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Monday, April 27, 2009

2009 Maguro Festival

第18回串木野まぐろフェスティバル - 18th Annual Maguro (Tuna) Festival poster

As was with last year (Part 1 and Part 2 from Sasuke Maniac coverage).. and the year before that.. Makoto Nagano appeared again with his friends in the Maguro Festival in Kushikino. He promoted it in his most recent radio interview. It was the 18th Annual to be exact and it took me a bit to find the above posters but yay I found it.. after the fact.. LOL. Long live Google.. At some point I expect the pictures will be on Nagano's site but kinda depends when they get a chance to update it. Judging by the timeliness of the previous entries it might be a while it might be as we speak.. we don't know. As for the rest of the pictures here Ube found for me :) Yay go Ube!!

Nagano: "Yamada dude stop following me.. I want you to go hee-aww".. ©personal blog

When Ube found these photos for me I was dying laughing at this set of pictures from this blog. First before I start.. we know that 5 of the 6 All-stars were there. Toshihiro Takeda, Shingo Yamamoto, Kazuhiko Akiyama, Katsumi Yamada and of course Makoto Nagano. Seems like Bunpei Shiratori was again a no show to the Maguro Festival. His last apperance was in 2007. These pictures were priceless! This first one was funny because it looks like Nagano is telling Yamada to beat it.. I mean there is no place to sit for him so he's telling him to shove off :p This is also the first picture you see of Akiyama's new do.. keep that thought for a moment..

"Here's how you Kanzen Seiha kid." (LMFAO for that quote Ube) ©personal blog

This was one was priceless in so many levels.. including the fact that he's about to light up a cigarette right next to the kid and of course Ube's priceless quote :) I mean we all know by now he's a chain smoker.. it's just funny when it's shot on camera... ya know? I see Nagano is not disappointing and wearing his new clothes! I'm sure I'll bitch about these pants next year when I realize he hasn't changed them..

Please don't grow the back to complete the 1980's mullet look.. ©personal blog

And the last of this set of pictures.. /sigh.. W.. T.. F.. is up with Akiyama's hair? I mean.. what.. gives?? O.M.F.G. I think he got into the gallon of hair dye that Nagano uses and teased it with Takeda's hairgel and then blow dried it with Shingo's hairdryer.. I'm sorry but it looks hideous.. I want the old Akiyama hair back.. /cries and pouts.. He looked great in Sasuke 22! Now he looks like he's wearing a wig..

Takeda jumping on the wall while Nagano watches ©personal blog

These next set of pictures comes from this blog. These capture more normal pics of the course (though that tower thing is pretty tall... I wanna see what's on it and how they used it.. )Yes.. I know.. Geeky stuff..

Nagano being introduced to the crowd ©personal blog

I can't tell from this picture if they got new Sasuke T'shirts or not. It's hard to tell from the front and every other picture they have their jackets on because it wasn't that warm this year.

Takeda, Nagano, Yamamoto and Akiyama with 2 unidentified fans ©personal blog

Shingo has a funky hair problem with the wind while Akiyama's hair doesn't look as frightening as the one blog earlier.. still.. I want that other one from Sasuke 22 back.. but all in all I'm still happy he's back no matter how his hair freaks me out.. Just wish Bunpei was well enough to go but apparently he isn't. I wonder if there will be a BUG in MIKI again this year? Either way I'm happy there were any pics as quickly as they were this time around. Until I see Nagano's page with the best pics of all these will suffice for now :) Again major thanks to Ube for scoping them out for me :D

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sasuke Emotions - My next Sasuke Tribute

"Sasuke Emotions" - ©Arsenette

Back in August I did my first Video on YouTube in tribute to Sasuke. I had a lot of very nice comments and was very happy people enjoyed it! I was however frustrated with the Windows Movie Maker. This time was no different. The music track kept slipping and every time I tried to edit midway through the video to try to synch it with the music it was like performing surgery.. with no anesthesia.. The ending I had to guess at in a few places where the music cuts would end up.. I chose Sasuke 21 and Sasuke 22 footage since it's by far the best quality video I own out of all the Sasuke's... at least until Monster 9 finally releases a compilation of all Sasukes to date on DVD.. /sigh.. a girl can dream.

