As the Race headed to Tokyo, best friends Zev & Justin won a second leg in a row and a car accident almost knocked Jaime & Cara out of the race. However, in frigid temperatures, a down and dirty Detour got the best of father and son Mel & Mike.
A BIG DECISION
After checking into the Pit Stop at Broken Hill, the ten remaining teams embarked on an overnight train ride through the desert back to Sydney. Departing in first place from the train station at 11:57am, best friends Zev & Justin ripped open their clue sending them nearly 5,000 miles to Tokyo, Japan. When they landed they had to make their way to a nearby rotating parking garage to find their next clue.
Between various travel agencies and the airport, the ten teams all researched flights to Tokyo and came up with two possible routes: a direct Qantas flight landing at 6:15am or a Cathay Pacific flight landing 15 minutes earlier with a connection in Hong Kong. The pros and cons of the competing itineraries were crystal clear to all the teams. While the Cathay Pacific flight would give them a potential 15-minute advantage, it came with the potential risk of their connecting flight being delayed and putting them behind. After discovering that the connection was a comfortable three hours in Hong Kong, Mike urged his hesitant dad to agree to buy tickets on the Cathay Pacific flight, saying, "We need every minute." Mel & Mike decided to take the chance on the earlier flight along with mother and son Margie & Luke, former NFL cheerleaders Jaime & Cara, and dating Goths Kent & Vyxsin. After getting the tickets Margie said, "Makes me nervous taking a connecting flight, but 15 minutes…"
At the airport, Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy and best friends Zev & Justin worked together uncovering the two flights and deliberated over which one to take. On the earlier Cathay Pacific flight, Big Easy warned, "We could be delayed an hour." Referencing the sick passenger from the flight to Sydney, a confident Justin replied, "It's not going to happen again." The two teams decided to walk to the Cathay Pacific offices and discovered only two seats remained on the flight. Referring to Justin helping the Globetrotters at the Roadblock in Sydney, Big Easy instantly conceded the tickets to Zev & Justin, saying, "We owe you all one, remember?" Flight Time later said, "I didn't really like the connection anyway." The Globetrotters joined Gary & Mallory, Kisha & Jen, Jet & Cord, and Ron & Christina on the direct Qantas flight landing at 6:15am.
At Hong Kong International Airport, the five teams who took a chance on the earlier Cathay Pacific flight had their worst fears realized as they waited on the tarmac for their plane to take off. After a voice came over the intercom to announce a delay due to an engine problem, Mike told his dad, "We're not having good luck with planes so far." With the plane still not cleared for take off over an hour later, the five teams realized they would now probably be squaring off against each other to avoid being eliminated.
THE RACE IS ON
Landing in Tokyo, Japan at 6:15am, the five teams on the Qantas flight ran out of the airport and opened their next clue at the rotating parking garage instructing them to drive to the city of Kamakura. Once there, they had to find Tsurugaoka Hachimangu and go to the Yabusame Dojo where they would find their next clue. To get their cars, the teams asked the parking attendants who simply pushed a button and cars rotated through until it stopped on one for each team. Making the comparison to a vending machine, Mallory joked, "Are there chips in there too?" Cord added, "I thought I was getting a soda pop out of it."
As the five lead teams began the drive to Kamakura, teams on the Cathay Pacific flight landed at 7:20am, almost 90 minutes later than their scheduled arrival time. The tension and stress of the delayed flight began to affect some of the teams at the rotating parking garage. Kent & Vyxsin tried to maneuver their car around Jaime & Cara's so the dating Goths could follow Mel & Mike who had a map. When Kent couldn't move, Vyxsin snapped about the redheads, "Bitches. Those girls are driving me nuts today."
BECOMING A WARRIOR
Arriving at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in first place, father and daughter Ron & Christina opened their clue to find a Roadblock. In it, one team member had to dress as a samurai and learn the proper Yabusame ritual and techniques for shooting a bow and arrow from on top a wooden horse. First, teams had to observe an ongoing demonstration and learn a ritual. Then, they had to perform the ritual in front of a master. Once they had performed the ritual correctly, teams would then be spun on the wooden horse as they attempted to hit a target with their bow and arrow. When their arrow hit the target, teams would receive their next clue.
Ron walked into the serene and quiet room where the Yabusame masters demonstrated the intricate and precise ritual of samurai warriors. As Ron put on his colorful silk robe, hat, and black cloth shoes, he said, "This requires precision and I don't have the best eye sight." With Jen, Gary, and Flight Time joining Ron in the training room, all four racers tried to copy the techniques of bowing and holding the bow with no success. Ron later said, "The judges were very strict. It was very frustrating."
After breaking away from the pack of teams from the Cathay Pacific flight trying to navigate together, best friends Zev & Justin arrived at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in fifth place having passed the lost cowboys Jet & Cord. Walking into the training area, Justin said, "Feeling pretty good. We're happy to see that some teams aren't here. We thought we were way behind." Justin quickly picked up the ritual that began with a stretch, then proceeded to bow and arrow practice on the floor before finally mounting the wooden horse to shoot a real arrow. His arrow hit the target and confetti came flying out as he earned his clue in second place behind Jen who also had a keen eye for detail to master the ritual quickly. Both teams ripped open their clue instructing them to drive to Minamiashigara area and find the Kintaro statue near the Daiyuzan Railway Station.
