Exclusive: Jonas Otsuji talks about 'Survivor: One World' (Part 1)
By Reality TV World staff, 03/29/2012
Jonas Otsuji was eliminated from Survivor: One World's newly-merged Tikiano tribe during Wednesday night's seventh episode of the CBS reality series' 24th edition.
Jonas, a 37-year-old sushi chef from Lehi, UT, was voted out of his tribe at the season's seventh Tribal Council session, the first session for the mixed-gender tribe after the 12 members of the Manono and Salani tribes had merged at the conclusion of last week's episode.
On Thursday, Jonas talked to Reality TV World about his Survivor: One World -- including when he realized some of the game's guys weren't part of his alliance anymore, whether he thought Michael Jefferson would have voted with him had Greg "Tarzan" Smith waited to tell him about their initial plan to vote off Alicia Rosa until right before Tribal Council, why he didn't target Tarzan instead of Mike at the Tribal session where he was voted off, and his thoughts on controversial castaway Colton Cumbie.
Below is the first half of our exclusive interview with Jonas. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the concluding portion.
Reality TV World: When did you realize you didn't really have Michael and [Jay Byars] on your side and at best [Troy "Troyzan" Robertson], Tarzan, [Leif Manson], and yourself were on the wrong side of an 8-4 vote coming up?
Jonas Otsuji: Well from the beginning, I never had anything with Mike, so I knew that was never going to happen. My only hope was Jay and Troy, but I knew when we re-merged that I asked Troy and Jay when we re-merged the very next morning, "Hey, do you guys want to go crabbing?" And they both said, "No, I'm good."
And we had always done crabbing before together as an alliance, so I knew right there that my alliance was definitely not what it was. So that ticked me off right away, so I knew right away when we re-merged that my alliance wasn't the same.
Reality TV World: So even though the show showed Tarzan saying that he thought the six men were going to be together and you'd also have Alicia giving you a 7-5 majority, that was Tarzan basically just being delusional?
Jonas Otsuji: No, 100% percent, 100% percent. Tarzan was absolutely clueless at that point. He knew nothing of what was really going on.
Reality TV World: So it sounds like you don't have a lot of confidence in the fact that even if you [as you told Tarzan] had told Michael [how to vote] two days later, Michael would've gone along with it anyways, correct?
Jonas Otsuji: Exactly. In fact, I actually was leaning more towards that he was with the girls. So I'm like, "If you're trying to put together something with the guys, why are you telling somebody that's with the girls?" So anyway, that was basically 20 days of pent-up anger all coming out at one time.
Reality TV World: You guys seemed to have agreed to target [Kat Edorsson] going into Tribal Council, but then when you got there, you publicly announced you were going to target Mike instead. What made you decide to do that?
Jonas Otsuji: Because we didn't have the numbers to vote for Kat. So Troy and Jay were completely not onboard with that situation and it just wasn't going to work mathematically. We just didn't have the numbers. So the only reason why I chose Mike was because the women -- [Kim Spradlin] and [Chelsea Meissner] were calling the shots and their concern was that me, Troy and Jay were still [allied] together.
So to prove their allegiance, they asked Troy and Jay to vote me out. So I knew my only hope was to take another guy so that the guys could prove their allegiance to the girls and just not take out me.
Reality TV World: Why not [vote for] Tarzan, because didn't that seem like the obvious choice?
Jonas Otsuji: We actually talked about that, but too many people wanted to take Tarzan because they knew that they could beat him in the end, so.
Reality TV World: Both Chelsea and Kim seemed to really hate the idea of voting you out but did so anyways. So why do you think they decided to vote you out instead of Tarzan or Leif? They kept calling you the bigger threat, but it sounds like you're saying maybe they just thought Tarzan was kind of the unlikable guy who would be kind of good to take to the end [and final jury vote]?
Jonas Otsuji: Yeah and Kim definitely wanted me out. She point blank told me that because I was a threat. Chelsea, not so much, but Chelsea really had no say in it because Kim had already shown her the idol and she was just going along with the crowd basically.
Reality TV World: So when you said earlier that you thought Chelsea and Kim were running things, it really sounds like it was more Kim than Chelsea, right?
Jonas Otsuji: For sure, for sure.
Reality TV World: Do you think things would have been different if Colton hadn't been evacuated from the game or do you believe things still would have played out the same?