Quite frankly I have no idea how on Earth I got my hands on this piece. Must have been off a torrent.. cough.. GIFT from someone.. First off .. aaaaaaanyway.. I've had this on my Zen for a while now and for some reason I kept thinking of Sasuke everytime I heard it. My brain just works that way. I think the other day I was talking to a friend of mine saying that I was so distressed that my life goal of becoming a film editor never did pan out thanks to my health issues. Aaaaaaanyway.. the song is called "Maestro" by Hans Zimmer. It's from a movie I've never heard of, or seen or plan to see.. I will however get the soundtrack eventually. I love Hans Zimmer and I own plenty of Soundtracks to movies I can't stand or have never watched :p

Either way.. I did this partly because I really love this show.. and thanks to the interview with Nagano.. I'm a little worried we might not see a Sasuke 23.. In the meantime I'm happy JET TV announced their Sasuke 22 showing (May, 2009 in Taiwan) and also in May is a string of appearances of All-Stars and past competitors to Muscle Park (including Katsumi Yamada, Shingo Yamamoto and Toshihiro Takeda on both the 2nd and the 5th) in celebration of Golden Week. This weekend is also Maguro Festival :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Makoto Nagano - Yodaraji Radio Interview - April 19, 2009

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 posing for cameras during his interview in April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

As I mentioned earlier in early March, Makoto Nagano 長野誠 was to appear in his 4th interview with yodaraji - which is a radio station located in Nobeoka (which absorbed Kitaura, Nagano's hometown) on the east coast of Miyazaki Prefecture. Being of course the local celebrity of the region he's been afforded the opportunity to be on the show whenever he wants :)

Nagano with Yodaraji hosts during the taping of the show - April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

Thanks to my friend chaki for another wonderful translation! {Note that this is not a word for word translation but a general overview of the audio that can be heard also on the website}

This April will be the third year of Yodaraji! How wonderful! Yeah us!! But I have to admit that we haven’t done anything THAT exciting and spectacular. I wonder whether we’d just get older this way… Hmmm. Anyways, to celebrate our third anniversary, we have a special guest today.

I know there are listeners who have been waiting a long time to hear this interview. So here is the Strongest Fisherman from Sasuke, Makoto Nagano, Yodaraji’s permanent special guest.

Makoto Nagano posing with a birthday cake that was given to him as a gift by a local fan - April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

This is Nagano’s fourth appearance on Yodaraji radio (all previous interviews are still on the website - top right of the main page). One of the ladies starts calling him Nagano-kun, which infers familiarity, like if he is her younger brother and everyone laughs. These last six months lots of things have happened to me even in my personal life. Then in March, there was Sasuke and I feel like just apologizing to everyone for my result. This Sasuke (22), the All-stars were all eliminated before my turn. I was so nervous going into it. Then I thought “Oh well, if everyone fell in, it’s okay this time if I do too.” (They groan and protest. “Last time you promised you would reach the final next,” she reminds him. And he says he’s forgotten and giggles big-time.)

Nagano's 37th birthday cake given to him by a local fan - April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

He talks about the new area, saying that he was nervous looking at that new obstacle (presumably the Slider Jump). He goes on and says there are people practicing very hard for it all year around. Then he laughs saying there is pressure coming from “the next generation” as the announcer called it. Lady points out (Keisuke) Hatsuda (Sasuke Announcer) kept repeating “Is it time for the changing of the guards?” implying that the All-stars should be replaced… She acts offended. Nagano giggles again.

