How many everyday Japanese icons can you find on a neighbourhood stroll?

From Ring Fit Adventure through to Pokémon GO, there are a range of video games designed to get us off the couch and moving, but now we’ve found a game that not only keeps us active, but gives our eyes some time away from the screen as well.

Called “Osanpo Bingo”, which translates to “Walk Bingo” or “Stroll Bingo”, this clever product is a bingo game that’s designed to be played while going for a stroll. There are seven types to choose from, with themes like “Town”, “Beach” and “Aquarium” to match your environment, and as they’re perfect for solo players, our Japanese-language reporter Ninoude Punico decided to test one out on a walk, opting for the “Field Guide” collection, which seemed best suited to her urban surroundings.

▼ The Bingo card comes with a total of 25 beautifully illustrated tabs, which need to be pulled down when you spot the corresponding image in the real-world.

Punico had never played bingo with her feet before, so she put on her comfiest walking shoes and headed out to complete at least one row on her card, pulling down the middle tab to start. Some of the images, like “convenience store” and “post box” would no doubt be easy to find, but there were a couple that would be more challenging, like “kindness” (top left) and “pair look” (a couple in matching outfits).

▼ Interestingly, the second tab from the right in the top line is for “kinpatsu” (“blonde hair”)

As she began her game of bingo, Punico felt a little self-conscious holding a piece of cardboard in front of her instead of a smartphone, but she quickly put her inhibitions to one side when she made her first discoveries: a clock and a pink flower.

On a typical day, Punico would’ve walked past these things without giving them a second thought, but today she was extra grateful for their existence. Then, she spotted two other bingo items: a salaryman and a couple in matching outfits, which she thought would’ve been one of the more difficult things to find.

Being in a busy thoroughfare definitely helped when it came to finding these two, and she was grateful to have been in the right place at the right time for the rare “pair look” sighting. She’d already completed four tabs in 30 minutes, all the time noticing the environment around her, looking up at the sky for “vapour trails” (middle, bottom row) and down at the ground for “ant trails” (right, second-to-bottom row).

▼ Punico couldn’t remember the last time her eyes had been so busy scanning the environment around her.

Keen to continue her game of bingo, Punico began to feel like she was on a hunt rather than a stroll, and her sense of excitement and adventure grew with every step. It didn’t take her long to come across four more things on her card: a postbox, a convenience store, an overhead walkway, and a pigeon.

The one discovery she was most pleased with, though, was this “dokonjou bana”, the term used to describe flowers growing in a gritty, tough place like cement.

Although it took her some time, Punico was finally at the stage where she had one more box to go in order to clear a straight line on her card. However, the required item — a spiderweb — was proving hard to find.

She searched high and low around buildings and flower beds, scanning the nooks and crannies for the spindly threads of a spider. After an hour-and-a-half of searching, the sun was about to set and Punico was about to give up on her game of bingo when she stumbled upon…a fence with a spider web!

It wasn’t as large and perfectly formed as the spider web illustrated on the card, but it was still a spider web nonetheless, and that meant Punico was able to press through the cardboard with a satisfied, triumphant grin.

She gave thanks to the spider that had set up its web on the street, and held in her desire to shout “bingo!” to the sky and all those around her. There would be no prizes or high-fives from others in this game of bingo but the sense of accomplishment she felt was reward enough for her efforts.

As she walked home, the evening seemed a little brighter than usual, and the streets looked surprisingly friendly and familiar. That’s probably because she’d just spent around four hours exploring every detail they had to offer, and her adventure had taken her down streets and roads she’d never ventured down before.

Priced at 550 yen (US$5) for a  pack of four, Osanpo Bingo can be purchased online from big sites like Rakuten and Amazon, and it’s a great game to play with friends, children, or even on your own. Not only is it a fun way to motivate you to get active and explore the great outdoors, it keeps you away from your phone screen for hours, and allows you to see your surroundings in a whole new light.

Punico was so impressed with the game, she’s stashed the other cards in her bag for her next outdoor adventure. Because with so many hidden treasures to be found on the streets of Japan, it’s always worth going for a stroll!

Photos © SoraNews24
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