For Survivor Japan, the writers and I decided that we wouldn't work on the same chapter at once. Instead, we would work on own chapter, i.e. I have Part One, SF has Part Two, and so on. Anyway, here is the first installment of Survivor: Japan! (Which yours truly has written ) Enjoy...
Survivor Japan: Episode One
Even before the game had begun, the contestants had formed first impressions of each other. This is always true in a game where someone is voted off every few days. First impressions always count. Or sometimes they don’t, but in most cases they do. Whatever the circumstances, first impressions in a game where players are voted off always count—at least for the first few days. Everyone knew this. Or everyone thought everyone else did. Either way, it didn’t matter that they thought. It’s what happens that counts.
However, in the case of this group of castaways, first impressions were everything. Everyone judged everyone else. Opinions were formed. Differences were made clear. But tension never showed on the surface.
The contestants were being transported to the place that would be their home for the next 39 days: a location in northwestern Japan known for its year-round tropical climate. Floating in a river near the locations for the two tribes were two rafts with maps and supplies. As opposed to leaping off of a boat to the rafts, the castaways would leap from low-flying helicopters and swim to the rafts. Who would be on which tribe would be unknown until the drop.
The players were not allowed to talk to each other, but there was no need to. Everyone was silently forming their opinions on their soon-to-be tribe-mates. A canister near the helicopter door contained buffs corresponding to the raft they would be swimming toward.
Jeff Probst went over the rules and tribe colors. Purple would be Chuzenji and orange would be Nantai. He called out, “The game begins…now!”
After a minute with no movement, Diane decided to take the lead, pulling a purple buff out of the canister. When she looked down at the rafts from the door of the helicopter, she froze. Noticing this, Khan grabbed from the canister another buff, which was also purple, and pushed Diane down. A few seconds later, he dove down as well.
Another minute later, everyone was in the water. Some were struggling to get to the raft, while others were already pushing the raft away with ease. Stacie, who didn’t know how to swim, floundered in the water until Erik Monteguiel, one of the two Eriks in her tribe, helped her get to the raft.
For the location of the tribes, Nantai would be further upstream on the river, while Chuzenji would be further downstream. A clear advantage for Chuzenji, they reached their camp in less than half of an hour, despite the rather inefficient way they chose to propel their raft. Nantai was not so lucky, reaching their camp almost an hour after the drop.
Giovanna, who was at 45 years old the oldest person on Chuzenji, took command of the tribe, setting them to work immediately after landing. A fire was lit, and everyone began working on building shelter. Khan called a meeting of the tribe to discuss jobs. “We can’t have everyone chopping trees down. We won’t get anything down. I say that some of us be builders and the others be choppers.”
Fred, who was an actor, immediately volunteered to be a builder. So did Diane and Victor. No one else had a problem with being choppers, so everyone went back to work.
Diane referred to the shelter as a “hairdo.” “Everything must be in place, or else it’s not right. It’s the same with a hairdo. If something isn’t in the right place, then it won’t work out. It won’t be perfect.”
Day Two began as eventfully as Day One ended. Shelters were to be completed. Food was needed. And most importantly, first impressions would be proved. One day had passed. That was enough time to ignore first impressions for the sake of “it’s only the beginning” and focus on what was more important: this was a social game, and nothing was more important in a social game is how it’s played. Everyone knew this, even the ones who said that their outlook on the game was that “I’m only here to have fun.” People like to believe that something is true even when they know it isn’t. They say that believing in something that isn’t true makes it true. Or it makes the believer think that it was true, even though they’re original view was that it isn’t.
Erik Wiser, the other Erik on Nantai, made it his job to be the tribe’s provider. It was common knowledge that a successful provider would be kept until the merge. Erik W had never fished before, but he knew to give it a try. His philosophy was “Try and try again, and if it doesn’t work, try some more.” He knew that there weren’t many people who could live up to that testament, however many who said they could. And so he tried to fish. He tried over and over again.
But however as horrible a fisherman he was, Erik proved his worth in building shelter. He helped the group build a truly great shelter, one raised high above the ground, complete with two fire shelters.
It was Erik M who gave Nantai fish. Because of the fish, it made the tribe appreciate him more than they would have. If Nantai had to vote someone off, Erik M would be safe. Food was important to Nantai, and they planned to keep it as long as they could afford to.
Every morning, a member of each tribe would check for “mail,” or notices of challenges that were to be held later in the day. “Mail” would be found in a large envelope, hidden under an even larger rock.
