On July 16th, the Japanese beer company, Kirin, released an all-new brand of gin-based alcohol called Kirin Dry Rickey. To build up hype for their new product, Kirin ran a very unique sort of promotional event on Tokyo’s Yamanote train line. When most companies would have thrown their entire advertisement budget into posters, billboards, and commercials, Kirin organized a special event known as nothing more than an “escape game.” Our very own Mr. Sato, lured in by the mystery and the smell of booze, decided to take part in this very special game and discover what it takes to “escape” from a train on the Yamanote Line.
Participants in Kirin’s special game were decided at random from a large pool of applicants. All they were told was to gather at Osaki Station on the designated day for a 2:50 P.M. train departure. No other details concerning the nature of the game were revealed to the participants ahead of time.
▼ How foreboding…
When Mr. Sato arrived, he was impressed to see that an entire train had been rented out for this special event. While boarding he and every other participant were given large envelopes and told not to open them until after departure.
▼ Restrain yourself, Mr. Sato. Don’t open it yet!
▼ At least there was a bit of eye-candy to help explain the rules.
The train took off, and Mr. Sato opened his manila package to discover eight puzzles. If he could determine the answers to all eight, the final solution would be revealed, and he would be able to “escape,” or more accurately proceed to the next train car. Participants were stuck for as long as they were unable to answer the riddles presented to them. The Yamanote train line is a loop which lasts approximately one hour, so the mission was to reach the far end of the train before it returned to Osaki.
▼ Uh-oh. This might take the last of Mr. Sato’s brain cells.
The pressure was on! Mr. Sato stared at his sheet, totally perplexed. The inside of the train car contained some minor hints to working out the puzzles, but it still seemed near impossible for Mr. Sato’s fuzzy head to figure out. One-by-one, his fellow participants progressed to the next car, while he stared down at the perplexing sheets of paper in front of him. He wanted to call out and ask for an extra tip from those smarter than him, but cheating was, predictably, not allowed. Phoning a friend was a big no-no.
▼ “What the hell is this?”
▼ Help? …Anyone?
It was tough, but somehow Mr. Sato managed to work his way to the second train car. As he entered the car, he was given a coaster containing a 12-square grid. Each box was meant to contain a Japanese symbol. The coaster also revealed that if you paid attention outside of the train when it came to a stop, there was a final hint. However, there were only two stops on the entire trip, and our poor Mr. Sato had been so focused on the previous collection of riddles that he’s missed his only chances to view the hints outside!
▼ On to phase two! Good job, Mr. Sato!
▼ Oh dear. The last problems were tough enough even with hints. Now what?!
Wallowing in a moment of absolute anguish, Mr. Sato almost gave up, but then it struck him that if he did, that’d be the end of it and he’d never be able to live down that failure. No one wants to be the guy who lost the special beer game. No, he wanted to reach the goal! Mr. Sato’s fighting spirit reached its peak, and then the answer hit him: it was the brand’s slogan! “Powerful, Fresh, Unsweetened.” Each line was one word, and each word required four Japanese characters! He presented his answer to the car’s “bartender” and was approved access to the next stage. Filled with determination, Mr. Sato fought his way through a slew of riddles to make it to the goal at the end of the train, containing the greatest surprise of all.
▼ Witness here, the face of triumph.
At the end of a long string of questions, car 12 was a party car, complete with a bar and samples of the new Kirin Dry Rickey. And of course, Mr. Sato did not waste this opportunity to get a taste. As promised by the slogan. This drink does not contain even a hint of sweetness. Weak liquors have found a lot of popularity in Japan recently, but a glass of Dry Rickey kicked those babies to the curb. With an alcohol content of seven percent, this drink packs quite a punch, but a powerful citrus flavor and high acidity help to tone down the alcohol so that it doesn’t give the impression of being too strong. People who like liquor should find the flavor quite invigorating.
▼ Cheers, everyone!
▼ Needless to say, Mr. Sato is a man who likes his booze.
After approximately an hour of hard thinking and happy drinking, Mr. Sato reached the end of his round-trip journey. His escape was an absolute success.
▼ “This totally beats my daily commute on the Yamanote Line.”
▼ Congratulations, Mr. Sato. Here’s a ticket commemorating your trip.
***Bonus*** Check out two of the puzzles Mr. Sato faced while trying to escape the Yamanote Line train!
▼ You’ll need to know your hiragana chart to figure out this problem.
▼ This problem should be no biggie for any toddler who’s been taught their ABC’s.