Couples at Yokota face 'Fear Factor"
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — That Friday night Halloween party in the Yokota Officers’ Club almost came back to haunt Bobby Myers on Saturday.
But Myers, a major with U.S. Forces Japan, managed to get down a ghastly combination including grasshoppers, octopus and stinky Kusaia fish. Then he and wife Gina matched eight of nine questions in a “How Well Do You Know Me?” therapeutic round — think “Newlywed Game” — to win the second annual “Yokota Couples Fear Factor” at the base natatorium.
“We went to the club last night drinking beers at the Halloween party,” Myers said afterward. “We dressed up like Sonny and Cher. I’ve still got a little makeup on.”
Of Saturday’s contest, he said, “The food was definitely the worst part. Our stomachs are still turning a bit.”
The Myers, married for 19 years, call themselves “huge Fear Factor fans.” On Saturday, they beat seven other couples to earn the grand prize: a weekend stay at the New Sanno Hotel in Tokyo and a new set of luggage.
John and Lara Kerr finished second and won a Tokyo waterfront cruise, while Matt and Zina Scott took third and went home with a new DVD player.
“Yokota Couples Fear Factor” is hosted by Family Advocacy. Organizers dubbed this year’s event “If You’re Scared, Say You’re Scared” in recognition of National Domestic Violence Prevention Month.
“We wanted to put a different spin on it,” said Hugh Clark, Yokota Family Advocacy outreach manager. “The majority of couples lift and edify each other.
“Most relationships here are healthy and that’s what we want to celebrate: the healthy aspect as opposed to the negative aspects that tend to come up when you mention domestic violence.
“It’s really to bring about awareness,” he said. “If one partner is abused or assaulted, that’s one too many.”
Saturday’s showdown began with a physical challenge: The husband-wife teams were timed in relay fashion on an inflatable obstacle course set up in the pool, with penalties for touching the water. The field was narrowed to four for the repulsive eating stage, in which one partner had to pick up food with the mouth and pass it to the other for ingestion.
“He bit my lip,” Gina Myers said.
“The cricket was in there and I got a little overanxious trying to get it,” her husband replied. “The cricket was actually pretty tasty. The hardest part was the fish.”
Two couples advanced to the Q&A finale. Designed to test marital communication lines, topics ranged from favorite colors and foods to details about first dates.
The “Yokota Couples Fear Factor” champs said the competition helped shed light on a very serious matter. “That was one of our reasons for coming out here,” Gina Myers said.
Added Bobby, “Maybe something like this can highlight the fact that families do stay together out there and are happy. Just look at us after 19 years.”
Other contestants Saturday were Eric and Tanya Hubbard, Brian and Christine Nefcy, Daniel and Kelly Sligar, Melvin and Tammy Pfeiffer, and Sylvester and Ebony Davila. All received consolation prizes, including free lunches from Bangkok Express.
“It seems to be growing every year,” Clark said, “and it’s all for a good cause.”