Each year we have a Turkey Bowl on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We start with a flag football game followed by a mystery potluck party. I prepare several soups and maybe a beverage. This year we had punch and a cranberry tea. The Turkey Bowl was a lot of fun. Can't wait 'til next year.
T – You are the first time to meet Mr. Nagano? Did you come yesterday?
A – Yeah. (laughs) Oh yeah.
Q – Did you get to go to the beach yet?
T – Actually, they wanted to go to the beach; however, the weather became worse and worse to the end of the day. So they decided to go there today, but it’s much worse. It’s raining now. (She says something to Nagano-san and he says “Ah, so”). A few minutes ago it was heavy rain.
SG – I think I’m going to drive him to see the beach. Whether they can get out and go on the beach, I don’t know. I’m at least going to drive them down where they can see the beach.
T - It’s very close.
Q – Has he been doing any training while he’s here?
MN – No. (laughs)
SG – He did get to go to the bounce house last night and he did get to do a couple of back flips in the bounce house last night.
T – He did? (To the audience) He did a back flip to the audience just in the hallway.
SG – Actually it was right here.
T – Right here or in the hallway?
SG – No, he didn’t do it in the hallway. They had a bounce house with pads and he did a little bit right there.
T – He did bounce a little bit here according to Andy. Maybe in the evening?
SG – Yes. Yesterday evening before we went back to the hotel.
T – On the air mat he did just bouncing and something. Demonstration with the other audience.
Q – What’s been his favorite part so far of the convention and the trip?
T – First of all, meeting with the big people, the number of people who actually know, know him himself and how much they like him. To find out, he’s very, very happy. Also, he did not realize that so many people like Anime so much until he came here.
Q – Have you thought of doing more of these kinds of conventions and would you rather do ones, like this is a nice one because you can meet people. And there’s not such crazy fans???, but down the road there are so many people all around the country who know you and (fades so you can’t hear the question).
T – He himself wants to come back to see more people at many other conventions; however, his main profession is fisherman so he cannot get out of that work so often so he does not know yet. However he wants to come back. Maybe after one year or two years. If he is invited, he is willing to come back. (He smiles at the prospect of coming back).
Q – Do you do a lot of social events in Japan?
T – He does some demonstrations at a park called Sasuke Plaza which is made by the same producer of Sasuke and he sometimes appears there. However he does not have small gathering like with the six people to talk and question/answer. He doesn’t have such meetings.
Q – Does his family live in the same town as him? His parents, do they all live in the same town?
T – Yes. All the family is in the same town.
Q – Can he cook? (Audience laughs).
MN – (points at his chest) Me? No, no.
Q – So you don’t make the fish?
T – He eats fish, but mainly grilled. And he doesn’t like so much sashimi ??? raw fish.
MN – Do you eat sashimi?
A – I do not.
Q – Does he go out on a fishing boat for like, a long period of time? Like a commercial fisherman? How much time does he spend..
T – ..on the ocean?
A – Right.
T – He works for 25 days on the ocean out of one month. However each night, evening, they go to the port to sleep, to rest, but he is not able to go home, 25 days.
A – Oh, wow. A whole month.
T – Any other questions?
A - Last question? Is this the final question or no?
Moi – No.
SG – We’ve still got…
A – I’ll wait ‘til it’s the end.
T – OK, you want to be the last question.
T – So you came late. You came all the way from Los Angeles, right?
A – Yes, we did.
T – So do you have any questions?
A – Um, not a question, but a statement, just a comment. Just to let him know that we apprec…, at least, I appreciate how he supports good sportsmanship. And we don’t see that too often. Usually in a competition you want to win over your competitor, but he supports good sportsmanship and that’s very positive.
MN – Thank you.
T – I am so happy to hear that. Thank you very much, he says. That’s the basic of Sasuke, program of Sasuke. It’s not to compete to get one winner, but as many people as they reach to the perfect score, they can be a champion. So it is based on the Sasuke sportsmanship. If you lose in the middle of the game, he says it’s his fault, the result of the lack of training. So it’s not to compete with other people. So after even they loses, they cheer for other people. That’s the way it is. (12 minutes of recording)
Q – I’m with Sentry (sp?) radio. From AL radio at FAU and we’re starting up our panel shortly. I was wondering if you would like to join us for a little interview.