Lots of people say that but it only makes us want to try harder. People who don’t know can quickly say we are getting too older but I feel I can still do it. I will train hard for the next Sasuke and prove myself. Lady asks whether there is going to be a Sasuke in the fall. He says that according to the information he has access to, the fall Sasuke is not determined yet. He really hopes there will be a next time because he doesn’t want Sasuke to end with that last performance.

Yodaraji hosts playfully stealing the cake trimmings before he even gets to cut the cake - April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

The broadcast of Sasuke coincided with his birthday (March 30th) and he had really wanted to do well because he just got married (January, 2009), his baby is due (June, 2009) and he wanted to do well at Sasuke as a birthday celebration. He says he is 37 and feeling old. She points out that he nows enters the Around 40 group (it’s a new thing in Japan, people around 37-43 are called Arafo (Around 40) and instead of acting old, they are very active, getting married, having babies, starting companies, going to school, staying in shape, having affairs, etc.) He laughs.

Yodaraji hosts being playfully scolded by Nagano for stealing strawberries on his birthday cake before he sliced it - April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

They talk about his fans. That he has fans wishing him well. He says his baby is due June 20. And that it is a boy. They have thought of a name for him already. She jokes and says it must be Sasuke. Then she suggests Yasuke, which is his father’s name and everyone laughs. (In Japan, passing on names of family members is not done.) Nagano says that he’ll leave the name a secret. He says he’ll let everyone know when the baby is born. They are excited he is agreeing to appear on the show again. Then they talk about promoting 18th Annual Maguro Festival. (Which is this weekend April 25-26 in the city of Kushikino, near Kagoshima, Japan - they will have 2 demonstrations a day (from 11 am - Noon and then again from 2 pm - 3 PM on both Saturday and Sunday). Nagano doesn’t have much background information on it but talks about the All-Stars appearing and that there will be a set for people to try. They talk about the food there. She wants him to treat her. He says they should buy him a tuna burger. He promotes Takasui fish (the company he fishes for). They talk about the reduced highway toll charge. They don’t have the system installed. So they ask to hitch a ride. He says he’ll be going straight from the fishing boat.

Makoto Nagano celebrating his belated 37th birthday (his birthday is March 30th) - April 19, 2009 ©yodaraji

Finally, a message for your fans around the world. I get lots of support fan mail from America and other places. Thank you very much. I would like to do well at the next Sasuke so please keep supporting me.

They talk about how he can complete Sasuke in front of his baby. She suggests a black bib for him. He says Maybe a black tank top too. Laughs. End of interview.

A local fan sent a birthday cake. The pictures are of the ladies stealing parts off before it’s cut and Nagano scolding them. (It’s their personality to treat guests in fun ways that makes the show popular. I quite like them myself.)

Again THANKS a billion to chaki for the quick translation! Interesting on the future of Sasuke being in doubt right now. :( For the stupid things I notice™ menions.. did ya'll notice he got new clothes? Probably free swag from sponsors.. but he FINALLY GOT RID OF THOSE BLACK PANTS! :) His pants are now new Aasics and his shirt is has to be a gift from Descente.. I mean it has his name now! :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Luci Romberg - Sasuke Woman of Steel - Sasuke 21

Luci Romberg doing a sideways flip in the air ©Luci Romberg

I had so much fun doing a story for Michael Milner (from Sasuke 20) that I really really wanted to do blog entries on anyone that managed to get on Sasuke. I'm always fascinated by the show and its participants. I'm always wanting to know who everyone is, where everyone comes from and how they go to the show. After all this is a show of so many people from different walks of life, different levels of athleticism and different occupations. I was very fortunate to get Luci Romberg to let me blog about her :)

