Bowling in Japan: The Moonlight Strike Game at Round1
I went bowling in Japan at Round1 Entertainment for the first when I was studying abroad. I lucked out that there was a Round1 close to my dorm and close to my university, so I found myself there quite frequently. Despite my troubles trying to convert American shoe sizes to Japanese shoe sizes so I could rent the correct bowling shoes, I thoroughly enjoyed bowling at Round1 because of their unique Moonlight Strike Game.
What is the Moonlight Strike Game?
When I first heard of the Moonlight Strike Game, I originally thought of “cosmic bowling.” At the bowling alleys near my hometown, cosmic bowling was usually on Friday and Saturdays from around 9PM to about 2PM. During that time, you paid a set dollar amount and you got to bowl however much you want. The normals lights were also turned off and everything was lit up with black lights and other party lights. I quickly realized that my assumption was very wrong.
It turns out, the moonlight strike game is a random event that occurs during normal bowling. The normal lights are replaced with the black lights, and a staff member explains the rules of the game. Whoever is currently up to bowl will be the participant. When the staff member says “go,” all of the participants will bowl at once. In order to “win,” women and children have to knock down nine pins while men have to get a strike. If you get the required number of pins, you have to indicate to the staff that you have won. They will then come over and take a commemorative photo of you and the people you are currently bowling with. I’ve also heard that, since the last time I was there, they have started offering prizes.
New Moonlight Strike Original Prizes are HERE! 🎳 Just listen for our Moonlight Strike Game song and aim for a Strike to win at Round1! Ask our Staff about our Moonlight Strike game on your next visit and join the FUN! #Round1 #Bowling pic.twitter.com/q11C6UYW4J
— Round1 USA (@Round1USA) November 17, 2017
Where Can I Experience the Moonlight Strike Game?
Round1 is a Japanese entertainment company that usually offers karaoke, arcade games, billiards, darts, and batting cages as well as bowling. Not surprisingly, they have locations all over Japan, so a quick round of bowling would be easy to work into most Japan itineraries. They also currently have 27 different locations across the United States. A full list of United State locations can be found on their website.
If you go to a bowling alley other than Round1, you’ll find that bowling in Japan is a lot like bowling in the United States.
My Experience Bowling in Japan
When I was at Round1 with some friends, they held the Moonlight Strike Game three different times. By luck of the draw, I happened to be up to bowl every time the Moonlight Strike Game was held so I was the participant every time! I felt bad for my friends that they didn’t get to do the game, but since I was the only one of them that wasn’t native Japanese, they insisted that I be the participant since they got to do the game any other time.
I’ll admit, I felt a little guilty participating. I pretty much grew up in a bowling alley, so I was far from being a novice bowler. I felt like I should have been required to get a strike like the men were, but oh well. The first two times I participated in the game, I got the required nine pins.
Both times, the staff came over and put a fake flower lei around my neck and gave me a little billboard to hold that said congratulations and the number 13 (We were on lane 13). Once we were satisfied with our pose (everybody held up one finger since it’s Round “One”), the staff took a picture of us. A few minutes laters, they came back and handed me the photo inside a cute little plastic picture frame. I thought it was a fantastic souvenir of our fun experience.
What do you think about the moonlight strike game? Have you ever participated it in it? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to share them in the comments below!
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