New mission for Yokota airmen: facing ‘Fear’ of natto beans
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Airman Crystal Baez said it was the most vile experience she’s ever had.
Staring at three bowls of Japanese natto beans, a fermented soy paste that emits a rather putrid odor, she managed to ingest a spoonful — not quite eating-champion Takeru Kobayashi territory but one more than Staff Sgt. David Stanford could stomach and good enough to capture first place for her two-person team in Saturday night’s “Fear Factor Challenge” at the Yokota Enlisted Club.
Said Baez, who works for the 374th Medical Operations Squadron: “It was the worst thing I’ve ever had to look at, smell or eat in my life. The smell was so disgusting.”
She and Airman 1st Class Dwayne Hopkins II of the 730th Air Mobility Squadron picked up $100 each. Stanford, who refused to take even a bite of the natto beans, and Senior Airman Natasha Dansby both took home $50 for finishing runner-up. Five other two-member coed teams also took part.
It was the second of 12 events in Yokota’s fall Dorm STORM competition recently developed by the 374th Services Division, a series of contests pitting Yokota dormitories against each other.
Saturday’s showdown started with a rock climb on an inflatable wall set up outside in the parking lot. Contestants also had to drink kale juice — think “green goo” — from a baby bottle, use their mouths to retrieve keys from a tray of live nightcrawlers and other ghastly creatures and joust one another through five rounds. Teams were eliminated after each round.
Hopkins wound up first among six people who sipped on the liquified kale concoction.
“I just chugged it down. For the money, it was good,” he said. “I told (Baez) earlier, ‘If I’m gonna have to drink anything nasty, we’d better win.” He emerged from the rock climb with two swollen knees.
Baez, meanwhile, faced her own … um, unique set of challenges … while digging face-first for the key in the tray of nightcrawlers. “The worm one was crazy. One was real lively,” she said. “I had to use my nose to get him out of the way, just so I could pick up the key.”
Added Hopkins: “She really came through for us.”
The victory allows Baez and Hopkins to split points for their respective dormitories in the overall competition of Dorm STORM, which stands for Single Troop Opportunities for Recreation and Morale. Up next weekend is a 3-on-3 coed basketball tournament, scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the Samurai Fitness Center.
The top seven teams (by order of finish) in Saturday night’s “Fear Factor” at the Yokota Enlisted Club, the second of 12 events in the base’s fall Dorm STORM competition, sponsored by the 374th Services Division:
Red: Airman Crystal Baez and Airman 1st Class Dwayne Hopkins II (won $100 each).
Yellow: Senior Airman Natasha Dansby and Staff Sgt. David Stanford (won $50 each).
Pink: Airman 1st Class Danny Huff and Airman 1st Class Helen Eberle.
Blue: Airman 1st Class Emily Hong and Airman 1st Class Darrin Bower.
Purple: Senior Airman JayOmar Harris and Airman 1st Class Amanda Farley.
Green: Airman Ashley Prather and Airman 1st Class Nathan Baxter.
Orange: Senior Airman Carmen Matta and Master Sgt. Mike Rockhold.