Luci Romberg posing in front of the course in Sasuke 21 ©Luci Romberg

For those who don't remember who she is (or are outside of the USA and have never seen G4TV) - she is one of the winners of American Ninja Challenge 3 (or ANC3). (co winner with Mark Witmer and Brian Orosco). For the record I'm only doing Sasuke 21 (Yes she is competing in Sasuke 22 but is under NDA until it airs in G4 - sometime in June.. I think.. coming soooon™...) so I didn't ask any questions regarding that. In March I posted a request for questions here and on both the G4 boards and Proboards. Thank you guys so much for your support of the blog and below are included the questions you asked! A massive thanks also to Luci for being ridiculously uber awesome and not only answering the questions but going out of her way to make sure she did long and nice answers! I'm used to people just basically saying "yes" and "no", etc. and dodging questions. She didn't do that at all and answered all the questions... those she couldn't she tried her best! Anyway.. without further ado here's the blog entry on Luci Romberg!

Luci competing in Gymnastics ©Luci Romberg

While doing my research on her I was SHOCKED to find so much stuff on her! I mean seriously, her list of accomplishments as an athlete were astonishing! I mean I admit I knew nothing about her other than the entry video for American Ninja Challenge 3. It's easy so say "I was a gymnast" and stop there (heck I can say that even though I've never competed!). But not only was she a gymnast she was friggin' awesome in competition! 2003 National Collegiate All-Around Champion, 11 time All-American and 2 time Honda Award Nominee for outstanding Female Collegiate Athlete (2001) (2003). Actually for an awesome interview please read the CCAC North Campus Article. She is an alumni of Texas Women's University. She has her own Imdb page with all her stunt credits (can also be found here Stuntwomen profile). She's also a member of Tempest FreeRunning (with fellow ANC Alumn Brian Orosco).

Team Tempest in London, England ©Luci Romberg

Luci took the time to send me a synopsis of her Sasuke 21 experience before taking questions:
Sasuke 21 was my first entry. I am on a freerunning team called Team Tempest and my teammate, Diddy, who has entered himself before pretty much told me that we were going to make a video to submit. To be honest I really didn't know what Ninja Warrior was or how any of it worked. While making my video, I did not realize I would be competing against the men. When I found out my video made it to the top 19 I was excited and surprised. I would check the comments coming in from people and was so happy to hear the positive support. When I was contacted by G4 that I had won I was so excited but nervous. I was nervous because I did not want to disappoint people when there are so many talented and amazing guys who submitted. I had a lot of support from my family, friends, and teammates! I trained as much as I could and got ready. My goal for the course was to charge everything as much as possible, not hold back, and take one obstacle at a time.

The Barclaycard World Freerun Championships in London, England ©Luci Romberg

It was a crazy September for me. I left August 30th for London with my teammates (Team Tempest) for the Barclay World Freerunning Championships. I was in London only a few days when I flew out to Japan. I was unable to stay for the competition because I had to leave for Tokyo. It was a long flight but when I got to Japan I met Levi, Brian, and Mark at the airport.

We all got along so well and we had a fantastic trip!! We went to Muscle Musical, Muscle Park, freerunning with the local Tokyo guys, and around Tokyo for a day. We then got to the course and it was the greatest feeling just to be there. It was such an honor and the experience of a lifetime. Olivia and Kevin were so great as well. They are very nice and easy to get along with. I can't tell you the excitement I felt when I got to meet Nagano, Takeda, Yamamoto, Yamada, and Shiratori!! They are all such amazing athletes and it was such an honor to meet them. The day of the competition I was very nervous. I wanted to do well and make my family, friends, teammates, and G4 proud that they chose me to go. I feel like I did well, but I was a little disappointed I fell on the half pipe attack. Looking back I know what I did wrong. I should have run up the wall instead of straight at the rope. Anyway, I had one of the best times of my life and I am truly honored to be part of such an amazing competition and group of people.

Non-Sasuke questions:

Having no idea who you are personally.. I see "Steel" in some places and "Romberg" in others. Is it a married name? or is it more of a nickname like "NoSole" (Brian Orosco)?
My real name is Luci Romberg. Steel is my nickname my freerunning team, Team Tempest, gave me. NoSole and I are now both members of Team Tempest.

