Sunday, January 31, 2010
Could you survive entirely off winning contests?
A comedian nicknamed Nasubi (translates to "eggplant" in English) shot to fame on a Japanese reality show in the late 1990s by surviving off contests. He was locked in a bare apartment without food, clothing or toilet paper. He was given stacks of magazines and postcards, a radio and a telephone and forced to start winning for his supper. He could only stop once he reached one million Yen (roughly US$10,000).
Torture? Inspired television? Probably both.
So how did Mr Eggplant go?
It took him a couple of weeks to win his first prize, some jelly, his first food since his imprisonment. After another two weeks, he won rice, but still had no utensils. Various other foodstuffs followed (including pickled eggplant, his namesake!), although at one point he was reduced to eating dog food. Poor fellow.
The only clothes he scored were women's underwear, which didn't fit, however he gradually amassed other useful and not-so-useful items: two vacuums, a TV (but no antenna), bicycle, dental care products, set of tyres, tent, shoes, stuffed animals and much more. After almost 12 months, he'd finally met his 1 million Yen quota, but was shipped off to Korea for a further 3-month stint until he earned his plane ticket home.
For a more detailed recount of Nasubi's experience, visit Syberpunk. You'll be pleased to know it all ended happily for Nasubi -- he now tours with his own acting troupe, "Eggplant Way". I hope he thinks his win-carceration was worth it!
The moral of the story: surviving off contests is possible, but not pleasant. Don't try this at home, folks!