Simpsons Wiki
They Saved Lisa's Brain
Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo
Beyond Blunderdome

Dad, we didn't come halfway around the world to eat at "Americatown".

"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" is the twenty-third and final episode of Season 10.


When Snake Jailbird steals money from the Simpson family's bank account through the Internet, the family goes on a budget and save plenty to buy a trip to Japan. The Simpsons thoroughly enjoy the country, but when an accident takes away their last million yen, they agree to participate in a dangerous Japanese TV game show in exchange for the air fare back home.

Full Story

When learning of a new Java Server cyber-cafe's opening downtown, Lisa asks Homer to take her. Even though Lisa tries bribing him, Homer refuses, until Bart walks in, saying he knows a website that shows monkeys "doin' it". Homer immediately agrees to go and eagerly jumps in the car with Bart. At the Java Server, Homer nearly spends all of the family's checking account money, leaving only $1,200, Soon after, Snake walks into the cafe with a gun and cyber-robs Homer, completely emptying their account, leaving no money for their family vacation. To earn some money, Homer sneaks into Ned Flanders' house in the middle of the night, to steal and sell his possessions. Ned catches him, but rather than reporting him, informs him of a savings seminar instead, to which Homer steals his tickets. The family then attends the seminar to help solve their money problems. As the seminar progresses, it soon becomes apparent it is held by a man who, while he does point out a few useful tips, could stand to be a little less tight with his money. One of his pointers includes saving money by scrounging through trash for food. The Simpsons then find out they can get cheap plane tickets by booking last-minute flights. This method comes down to booking a flight on a Boeing 747-200B with open seats, and an as of yet unknown location. The flight they get onto, triumphing over the Flanders, then heads for Tokyo, Japan.

At the Royal Tokyo hotel, Homer discovers that the Japanese are years ahead of America, having a talking toilet in the bathroom that sprays fountains of multi-colored

Images hi .jpg

water, while Bart discovers the TV has a camera that shows footage from the toilet. This gadget soon appalls Bart, Lisa and Marge, as Homer makes use of the multi-gadget toilet.

They start buying various things that cost a fortune there. Homer buys a square watermelon but it turns into a normal round shaped one causing him to accidentally drop it and smash on the ground wasting his money. Lisa wants to do something Japanese but Homer and Bart blatantly refuse and would rather ignore the wonders of another culture, running off when Lisa suggests something traditional. The only piece of Japanese culture Bart is willing to take in is the shows that are aired on T.V., one of which is entitled "Battling Seizure Robots" causing the entire family to collapse on the floor in convulsions. After recovering, they visit America Town, an American-themed restaurant, and then they are forced to go to the Sumo fights, Homer is arrested for attacking the emperor, whom he thought he was a sumo wrestler. After being freed from prison (where Homer and Bart learn of Japanese culture and the secret to inner peace), the Simpson family is down to their last one million Yen, which they need to get home. Homer folds the money into a flying crane origami to show Lisa "something Japanese", which is then blown away in the wind, Homer cries "D'oh!" in Japanese.

They try to earn money by gutting fish at the Osaka Fish Concern. While working, they see on the work TV an advert for the Super Happy Smile Time Family Wish Show, which grants the winners anything they wish for.


They go on the game show to win plane tickets back to Springfield, but go through a series of painful and humiliating tasks (most of the tasks were completed by Homer while his family watched on) including being tied to Tokyo tower during a lightning storm. Meanwhile back in Springfield, Moe sees Homer on TV as he's getting electrocuted by the lightning and he, Lenny, and Carl find out Barney was disguised as Homer to put beers on Homer's tab. To get the tickets in the final round, the Simpsons have to grab them off a bridge that's suspended above a "volcano". Back in Japan, the Simpsons get the tickets, but learn that this task in actuality, was not a challenge, but a trap in which they bridge they are on snaps on demand and they all fall into makeshift lava, which is only Orangeade loaded with Wasabi.

Before leaving Homer takes advantage of now having what they wanted to harshly ridicule the host on live T.V. about how he should be ashamed of himself. Not that the host takes anything he says into account, bringing in the next contestant the second the family exits the stage. When taking off for their return trip home, the Simpsons' plane is attacked by Godzilla, who happens to also be battling Rodan, Mothra, and Gamera. However, the family, in particular Lisa, were so exhausted from the events of their stay that they proceeded to fall asleep through the entire spectacle. Their plane wriggles free, and they fly off to Springfield without any further incident.


When it was first broadcast, the episode attracted 12.5 million viewers.

Since airing, the episode has received mostly favorable reviews. The authors of the book I Can't Believe It's a Bigger and Better Updated Unofficial Simpsons Guide, Warren Martyn and Adrian Wood, gave the episode a positive review, and wrote that it was "A magnificent end to the season." They wrote that the episode was "thoroughly racist" but "completely inoffensive because it's simply very funny." Jake MacNeill of Digital Entertainment News was also favorable, considering it to be one of the better episodes of the season. James Plath of DVD Town wrote that the episode has "some funny moments."

Not all reviews were positive, however. Aaron Roxby of Collider was more critical, denouncing the episode's dated references. He wrote: "I am going to go ahead and give this one the benefit of the doubt and assume that making fun of Japanese junk culture and game shows felt fresher in 1999 than it does do now." Colin Jacobson of DVD Movie Guide called the episode "mediocre". He wrote that, though the episode's concept should "open up lots of interesting possibilities", it "doesn't explore them particularly well". While he did not consider it to be a bad episode, he thought it "fail[ed] to live up to its potential".


"Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" is one of two episodes that never aired in Japan (the other being the Season 11 episode "Little Big Mom"). The reasoning behind this was that a scene in the episode, which shows Homer throwing Akih, the then current emperor of Japan, into a box filled with sumo thongs, was considered disrespectful. There was also a rumor that Sanrio and Hello Kitty creator Yuko Shimizu were outraged by the inclusion of the Hello Kitty factory featured briefly in the episode. The episode has become study material for sociology courses at University of California Berkeley, where it is used to "examine issues of the production and reception of cultural objects, in this case, a satirical cartoon show", and to figure out what it is "trying to tell audiences about aspects primarily of American society, and, to a lesser extent, about other societies".

This episode was also originally banned in South Korea due to its policy on restricting Japanese culture on television at the time, following Japan's past colonization of Korea. The ban for the episode in South Korea was lifted sometime before 2007, when it was available to Koreans for the first time on the Season 10 DVD boxset. However, the episode still remains banned in Japan. Likewise, the episode is unavailable to stream on Disney+ in Japan.


Season 9 Season 10 Episodes Season 11
Lard of the DanceThe Wizard of Evergreen TerraceBart the MotherTreehouse of Horror IXWhen You Dish Upon a StarD'oh-in' in the WindLisa Gets an "A"Homer Simpson in: "Kidney Trouble"Mayored to the MobViva Ned FlandersWild Barts Can't Be BrokenSunday, Cruddy SundayHomer to the MaxI'm with CupidMarge Simpson in: "Screaming Yellow Honkers"Make Room for LisaMaximum HomerdriveSimpsons Bible StoriesMom and Pop ArtThe Old Man and the "C" StudentMonty Can't Buy Me LoveThey Saved Lisa's BrainThirty Minutes Over Tokyo