had a bad track record in penalties, with 8/11 legs.

* Why do you need the Turkish ice cream vendor when you simply cut his scenes short, in a documentic Amazing Race series no less.

* Team Placement and average placement

Team Married-1.33

Team Happy Junior-2.67

Team SUPER!-2.67

Team Chopsticks-4.67

Team Singers-4.67

That’s an awful gap between 1st and 2nd, & 3rd and 5th.

* Currently, 3 of the 5 teams (Married, Happy Junior, Chopsticks) only have 1 team member do all the Roadblocks, which is not a good strategy for flexibility.

Update: For people that lives in Turkey, sorry for the initial mismatch between country and province.

And thanks for the unexpected popularity in this post, everybody and especially for Logan Saunders, blogger for TAR historian/supacoowacky.

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Movie (or Arcade) Thoughts: Wangan Midnight

Well where should I start, in arcades?

Okay, in my childhood days where my family and I went to malls, my first priority is usually the arcades (which I still was, but now my love is transferred to books).

The days of the arcade where these games usually reign supreme-Dance Dance Revolution, Initial D, Ghost Squad, Mushi King, Dinosaur King, Love & Berry, Taiko Drum Master and so on.

Note: I mostly play rhythm and occasionally the Mushi King types, so I can’t speak to everybody.

Now those arcade has been replaced by new arcades, like Animal Kaiser, Mai Mai, those shooters that you have unliminted ammo fighting spiders, sea cucumbers & skeletons, and of course, Wangan Midnight, now tuned in 5 (though I have never seen 4 though, maybe 3DX replaced it?)

At first, I just wanna find a YouTube video about the game itself, but since I stumbled upon this movie, produced by Geneon Universal Entertainment in 2009, so I watch it and decided that I will talk about it.

Continue reading

Amazing Race China 2: Cast

Opps, I’m now late for the party.

But anyway (putting the Martha Stewart Apprentice on hold…), this is the cast of Amazing Race China 2.

First, here are the teams from left to right, and their popularity according to my limited viewpoint (mostly, if you are a celebrity from mainland China, or an athlete, I don’t know you, sorry).

Xiao Yang & Wang TaiLi (Team Chopsticks)- 

Known online as Chopstick Brothers in 2010 for producing the viral video “Old Boys

-They celebrated TaiLi birthday (which I know because Yang mentioned his name, and then I will forget it later on)

M: Nope, even though you guys are more focused on the Internet.

Deng ZiQi [G.E.M] & Zhang YunJing (Team Singers)-

Singers from Hong Kong and Taiwan respectively, YunJing is best known for winning the first season of Super Idol, and G.E.M (for Get Everybody Moving)…she has a high vocal range, and made it far for a Chinese born singer..

-They will call themselves Team Amazing (Sorry, their introduction segment is quite short)

M: Definitely, despite the fact that I rarely listen to their songs.

P.S: Will refer ZiQi as G.E.M from now on, since it’s her stage name.

Zeng ZhiWei & Zeng BaoYi (Team SUPER!)-

ZhiWei…he’s quite a legend in the Hong Kong industry best known for being the Prize Master (since he’s usually the Masters of Ceremonies, MC in Hong Kong television network, TVB events) and a host of Prize Master (which is nostalgic as a child watching their shows). BaoYi, or sometimes Bowie is a celebrity that is more focused in Taiwan

-They are obsessed with camo.

M: Really impressive, for both Zheng ZhiWei (he’s the oldest) and the producers (maybe they got Yelin to tell him that it is a great experience to bond with a daughter?). (Like Alexis Stewart) Kinda feel sorry for BaoYi though, it’s hard to get noticed with a father that famous. Heck, I will recognize Bowie’s mother (ZhiWei’s ex-wife, who Taiwan refers to as BaoMa) faster than her.

Yang QianHua & Ding ZhiGao (Team Married)-

QianHua is a really well known singer & actress in Hong Kong. Zhi Gao is a civilian.

-Both has differing viewpoints in racing, Qian Hua is seen to be the more domineering one (since she’s the one that has been on TV)

M: Amazing Race China, I salute you for bringing celebrities that people in Chinese speaking community recognize. Yang QianHua?!

Hang Geng & WeXin (Team Happy Junior)

Hang Geng best known as in a South Korean boyband Super Junior, and later Super Junior-M.  WeXin is known for co-hosting Happy Camp.

-WeXin need to finish her schedule before she will finally come to the airport.

M: “Sorry Sorry” hand washing dance anyone? And I watch We Xin’s Happy Camp in my childhood days.

Feng Zhe & Zhu Zhu (Team Dating Despite Already Referring Each Other As Husband And Wife)

Feng Zhe is known as an Olympian that specializes in parallel bars. ZhuZhu is a civilian

-They think that they have the advantage in eating challenges.

M: Olympics is not my focus area.

So that was it, the quality over quantity cast of Amazing Race China 2, and as a final note, here are two songs produced by the 2 contestants as a start for you to know them.