T – Oh, ok.
A – Nagano-sensei, or Nagano-san. (laughter) Nagano-san.
T – (to Nagano-san) They are from FAU.. (He points out that she is speaking to him in English and we all laugh).
A (to SG) – We’re starting up shortly, but we’re going to be extended…
T – It’s my pleasure he says.
A – All right, just after your…
MN – Thank you.
A – Arigato.
Q – He always make it look so easy to do the obstacles. You can tell he trains all the times. Some people find it so hard to complete the obstacles, but he gets up there and just breezes right through and he makes it look really easy.
T – Comparing with other people, they are told, I do training much lesser, but they train much more, according to their stories. However, he was training when he was elementary school child through the end of junior high school. He trained himself every day, very hard. He thinks that is based on his strength. (15 minutes recorded)
Q – I don’t want to sound too personal, but how does his parents feel? Are they proud of him? How did they react with fame?
T – They are very happy to see that moment. They are so much proud of him. They cannot stop expressing their pride. Usually, let me add, they don’t express such straightforward way about their son, but they cannot …
A – That’s good to hear.
Q – Did your life change or it keep the same after you reached those goals?
T – I don’t have actual difficulty because of that however, he sometimes be aware of other people’s looking at him when he go out, but basic life does not change.
Q - Still fishing? (laughs)
T – Yeah. Nothing change about his profession.
T – Are you a fisherman?
A – No, but I watch the show.
Q – What kind of fish does he fish for?
T – There are two major fish. One of them is mackerel. The other one I will see this area. Similar kind as sardines.
A - Sardines.
T – Those are the two major types.
Q – Does he socialize much with the other All-stars?
T – He sees them only at the time of event. Other than that he has no chance to meet them. ??? He does not drink so… (laughter) They don’t go out to drink.
Q – Do they live in different parts of Japan?
MN – (gestures with his hands) Kyushu
T – He’s from the Kyushu area. It’s the southernmost big island.
MN – (moves his hands a little higher) Osaka, Kobe
T – Osaka, Kobe – middle. Near Kyoto a little bit western part of Japan mainland.
MN – Gifu (moves his hands a little higher)
T – Gifu – close to Kobe.
MN - (moves his hands from low to high, punctuating each city)
T - All over, spread out from Hokkaido northern part of Japan to southern part. Spread out.
T – Any other questions?
A – We’re his fans, but is he a fan of another competitor? (20 minutes recorded)
T – He does not have any particular individual who he likes, but as the All-stars, all of us wants to go to the third stage. He has not any particular person. Of course I wish everybody to go to the final stage, but he has a particularly strong feeling of friendship, membership with the All-stars.
MN – (asks the translator to ask the audience the following question)
T - What is the bigger enjoyment, biggest enjoyment of Sasuke? Attraction? Not Sasuke, Ninja Warrior. He has a question.
A – I enjoy watching it ‘cause I think it’s the camaraderie, where they root for each other. And they’re so physically fit. It’s just a joy to watch them compete where they’re not against each other. They cheer for each other. You can just see that they’re truly rooting for each other and it’s not against each other.
MN – (translated) So do you like funny scenes of them falling like funny octopus man?
A – Everybody likes what we call bloopers. Things that happen… or your wipeout… but I was going to say that I think the show has brought the people here in this country something that we don’t have – this kind of competition. And a lot of the kids that I know want to ??? and the camaraderie and the fitness that it requires. Because so many kids in this country ???
A – In the show they don’t show all the accidents and you see there’s a lot of things ??? Do people get hurt? Was there any treatment for the people that get hurt or how’s the company that produces the show handle…?