What came first - Freerunning or Stunts? What made you decide on each?
Stunts came first. In college (Texas Women's University) I was a National Champion gymnast as well as an All-Conference soccer player. My gymnastics teammate, Natascha Hopkins, who is a few years older than me, came back to visit my senior year. She had moved out to Los Angeles and was doing stunts and acting. She pretty much convinced me to move to LA and try it out. After I graduated (May 2004) I spent the summer traveling around Europe with my two best friends from high school. When I got back to Colorado (where I grew up) I stayed with my parents for a few months, saved some money by working at Chilis, then my mom and I made the drive to California on January 1, 2005. I trained and networked a lot in the stunt world and started working on various films and tv shows. My same friend, Natascha, booked the movie Paul Blart, Mall Cop as a freerunner/actress and started training with my now teammate Victor Lopez. I came along and started training with Victor and Team Tempest as well. This was about a year ago exactly (April 2008). I just clicked with the guys and they were looking to add a girl so it just worked perfectly. Freerunning is my new found love!! It is so freeing and it is the best feeling in the world to be able to do a move I never would have thought possible. Stunts and freerunning are my passions in life!!

Luci with her brother Brady ©Luci Romberg

Do you have any siblings?
My brother, Brady, is 2 years younger than me. He graduated from Colorado School of Mines with a physics engineering degree. He was the starting pitcher on the baseball team. He is an unbelievable athlete (just like my parents). After he graduated he came to LA for the summer to visit. I showed him the stunt world and he fell in love with it. He is now a professional stuntman and is our manager for Team Tempest.

Luci's sister Carly and Luci's parents ©Luci Romberg

My sister, Carly, is finishing her final semester of college in Spain. She has a full ride volleyball scholarship to the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She was libero (defensive position) of the year for two years in a row and is only the 12th player in NCAA history to get over 2,000 digs in her career! I'm hoping when she finishes this semester she will move out to LA and live with my brother and I in the new house we just bought together.

Luci in Muscle Park trying out the Shin-Cliffhanger ©Luci Romberg

How was your experience at Muscle Park?
Muscle park was fun! It was my first time on something like that and it was a great experience. I think it is a great thing for the general public to get to try. The cliff hanger there is made of wood and is really slippery from the oils on peoples hands. The salmon ladder is hard too. It is heavy and it sticks. I had trouble with that one. All the obstacles are hard. That is what makes Sasuke so great!!

Brian Orosco, Toshihiro Takeda, Luci Romberg, Shingo Yamamoto, Levi Meeuwenberg, Mark Witmer ©Luci Romberg

Sasuke questions:
It's a loooooooong day to tape Sasuke. What time did you get there? What did you do during the taping? When did it finally end?
If I remember correctly we left the hotel at 7:30am so we could be there by 8am. We had to do the shot with all the competitors and then they had a tester go through the course. They explained the obstacles in Japanese (which is obviously useless to me). We were able to watch as much as we wanted to. I love watching all the competitors, so for the majority of the day I watched people's runs. Before my run, I warmed up a little and stayed hydrated. I was really nervous and visualized the course several times. After my run, I was able to relax and enjoy the whole experience a little more. I goofed around with Olivia some, talked to Nagano, Takeda, Yamamoto, and Yamada. They were all so great. We had a translator the whole time and I had such a blast talking to all those guys. I brought Team Tempest t-shirts to give to all the All-Stars as gifts and they loved it. It was awesome!! When I was there for Sasuke 22 I talked to Yamamoto and his wife for awhile and he said he wears it to workout all the time. That made my day!! He was also really excited that I worked with Harrison Ford. He is a great guy!!

I can't remember exactly when we left Sasuke 21 but it was somewhere around 2 am I believe. I just remember I didn't get hardly any sleep by the time we drove back to our hotel in Shinjuku because I had an early flight to NYC. As soon as I landed in NYC I had to drive to the Hamptons and go straight to set (I was working on a pilot called Suburban Shootout for the last 3 weeks of September). It was a crazy but amazing month for me!!

