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HELLO! Hello and many thanks to you for this, this show which is Nippon Game Show fun!

It is many congratulations to be of an American on Japanese Game Show and Survive! There is competing annoying, lobster-baked New Jersey Strumpet, funny slash sassy veterinarian lady, middle-age man who befriends Magic Climate Groundhog! And many more! Culture shock and smack upside American head by Mama-San, who instructs. We all make laugh and learn of new excitement!

Special starting gong to announcing fast train to FUN TIME!

Would you trust this man?

Did you make it through all of that without wanting to gouge a pair of chopsticks into your seizuring brain? If so, good news! The strange, strange world of Japanese game-shows has hit American shores in ABC’s I Survived a Japanese Gameshow. As the title implies, a band of ten unsuspecting continental saps are shipped to Tokyo and thrust into an utterly surreal world . . . television entertainment from the Far East.

In the "Moving Restaurant" challenge, contestants are unceremoniously dumped into a pit of flour like yesterday's seaweed wraps.

It’s hard not to laugh, shake your head, and pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming, as the contestants compete in wacky challenges announced by Rome Kanda, the cartoonlike host of Maji Deh, said game-show. The show was met with some degree of controversy, since the challenges usually involve some form of mild humiliation, such as dressing as a bug and splatting into an enormous “windshield” bulls-eye, and the first eliminated contestant was carried off the set by a hoard of feral Japanese businessmen in suits. However, I think it really is harmless fun—no sign of eels or tentacles so far—and watching the reactions of the contestants is glorious, fish-out-of-water hilarity. (There’s no escaping the seafood metaphors, is there?)

Death is everywhere . . . there are flies on the windscreen, for a start. However, the ultimate winner of the show brings home $250,000 to replace that hole in their dignity.

The contestants are divided into the traditional teams (The Yellow Penguins and The Green Monkeys), and, as usual, the winning team gets a treat for winning, while the losers get some form of punishment. Of course, some of the contestants are better sports than others, and I’m already cringing at what could possibly occur as they explore the off-set Japan. Thankfully, there is a deliciously domineering mother of the house, Mama-san, who will gladly and excessively lay down the law.

If it continues in this vein, I Survived a Japanese Gameshow looks as though it will provide a non-stereotyping look at Japan that will appeal to a greater audience than the obese, neck-bearded community college hambeasts who lurve anime, but it’s flamboyant and bizarre enough to place it just slightly out of the mainstream.

Minute late, Moshi Ball Short

Mantenna's Arbitrary Rating: 4.6 out of 5 cucumber sandwich boxes.

Tuesdays 9:00 P.M. on ABC