Japanese Reality Stars a Hit at Festival
Keiichi Hara and Yuzuru Abe aren’t your typical visitors you’d see in Panacea. But on Saturday, the longtime friends competed in the mullet toss and the blue crab picking contest at the Panacea Blue Crab Festival.
Hara and Abe, both 25, are the stars of the Japanese-based Sanma’s Super Gimmick-TV, a reality television show that airs on Tokyo Broadcasting System.
They arrived in Panacea on Thursday with their producer Osamu Inoue, translator Kei Shozuzawa and camera man Junichi Ebashi. I became their tour guide for the next three days- schooling them on all things seafood and familiarizing them with the area. The first thing they wanted to do was learn how to “pick” blue crab. Eloise Crum was the first to offer to teach them how to pick crab at Posey’s Restaurant under the supervision of Sherrie Posey.
After the lesson, Sherrie graciously fed the hungry travelers a feast of blue crab claws, lump crab meat and cheese grits. Next it was off to Woolley Park for a lesson on mullet tossing from a prior tossing champion named Bob. Bob worked with Hara and Abe and gave them special pointers on choosing the right fish and making sure to be the last ones to compete in the contest. Another tip he gave them was to roll the fish around in the dirt to make it less slippery when holding.
Friday was spent with Ann Sanders at Sanders and Sons Crab Picking House in Sopchoppy. Ann let Hara and Abe pick 2 giant bushels of crab- a task that took about 4 hours. At the end of the day they were confident with their crab picking skills!
When the festival day came the crew was ready to compete. Hara and Abe enjoyed the local parade and made some new friends around Panacea. My fellow blogger and friend Sarah came to watch the mullet toss and we cheered the guys on hoping for a win. Unfortunately they did not place in the mullet toss but Hara did manage to hit his camera man in the head with the mullet which has to make for good T.V.!
In the crab picking contest Hara won 2nd place and Abe won 4th. They were thrilled with the victories. In all of their travels in the past three months they have not won much and their goal is to earn 10000000 Yen or $106,630 American dollars before going back to their homes. What is next for the traveling team from Japan? No one really knows. They go where the wind and production team takes them looking for more contests.
We are grateful for the opportunity to work with them and hope they enjoyed their time in Panacea.