Jonas Otsuji: Yeah, I thought about that. My gut was telling me that Colton would have defected to the girls, so in the end, the outcome would have been similar. I think I would have lasted a lot longer, but I still think that Colton would have went with the girls. Like he said, he was a girl. He's like, "I am a girl." That's what he said. (Laughs)
Reality TV World: It sounds like you were confident Troyzan wasn't on your side as soon as you got to the merge. So I'm assuming he never told you that he had found the hidden Immunity Idol and kept it a secret from you?
Jonas Otsuji: Yeah, that was a secret.
Reality TV World: Hypothetically speaking -- especially since you believed Troyzan wasn't in your alliance anymore -- do you think if you had known about the hidden Immunity Idol there would have been any way you two could have used it at Tribal Council to save yourself and send maybe Chelsea or Kim or maybe one of the other power players on the other side out?
Jonas Otsuji: You mean ask Troy for the idol?
Reality TV World: Yes.
Jonas Otsuji: Yeah, no. Troy is way too smart of a player to ever do that and that would only put a bigger target on his back and yeah. I actually told him, I said, "Listen, you have immunity," which I did know he had [after he also won the Immunity Challenge]. I said, "You have the power to turn this around." And he said, "Yeah, but then I become the target when I don't have immunity." So, I did propose that, but he didn't go for it.
Reality TV World: Colton was really pretty horrible out there, but despite all that you were shown saying you were happy to be "his b-tch" if it got you further in the game, which [Monica Culpepper] told me she basically found reprehensible when I talked to her a couple of weeks ago. So, what type of behavior would it have taken for you to not want to be associated with Colton anymore? Was there any line you wouldn't be willing to cross with him? Because we saw him bullying people and making potentially racist comments.
Jonas Otsuji: The game is not about morality.
Reality TV World: Well, that's what I'm asking. So in the game of Survivor, are there any lines from your perspective?
Jonas Otsuji: I mean, I would never say like, "I swear on my grandmother's grave," you know what I mean? For me, I wouldn't ever try to be malicious in any way. It's just all strategy, you know? But I do, I do have to say that you know, I'm not proud of -- I mean, I think I said it because it would be kind of funny but somewhat true that I would be Colton's b-tch -- but I'm not proud of playing that game.
If I could do it all over again, I would have played a way more aggressive game and I would have tried to put together a big blindside against Colton. So, I'm definitely not proud of trying to fly under the radar and just following Colton's kind of game. It's just not the way that, looking back on, I can say, "Wow, I really played a great game."
It was more like I played sort of a wimpy game. So, you know, if I could do it all over again, I would have been a lot more aggressive. I think it would've been a lot more successful, because even when I am aggressive, people don't really perceive me to be aggressive.
Reality TV World: There's been a lot of discussion this season about whether or not, given all the comments he was shown making about [Bill Posley] during his time on the show, Colton is racist. We also saw him being a real bully to [Christina Cha], who is Asian. And when I talked to Bill this season, he said he felt Colton was ignorant, sheltered and inexperienced but not racist. But given you're also a minority and spent the entire game with Colton, I wanted to get your own thoughts on the whole issue -- do you think he is racist or just a coincidence he had issues with Christina and significant problems with Bill?
Jonas Otsuji: No, he's obviously not a racist, because if you're a racist, you single out a certain group of people. Colton hated every single person out there and he wasn't afraid to say it, so you can't say that he hates blacks or Asians. He hates everybody. (Laughs) At least that's the show that he puts on. I don't think that he really does.
I think throughout his life, he's gotten a lot of attention and a lot of validating through slamming other people. He thinks that it's funny, and therefore, he just does it. He just took it a little over the top, and that could be because he was on TV. He was just trying to make sure that he was really over the top.
I honestly don't think that he's this evil person. In fact, I think he's a very sensitive guy. If you talk to him in real life, he takes it really hard when people come at him and attack him. So it's obvious he does have a heart and he's a good guy at heart, you know?
Reality TV World: I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but Jeff Probst inadvertently sparked another racial comment controversy last night when he tweeted that although last night's CBS broadcast only showed Tarzan venting that he couldn't look at your face anymore, what Tarzan apparently actually said was that he couldn't look at your "Asian face" anymore. Are you aware of that, and what's your reaction to that?
Jonas Otsuji: I was not aware of that. (Laughs) I think that's a little -- to say "Asian face," that's a little unnecessary. Yeah. And then the fact that he completely called out Christina like, "I don't like you." That's a little shocking, yeah. Wow. (Laughs)
Above is the first half of our exclusive interview with Jonas. Check back with Reality TV World on Friday for the second portion.