Brian Orosco, Makoto Nagano and Luci Romberg ©Luci Romberg

Not knowing who most of everyone was since you really didn't follow the show as us geeks do - was there a competitor that you liked? (doesn't have to be an All-Star)
When I found out I was going I started watching it. Right away I like Yamamoto and Nagano. I though they were both so cute and inspiring. They are such great athletes and I love to watch them compete. They are truly amazing!!

For us All-Star geeks - did you have a favorite All-Star?
Yamamoto and Nagano. If I had to choose, I'd say Nagano. He is always smiling and happy to be there. He has such a great attitude and is an unbelievable athlete!!

G4 Representation in Sasuke 21 (Back Row) Mark Witmer, Brian Orosco, Levi Meewenberg. (Front Row) Kevin Pereira, Olivia Munn and Luci Romberg ©Luci Romberg

Do you have a favorite obstacle? (One you got to or even one someone else did that you wished you could try).
It's hard to choose a favorite obstacle because they are all so great and unique in their own way. My favorite obstacle I got to do was the barrel cling (Log Grip). For me, I'm so small, that I feel it is more fair because height doesn't necessarily give you an advantage and most obstacles, if you're tall you have an advantage. (I'm not complaining). The one I wanted to try the most was (I don't know the name) the backwards stairs on stage 3 (Devil Steps). It looked so fun to be that high in the air dangling from your arms!

(my own question) - In the post-show for Ninja Fest - Did Olivia break up that question thing with Nagano do give him candy or did you finish your conversation or was that all planned? What happened afterwards? (I know I was a bit perturbed when it happened so bear with me and no you don't have to answer it).
To be honest, I don't remember all that well. So much went on that day, but I'm pretty sure Olivia giving Nagano candy was not planned. She is just funny like that and will pop in and say or do something funny. I'm pretty sure I was finished talking with him. That I can remember, nothing happened after that.

Did you watch Sasuke 21 (TBS version in September) at all and/or did you watch Ninja Fest in November on G4?
I watched the TBS version several weeks after it came out and then I had some friends and my teammates over and we watched the G4 version together.

Last but certainly not least - I plan to use screenshots of you on the course (Note: I just used the G4 video) could you maybe do a summation of what you were thinking when you did each obstacle? That way when I use the screenshots of each we have a general idea of what you were thinking at the time.
This is a hard one... I was an athlete for so long that when I compete I just get in the zone and concentrate on the task at hand. I'll try to recap as best as I can:
  • On the sextuplet steps I was just thinking about being strong in my legs and not going too fast and being solid on each step. On the final step I made sure I had explosive power on my right foot to clear the gap.
  • On the barrel cling all I did was hold on for dear life. I mean, I held onto that darn barrel with everything I had!!!
  • On the pole maze I just made sure I had enough power into it to make it slide. I got a little disoriented when it spun me around but I just looked up and you can see where you need to jerk it. I was a little nervous I wasn't going to be tall enough to reach the platform off the pole but it turned out just fine.
  • On the jumping spider, it is pretty much a blur. I was pretty surprised when I made it because it is such a stretch for my short legs. I just made sure I hit the middle of the mini tramp and I got as high and far as I could and it worked out for me. It was a little slippery on the glass so I had to go a little slower than planned. But it was okay.
  • On the half pipe attack I was pretty tired going into it. I just ran as fast as I could and grabbed the rope (or tried to grab the rope). I was surprised at the thickness of the rope in my small hands and I was surprised when I hit the water. I thought I had it. DARN!!
Questions opened up to board members, etc. I'll do my best to get the names/usernames and locations correct along whether they were from the G4 boards and/or Proboards:

ShadyNinja from Florida (G4 boards) - How did it feel to go farther than any other woman on Sasuke 21 and for that matter farther than most of the competitors?
Thank you for the great question! I personally don't like to compare myself to others. I set personal goals and I was proud of how I did but I know I can do better. It's cool to say I got farther than any other female but there are a lot of females out there, that given the chance, would do way better than me. I was just honored to be there.

