Smile Fight

My friend Colleen grins ear to ear as she hammers that baby to the mat

As a lifelong 98-pound weakling, team captains had good reason to choose me last when it came to athletic contests, but at the Sony ExploraScience museum, I finally found my sport: Smile Fighting!

Yes, they have a piece of technological wizardry that actually analyzes your beaming face and gives you a score! After extensive experimentation, my friend and I concluded that showing your pearly whites was key, as was eye crinkliness and grin wideness.

You can play against a real live friend or a random photo chosen by the computer. Both of you smile into the camera, then the rating begins. Shown as both a number and a graph, it’s obvious who gets the trophy, because the loser’s photo topples backward in defeat!

Every day, all the smile warriors’ photos are ranked against each other and displayed on a screen as you leave the museum. I made the mistake of going with a friend who’s a champion smiler, so she edged me out, but I’m totally going into training! Next time, it’s make the top row or die smiling.

If you’d like to visit the Sony Explorascience Museum and whup your nearest and dearest in a smile fight, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

The #1 hostboy at Club Nova makes a handsome living, whispering sweet nothings in the ears of women who pay him a fortune for the privilege. But the party’s over when Tokyo Detective Kenji Nakamura is assigned to investigate the death of…read more