Japan has a version of the popular quiz game, “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” they call “Quiz Millionaire.” It’s hosted by a guy named Mino Monta. The show runs more or less like its American/British/whatever counterpart, except that when Mino asks, “Final Answer?” and the contestant says, “yes,” he just stares at them for a good minute or so until finally yelling, “Sekai!” (correct!) or, “Zannen!” (Too bad!). I find it absolutely hilarious, because the contestants usually FREAK OUT while Mino’s staring them down. “What? Am I wrong? Eh? What? Unnnnhhh… SAY SOMETHING ALREADY!”
Quiz Millionaire seems to be pretty popular in Japan, or at least everyone is more or less familiar with it. I created a version to play with my students. I write the questions on poster board cards and give them answer cards to hold up for their Final Answer. I even created a CD with the game’s music tracks and gave out fake money for correct answers. The students always ask, “Is this real American money?!” despite the fact that it looks really fake, and I’m holding a FAT stack of it. They must really think I’m loaded to be gallivanting around with so much cash. The game is really a lot of fun, and sometimes I think I enjoy it more than my students do.
I played Quiz Millionaire with the English club at the School of Peace. The English Club is composed of 10 little girls who are unquestionably the Cutest Girls, Ever. Ultimate Sweetness is also a member of the English club, and while she is still the cutest thing who ever has or ever will exist in history, the other girls are not very far behind.
We got started, but then a butterfly with black wings and yellow stripes flew through the window. Butterflies are beautiful, right? Symbols of love and peace and all that? Little girls love butterflies, don’t they? That wasn’t the case for one of the girls, who FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. The butterfly wasn’t even near her, but she let out a scream that I can still hear when it’s quiet enough. I had to put the game on hold while she went into hysterics.
But, it’s just a butterfly, isn’t it?
The butterfly flew around near the ceiling, and in response she dropped down in her chair and put a towel over her head. I suppose maybe, given enough time, she might have settled down and we could have worked to shoo the butterfly out the window. Mr. Butterfly however, must have mistook her screams of fear and horror for shrieks of admiration, and thinking, “Hey, I gotta get me a better look at this,” flew directly in front of her.
There are simply no words in the English language that can adequately describe her reaction.
What I can tell you, is that in one motion, one of her erratic hand movements turned into a vicious backhand that KNOCKED MR. BUTTERFLY THE FUCK OUT. In more or less the same motion, she Japanesely teleported to the back of the room, where she fell onto her knees as a screaming, crying mess. Now, I know I shouldn’t have found this funny in the least bit. But it just was. I’m already going to hell (Snuzzlebunnes Incident) so I might as well enjoy the ride.
Mr. Butterfly, meanwhile, was lying lifeless on her desk. We all thought she killed it. She coulda dropped grown men with that backhand. One of the other girls tapped the desk though, and Mr. Butterfly groggily stirred a bit before collapsing on the desk again.
Discovery Gaijin Smash Presents: The Life of a Japanese Butterfly
Phase 1: Egg is laid by a female butterfly
Phase 2: Hatch into a larva/caterpillar
Phase 3: Eat a lot, grow bigger
Phase 4: Cocoon into a chrysalis, emerge as a beautiful butterfly
Phase 5: Get knocked the fuck out by a 13-year-old Japanese girl’s vicious backhand
Another girl retrieved a dustpan from the closet, scooped up the almost comatose Mr. Butterfly, and tossed him out the window. Mr. Butterfly suddenly came to (I guess he kinda had to, suddenly falling from the second floor of a Japanese school), and flew into a tree where he must have taken a moment to ponder the day’s events. Mike Tyson-chan composed herself and, with the butterfly far out of backhanding range, returned to her seat to resume the game.
A few rounds later, and it was Ultimate Sweetness’s turn in the hot chair. I held up the question, and she studied it very carefully, as if it’s rocket science. Her face even had this cute, scrunched-up CONCENTRATION! look which no words could ever do justice. Then, just as I said “Final Answer!” she held up her answer card. But she didn’t just hold up her answer card, no no no. She held it up, looked at me with big eyes, and gave me an Oliver Twist “Please Sir, may I have some more?” look that damn near killed me with its overwhelming adorableness. It’s almost like she’s was saying, “This is the right answer, isn’t it?” and I just want to tell her “yes,” no matter what she answered.
It was at this point that I realized that Ultimate Sweetness is absolutely broken. I mean, most girls have some sort of cute, puppy-dog-ish face they like to hit men with when they want something. But Ultimate Sweetness’s just… she wins, the end. Unfortunately, she held up the wrong answer, though. The question was, “What is Hideaki Matsui’s uniform number?” and I wanted to call Matsui himself and ask him to change his number just so she wouldn’t be wrong. How fucking broken is that? Her future husband, the poor guy has no chance whatsoever. She could be like, “Honey, I want a BMW, brand new, with a surround-sound CD system, a completely digital electronic readout, and the voice of Kit from Knight Rider …Please?” and all he can say to that is, “What color would you like?”
Luckily, Ultimate Sweetness is Ultimate Sweetness, so she’d never do that. She’d probably hit you with The Face™ just to ask you if she could cook your dinner for you– after she washed your car and before she draws a hot mineral water bath for you. I can only hope that her powers are always used for good. If someone were to harness this and use it for the forces of evil, we’d all be fucked six ways from Sunday.
On her next turn, she did get the next question right, and upon hearing me say “Sekai!” she let out a little “Kyaa!” scream while clenching her fists. When I went to give her her (fake) cash prize, she bowed very deeply and said in English, “Thank you very much!” I developed multiple cavities in just about every tooth I’ve got.
I love my job.