It's so obvious that about half the Japan leg was edited out to make way for the starting line challenge. There should have been 1.5-2 hrs for the Tokyo leg alone, so that we can get to know the teams better while still having a sufficient amount of challenges in that leg.
Meh, I could care less about the loss of a few detours, as long as there's at least 2-3 tasks (including roadblocks) per episode. By that logic, TPTB should always put a U-turn with their detours (detours are expensive, while u-turns are free: might as well make sure both tasks are aired).
My thoughts on these two legs:
The license plate task was great in execution, though I found the early elim slightly cruel. Next time, go back to 10-11 teams and use the task to determine who gets early flights.
Japan threw me off; wasn't your conventional TAR leg. Navigating the streets somewhat saved that leg, but that high-pitched "Eat the Wasabi" got really annoying after a while. 5/10.
On the other hand, the Cai Be leg was filled with a lot of bunching. However, the tasks and various locales visited made that leg far superior to Tokyo, even though it seemed as if the teams stayed in one area. Mud task: Good. Ducks: win. 9/10.