Luci ©G4

Ultimask8ter (G4 boards) - Did you get any SASUKE promo stuff, like a T-Shirt or something from the set? BTW great job on "out handstanding" all the guys! Your endurance is very impressive!
Thank you! I love to do handstands and I love being able to hold it longer than the guys ;) I bought (expensive) Sasuke t-shirts for my family (mom, dad, brother, and sister). We were given a t-shirt, but I gave it to my freerunning teammate (Team Tempest) Paul Darnell because he was the one who did my video and had me submit. Without him I wouldn't even know what Ninja Warrior is. I owe him a lot!! So after it was all said and done I don't have a shirt for myself but thats okay, I have the amazing memories.

Luci on the Morro in San Juan Puerto Rico (You know I had to include this pic) ©Luci Romberg

SRW (G4 boards) Hi Luci from England, I don't know if you can really answer this one or not but I'll ask, when Nagano and Takeda etc were doing stage 3 we saw Brian and Levi watching, were you watching stage 3 too? and if so I wondered if you could tell me - before the competitors attempt the stage does a tester actually do a demonstration through the whole stage first to prove everythings passable in short did you actually see a tester clear that evil gliding ring? Just wondered cheers
Hi!! Yes I was there for the entire competition. They use several testers throughout the stages. So on stage 3 they used 4 or 5 testers. I'm pretty sure the guy who tested the "evil gliding ring" passed it barely. He had a lot of trouble and that was the only obstacle that he tested so he had fresh arms and still could barely do it. Nagano is AMAZING!!! When I first saw stage 3 I remember thinking that there is no way anyone will ever pass this, but Nagano almost did! I was so impressed!

ANC3 arrive at Sasuke 21 ©G4

Talledega7 (Sasuke Maniacs Forums) - You were the first woman to be sent from the Ninja Challenge. What was the reaction people in Japan had to seeing you as a representative? Were they surprised that a woman had been chosen?
To be honest I really didn't notice them having a reaction one way or another. Most of the competitors probably had no idea who I was or where I was from. If they did they didn't say anything. I remember Nagano and Takeda said they were hoping I would be the first girl to clear the new stage 1. Too bad I couldn't live up to their expectations. I tried really hard though ;)

Rachael Harris and Luci Romberg (She was Rachel's Stunt Double) ©Luci Romberg

Brandon N. in Chicago (g4fan2007)(Sasuke Maniacs Forums) - Hey Luci, I was very happy to hear you were announced as a winner in ANC, as I voted for you. While you didn't make it past the first stage, you've became the only female to get as far as you did since the renovation. So, congrats with that accomplishment. Now my question: Who was the person you were around most, meaning who did you talk to the most, or would be near more often than others?
Hey Brandon. Thank you for your kind words and support. That means a lot to me that you voted for me! I'm a social person so I kind of like to hang out and chat with everybody. I hung out a lot with Levi, Brian, and Mark, but the whole G4 crew from producers to sound guys were so great! Olivia and Kevin are awesome too!! I spent a lot of time talking with Mark. He is a fantastic guy and it was so hard to see him injured because he would have done SO well.

Patrick from Chicago (Chief Illiniwek)(Sasuke Maniacs Forums) - Hey Luci, I was just wondering, what was going through your mind when you were starting your run on the course?
Hey Patrick. I was very nervous! I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I was so lucky to be there and I really wanted to represent not only the US but women everywhere. Being a national champion gymnast in college I know (somewhat) how to deal with pressure. I just focus on the task at hand and don't get ahead of myself. One obstacle at a time. I just wanted to focus on having fun because that is what it is all about.