SG – I think he’s wanting to know more if anybody gets hurt from the accidents, do they take care of them? (25 minutes recorded)
T – There are several accidents which are not on air, of course, including breaking bones and dislocating joints. And then they send them to the hospital and they are taken care of. Of course usually the emergency team is provided by the side of the competition; however, if it’s more serious, they are sent to the hospital. There was a Kinniku Banzuke or charge of strength of muscles from which the Sasuke program which is Ninja Warrior came from. In that show there was one person that got injured very seriously and lost sensation from here (waist) to down. And then the producers talked about that insurance for the rest of their life.
Q – Did you suffer any injury during the competition?
T – Burned, he got burned a little bit. At the final stage when he loses, he drops down, falls down. But rope stops so he got, what you say, he slide with arm. He got burnt. Later with the shoulder.
(change of camera cards)
Q – How did you like competing with the American G4, American Ninja Warrior competitors like Levi Meeuwenberg?
T – How does he like?
Q – How does he enjoy that?
T – Watching it?
Q – Did he enjoy competing with them?
T – Oh, competing with them?
MN – smiles and nods
T – He likes it very much.
MN – thinking, trying to remember something, rubs his leg and says “Jeans, jeans.”
Q – Levi?
MN – laughs Levi.
T – It’s his great pleasure to compete with a person like Levi who has extraordinary physical ability. It’s really a pleasure. He made a promise with Levi to go to the top together and after the final at the top of the place, they will (not sure what she said – maybe “come by”) cheer up to celebrate the victory together.
SG – Last question.
Q – What’s his favorite obstacle?
T – Favorite? He like… First he said the obstacle that looks challenging very much; however, he’s thinking actually which one.
MN – sneezes
A – (entire audience) Bless you!
Note: He kept referring to the Sasuke taped September 2008 as the 22nd event.
T – At the 22nd event, there’s a point which he was not able to do, complete, so that’s his favorite so far. Anyway he likes challenging. So it’s hard for him to say what he likes best, but anything which looks challenging to him, he likes.
Q – I have one more question. How far does he have to travel to the competition?
T – How long it takes?
A – Yeah.
T – He goes to, he usually goes to the place which is usually Tokyo the night before and it takes him 5 hours from his home to Tokyo. The hotel is in Tokyo. And then from Tokyo hotel to the site takes 30 minutes. So the shooting itself starts at around 8 o’clock and if you complete to the last stage, it ends around 2 the next, in the morning.
MN – simulates the rope climb up the tower and laughs
T – Any other questions? He said last question, but maybe we can take more questions.
Q – Will Akiyama-san compete again?
T – He was not able to attend the 22nd event due to the tragedy in the family. He is training rigorously for the next event.
Q – What is your favorite way of training?
T – Training, especially for Sasuke, is a major … two types. One is hanging and the second one is to strengthen the lower part of the body. So he does hanging on the iron bar and jogging a lot, jog a lot.
Q – Do you listen to music when you are out fishing? What kind do you like?
T – He doesn’t listen to music so often. When he relaxes, he listens to enya (sp?).
Q – Of all the stages, what is the most hardest obstacle of all the stages?
MN – Cliff hanger (demonstrates)through translator asks “Do you think it’s easy for you? (laughs)
Q – Did he beat the new one? The new cliff hanger? Did he beat it?
T – The 22nd event. Have you seen it?
A – I don’t think it’s aired here yet.
T – Not yet.
MN – points at the audience (like a teacher)
T – Please look for it.
Q – Did he jump to it or did he reach?
T – It’s a very critical question/answer, so you should watch yourself. (laughter) If I would do it, I would jump.
MN – extends his arms and throws his head back to indicate the distance
SG – It’s time. We’ve got another event we’ve got to go to.
T – I’m sorry but we have to go. Thank you.
SG – He will be back in about 2 hours for autographs and pictures. Give or take 2 hours we’ll be back up here and should be here for a good while.
A fellow fan created posters of each of the All-stars. I gave the posters to Makoto Nagano at the luncheon. He loved them. He asked me if I wanted him to give each All-star his poster. I said no that he could keep them and I'd send him another copy to give to the All-stars.