Get ready for a wild tour. You are entering a world of gladiatorial challenges, costumed comedians, humiliating failures, sexy ladies in wet T-shirts and some of the most bizarre obstacle courses a human mind could think up.
Welcome to the world of Japanese sports competition shows.
These shows fall into two categories: (1) batsu games and (2) true athletic games.
The batsu games are segments of variety shows. Sometimes the contestants are athletes, but often they are comedians, celebrities or everyday Joes. Competitors wear costumes and attempt silly athletic stunts. Some sort of humiliating punishment is doled out for failures: A mud bath, a cold water bath or perhaps a good old-fashioned smack to the testes.
The true athletic games are usually of the obstacle-course sort. Contestants are most commonly everyday Joes, but they are also occasionally professional athletes—even Olympic medalists. The winners become celebrities, just as with western reality television stars.
Get ready for some wincing, some cringing, some laughing and a whole mess of head-scratching "WTF"-ing.