At the beginning of Day Three, both tribes received mail telling them that the first Immunity Challenge would be later that day. The challenge would be held in one of the many jungle clearings. The winning tribe would receive immunity, and all of the members of the tribe would be immune from being voted off until the next Immunity Challenge. At twilight, the losing tribe would go to Tribal Council, an area located deep in the forest, where one member would be voted off.
The tribes arrived at the challenge, Chuzenji before Nantai. The castaways seemed to be in good spirits, though to the tribe members, it was clear to each other that there was an underlying stream of stressed emotion. But to a spectator, it might have appeared that for now, tribe life was good.
The challenge was called “Build a Bridge.” Jeff, the host, went over the rules: the tribe members had to gather puzzle pieces located on blocks of wood. To navigate through the woodblocks, each person would have to use a long piece of wood to form a “bridge” between each block and walk across to get the piece. After retrieving a piece corresponding with their tribe color, the contestant would move the wood to another block and walk across, all the way back to the start. If anyone falls off, they have to put the piece back and start over. The first tribe to gather all 16 pieces and complete the puzzle would win.
They took their places. For Chuzenji, Britney would start. For Nantai, Lilly would start. Jeff gave the signal, and they began.
Lilly did surprisingly well. Britney was having trouble getting across the beam. At first, everyone was careful walking across. But as the challenge went on, care gave way to carelessness, and soon no one cared about falling. And so no one did. Nantai had an early lead, but lost it. Rissa took a bad fall, and kept falling, failing to retrieve any pieces.
Towards the end, the two tribes were dead even. Victor and Larissa ran the final leg for their tribe. Victor was struggling to keep exactly even with Larissa…until she dropped the beam when she was trying to place it. Unable to lift it back up without getting off the woodblock, Larissa might as well have had forfeited the challenge. Chuzenji won.
Jeff handed a small stone statuette in the shape of a Japanese god to Chuzenji. “The Immunity Idol,” he announced. To the members of Chuzenji, it was more than an idol. It was their life on the island.
DAY THREE: TRIBAL COUNCIL
As Nantai came back to camp, the reality of their going to Tribal Council began to sink in. The question on everyone’s mind was who to vote off. Would it be Lilly, the sweetheart who was never meant for this type of game? Would it be Larissa, who was pretending to be younger than she really was? Would it be Erik W, whose fishing skills were as good as none? Would it be Rissa, the talkative waitress?
Nothing was completely certain. Nantai had its weak links. The only thing that would be certain was who was definitely safe. Bradley was safe because he had done nothing to draw attention to him. Erik M was safe because he was the provider.
Jeff welcomed them into the Tribal Council area. “Fire represents life, and as long as you have fire, you are still in this game,” he said, directing each tribe member to light their torch and sit down.
The issue that was discussed at Tribal Council that left the strongest impression on Nantai was the issue of tribe dynamics. Was the tribe really getting along as well as they seemed? Who was the weakest link so far? Who has come out as a strong competitor?
According to the Nantai, those questions could not be answered. And they truly couldn’t be, for there was no weak link, there was no strong link. As for the question about whether or not the tribe was as agreeable as it seemed, the answer Lilly gave was “Well, there’s really no answer to that. We’re all getting along great, but you never know what the others think of you.”
Then the vote took place. One by one, the tribe members would go into a booth at the other end of the Tribal Council area and write the name of the person they were voting for on slips of paper. Explaining the reason for their vote to the camera was optional.
The vote was read, and it became apparent that there was indeed a weak link on the tribe. A unanimous vote made Lilly the first vote-off. Her torch was extinguished as Jeff said, “It’s time for you to go.”
After Lilly left the Tribal Council area, Jeff turned to the remaining seven members of the tribe and said in a solemn voice, “It’s become clear that there was a weak link in the tribe. It’s been the first three days. Think about what the others might think of you. You guys can head back to camp now.”
Nantai was in trouble. In the eyes of Rod Lexor, an electrician, the tribe was made up of complete misfits whereas Chuzenji was “that ultra-cool group of people you see against the misfits on the playground, and they totally fit in, and the others don’t.” Nantai was made up of a group of people with different personalities and conflicting goals. A social divide was forming, and the tribe was already separating, even after only 3 days. Rod didn’t like this. He decided that he would become the leader.
~written by haej
SF will bring us Episode 2 next.