Alone in last place after the pack of teams they were traveling with abandoned them, former NFL cheerleaders Jaime & Cara circled around Tokyo trying to figure out how to find Kamakura. Sitting in the backseat, Cara warned Jaime, who was not used to driving on the left hand side of the road, that she was driving too far to the left and worried that she would hit a parked car. Right after Cara's warning, a loud crash was heard as Jaime clipped a car and quickly pulled over to see what damage she had inflicted. Jaime & Cara soon found out that Jaime took out a man's side view mirror. Jaime offered money to fix the mirror, but the man insisted on handling the accident officially by calling the police. Jaime later complained, "I think he made it a lot more dramatic than it needed to be when it was literally just a mirror." The time spent between waiting for the police to arrive, and then, once officers did show up to sort everything out, put Jaime & Cara way behind squarely in last place.
When Jaime and & Cara finally arrived at Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, they were excited to still see Mel & Mike, Margie & Luke, Kent & Vyxsin and Jet & Cord there. However, their excitement was incredibly short lived as Mike, Kent, Cord, and Luke all hit their targets soon after Jaime entered the training area. Once she was all alone Jaime struggled to master the intricate steps of the ritual. Eventually she made it onto the wooden horse, but then she misfired when she aimed at the target and let out a frustrated laugh. After finally hitting the target, Jaime said, "Hopefully a comeback in the making."
DOWN AND DIRTY
Arriving at the Kintaro statue together in first place, best friends Zev & Justin and father and daughter Gary & Mallory ripped open their clue to find a Detour having the choice of Prayer of Purity or Frog of Luck. In Prayer of Purity, teams had to take part in a Shinto religious cleansing ritual. First, they had to put on traditional wardrobe and learn a prayer that is both vocal and physical. Then, teams had to stand under a cascading waterfall coming directly from the snows of Mt. Fuji. Teams had to stand under the 45ºF water for one minute to receive their next clue. In Frog of Luck, teams had to strip down to a bare minimum of clothing and enter an enormous mud pit. Then, as onlookers pelted them with mud, teams had to search for a buried frog, a symbol for luck in Japan.
Zev & Justin and Gary & Mallory went into changing tents located steps away from the massive mud put and emerged in what Justin referred to as a "diaper". Zev added, "It was like we were really skinny sumo wrestlers." The best friends and the father and daughter stepped into the watery mud and instantly were pelted with mud by the locals in the mud with them. Trying to block out the mud being thrown at them and the otherwise messy conditions, both teams sifted through the mire in search of a hidden frog. Justin found a frog first and screamed with joy as he ran out of the mud pit and exchanged it for the next clue. Opening it, he and Zev learned they needed to drive to the Pit Stop at Commodore Perrys Landing in Kurihama.
Stepping onto the mat in first place for a second consecutive leg, best friends Zev & Justin celebrated when they heard the won a trip for two from Travelocity to Costa Rica. Justin later said, "We're in it to win it this time." Father and daughter Gary & Mallory settled for second place.
PURE AND CLEAN
Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time & Big Easy and father and daughter Ron & Christina both chose Prayer of Purity and performed the ritual prayer nearly simultaneously although the Globetrotters held a slight lead. After chanting the prayer, lighting incense, and shouting another prayer, both teams stood under the intense waterfall summoning the physical and mental strength to endure the freezing cold water. The Globetrotters emerged from the water ahead of Ron & Christina and accidentally took the father and daughter's fanny pack when they gathered their belongings. Although the Globetrotters left Ron & Christina's fanny pack in the men's changing room, a frantic Ron & Christina had no idea where their pack disappeared to when they came out of the water. A confused Christina said, "It just doesn't make any sense." However, once Ron returned to the changing room, he spotted the fanny pack so he and Christina jumped into their car after wasting valuable time searching for the pack. At the Pit Stop, the Globetrotters were levied a 30-minute penalty for moving the fanny pack dropping them from third place to fifth while Ron & Christina jumped from fifth to third and sisters Kisha & Jen came in fourth after finding a frog.
A LOST CAUSE
Once night fell over Japan, the frigid temperatures made spending time in a pit of mud nearly unbearable. Kent & Vyxsin, Margie & Luke, and Mel & Mike all kept searching through the mud in hopes of staying ahead of the still last place Jaime & Cara who had only just arrived at the Kintaro statue. Margie later said, "The longer you were in, the colder it got." First Kent found a frog followed by Margie, leaving Mel & Mike alone as the cold weather began to take its toll on the father and son. Mike later said, "It just got really miserable out there. At some point it just felt like a lost cause." While Mel wanted to keep searching, Mike told his dad they needed to stop and head inside to warm up. Mel told his son, "I'd rather die here with you than home in bed." Eventually, Mike convinced his dad to hop in a nearby van, put a blanket on and try to warm up.
NEVER GIVE UP
As Mel & Mike sought warmth, a disappointed Jaime & Cara, believing they had no shot anymore, stepped into the mud pit and quickly found their frog. The former NFL cheerleaders didn't see Mel & Mike in the van, so they had no idea they just jumped up from last place. During their drive to the Pit Stop, the pair told themselves they were going to be eliminated. Standing in the pouring rain, Jaime & Cara were stunned when Phil delivered the news that they finished in ninth place.
Stepping onto the mat in last place, father and son Mel & Mike heard the dreaded words that they had been eliminated from the race. Mel said, "He [Mike] knew he was going to lose the race by calling me to get out [of the mud]. He cared more about me than the Race. And it felt good." Mike added, "My dad, he will never give up and that's why sometimes you have to give up for him."