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Japan Hour

BINGO Theme: Local Bus Trip In Hakone - Part 2

The two-day bingo battle in Hakone reaches its thrilling climax, with Team Tagawa and Team Takashima in a neck-and-neck race to complete missions and take over strategic squares on the bingo card.

The bingo race between Team Tagawa and Team Takashima in Hakone continues. Each square on the bingo card has a catchphrase written on it. The teams must use the clue to guess tourist attractions or speciality foods that are popular in Hakone and complete a related mission to mark that square. They can also use a special card once on the second day to take one of the opponent team’s squares. 

Team Tagawa is currently leading, with six squares marked on the bingo card. They are on their way to the information centre in Sengokuhara when they are informed that Team Takashima has captured yet another square in Ashinoko. They enquire about the clue “Hakone Tozan Bus’ prince”. They are told this refers to Keisuke Imamura who drives the Odawara-bound bus. Team Tagawa plans to meet this “bus prince” on the 9.15am bus on the following day. 

Team Takashima, meanwhile, is looking for the “edible Dragon Ball”. They find out it can be found at Ryujin no Tama, which opened in May 2021. It sells a new type of sweet made from Hakone spring water and refined sugar. The team marks another square after trying the Dragon Ball and completing the mission. Both teams are now tied, with six squares each. 

On the second day, Team Takashima will first head to the “shrine in the sky” again to complete the mission they could not do the previous day. They must take a sightseeing boat to Hakone-en, where the ropeway is located.

Team Tagawa starts the second day by enquiring about two clues first - "drinkable serum located along the old highway" and “Hollywood burger in Gora”. For the first clue, they are told they can take a bus from Motohakone Port to the old highway and alight at Amazake Chaya. As for the other clue, it can be found at Box Burger at Myojin Daira. After gathering this information, Team Tagawa boards the Odawara-bound bus at 9.15am to meet Mr Imamura, Hakone's bus prince. He has an excellent reputation for customer service and often receives compliments from passengers. His co-workers started calling him the bus prince and he has also been featured on the company's PR poster. After completing this mission, they take a bus heading towards Gora but decide to alight at a bus stop near Miyagino Office to check out Box Burger which sells the “Hollywood burger”. It is run by Ms Takeuchi, who is said to be a lookalike of Hikari Mitsushima. For the mission, each team member has to finish a giant burger with patties made with branded beef. Team Tagawa successfully completes the task and captures another square. 

Team Takashima is on the way to the “shrine in the sky” by ropeway. They plan to go to Gora next. They find out that they can later take the 11am bus, alight at a bus stop called Souzan-eki Iriguchi and then take the cable car to Gora. On the way to the shrine, the team is informed of Team Tagawa getting more squares. Team Takashima reaches Hakone Mototsumiya, located on the summit of Mt Komagatake. After completing their mission of praying through a door which only opens a few times a month, they take the ropeway and catch the 11am bus to Gora, which is an hour away.

Team Tagawa must wait for half an hour to take the 11.40am bus to the old highway, where the “drinkable serum” can be found. In the meantime, they visit the information centre to ask about two other clues - “the only two trophies in the world” and “waterfalls with dragons flying”. They find out they can alight at the Hatajuku bus stop, which is near the “trophies” and the Hiryu Falls.

Team Takashima is on their way to Gora by cable car. They plan to get the square related to a “healthy cutlet” place, use their special card to take the “bus prince” square from Team Tagawa and then head to Owakudani to complete the mission associated with the "ramen from hell". So they head to a popular cutlet restaurant called Tamura Ginkatsutei.

In the meantime, Team Tagawa goes to Amazake Chaya to try the “drinkable serum”. Each team member has to drink a glass of amazake. Because of its high content of vitamins, amino acids and glucose, it is often praised as a “drinkable serum”. The team completes the mission and gets another square. 

Team Takashima reaches the cutlet restaurant and the mission is to eat its simmered tofu cutlet. However, there are more than 20 people queueing up. They cannot afford to waste time so ask if the restaurant allows takeaways. They are relieved when they are told there is a store next to the restaurant which does takeaways. The team manages to get three cutlets. Minced pork seasoned with ginger is sandwiched between layers of special tofu covered in coarse homemade breadcrumbs and deep-fried. The tofu cutlet is then simmered with green onion and egg. It has been a popular dish in Gora for 25 years. After completing the mission, Team Takashima uses their special card to take the opponent team’s “Hakone bus prince” square. From Gora, the team heads to Owakudani, 20 minutes away.

Team Tagawa gets the news that the other team has taken their square with the special card. So they decide to complete the “trophy” mission and then use their special card to recapture their “Hakone bus prince” square from Team Takashima. Team Tagawa manages to find the place with the two unique trophies which cannot be found anywhere else. Kanazashi Woodcraft makes two trophies every year for the winner of the Hakone Ekiden marathon relay race. The trophies are inspired by events of the previous year and Team Tagawa must correctly guess the events. They manage to identify the events and get to mark another square. Now, they can use their special card and reclaim their “Hakone bus prince” square from the opponent team. They then head to Ohiradai to pursue the clue linked to an “arcade on the brink of extinction”. 

In the meantime, Team Takashima arrives at Owakudani and looks for the ramen place. They are also informed of Team Tagawa completing the “trophy” mission and using the special card to take back the “Hakone bus prince” square from them. Team Takashima manages to eat the extremely spicy Akaike Jigoku black ramen in Owakudani and completes the mission. They too head to the arcade at Ohiradai. It is now a close race between the two teams.

Team Tagawa arrives at Ohiradai first and completes the mission at the arcade’s shooting gallery. They then rush to Hiryu Falls at Ashinoyu - “the waterfalls with dragons flying”. 

Team Takashima is on their way to the arcade when they get to know about Team Tagawa getting the arcade square. So they too quickly head to Ashinoyu by transferring buses at Kowaki-en.

Team Tagawa takes the 2.05pm bus heading towards Motohakone, while Team Takashima arrives at Kowaki-en at 2.30pm and takes the bus to Yusakamichi Iriguchi a few minutes later.

Team Tagawa reaches the waterfalls first and successfully completes the mission there and finally gets a bingo! With this, they are declared the winner of this two-day bingo race in Hakone. 

1)    Try Amazake Chaya’s traditional fermented rice drink which is rich in vitamins 
2)    Be prepared to take a queue number if you want to eat at the popular cutlet restaurant Tamura Ginkatsutei

Source: CNA


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