Roberto from Long Island, New York. (homeslice)(Sasuke Maniacs Forums) - How did it feel to be the first woman to ever clear the dreaded Jumping Spider? What was going through your mind when you faced that obstacle?
To be honest I was pretty surprised when I cleared it. It is so far for my little legs to reach and I wasn't sure I would be physically able to do it. So I was pretty pumped when I got it. When I faced the obstacle I concentrated on hitting the middle of the mini tramp and getting as high and far as I could. I was lucky that I hit it just right and it worked out for me.

Luci and Katsumi Yamada ©Luci Romberg

chackpop (Sasuke Maniacs Forums) Luci, do you know where Washimi Yuji, motorcross guy number 89, or Okuyama number 95 failed in sasuke 21?
I am so sorry to say that I don't know where either of them failed. I could do some research for you but off the top of my head I don't know. Arsenette, a little help here :) Do you know? (Actually I don't know.. that's one of the mysteries only because TBS cut their runs)

Luci, Makoto Nagano and Levi Meeuwenberg ©G4

gazzawhite (Sasuke Maniacs Forums) I have 2 questions, which I know have been answered before by others, but confirmation/details from somebody more directly involved (i.e. Luci) would be great: 1. What were you and Nagano talking about? I gather it was about technique/improvement on the Halfpipe Attack (anything more detailed than that would be sweet ). 2. I was told that Mark did not do as well as others because he pulled a nerve from a side event conducted on the same day. Is that why he failed the Log Grip? Or were there other reasons? Thanks so much for considering these questions, Luci and Arsenette (even if you don't answer them)!!!
Nagano and I were talking about why I failed on the half pipe attack. It all happens so fast and I wasn't really sure why I failed. Nagano was telling me it was because I concentrated on the rope instead of the wall. I should have focused on getting higher on the wall so I would have had a better angle on the rope.
Mark had nerve damage on, I believe, his left hand. He injured it the day before, but I am not sure on what. I remember the night before he had no feeling and no strength in his left 2 or 3 fingers. Since he couldn't feel his fingers, no matter how strong you are, there is no way you could pass the log grip. It just falls too hard and violently. I just want to add what an amazing guy and athlete Mark Witmer is. It was such an honor to have had the opportunity to meet him.

Cody-Clemson, South Carolina (Ifrt)(Sasuke Maniacs Forums) - I have 2 questions, the 1st is pretty obvious 1. If Kunoichi/Women of Ninja Warrior is revived would you consider giving that course a shot? 2. What do you think based on what the course looked like in 21 was the most intimidating obstacle?
I would love to give Kunoichi a try. That would be so much fun! I love any new challenge or experience. If they offered me a spot I would be there in a heartbeat!
Sticking to stage 1, for me, the most intimidating obstacle was the flying shoot because that would have been, in my observation, the most difficult to clear because of my height. I would have loved to have made it that far and try it. Darn!!

Luci in Tokyo ©Luci Romberg

Tricia from Arkansas - Who did she want to meet but didn't? Other than Sasuke, what was the coolest thing about Japan? What music, if any, does she listen to when working out? Favorite music?
I was disappointed Akiyama was not there. I heard a rumor that he had a sick relative. (I have since sent Luci the Akiyama - Rise Up Blog) He is really the only one that I was not able to meet. Other than Sasuke my favorite thing about Japan are the people. Everyone is so nice and friendly! They are always willing to help and have such great charisma!
When working out I listen to upbeat, fun music. Today on my run I listened to Lady Gaga's Poker face, Soulja Boy's Kiss Me Through the Phone, Panic at the Disco's Nine in the Afternoon. Stuff like that :)
I LOVE to sing so my favorite music is anything I can sing along with. Whether it be country, pop, alternative, etc. I just love to sing anytime, anywhere.

Again a GAZILLION Thanks to Luci Romberg for taking the time and humoring this Sasuke blog chick :) It was a great experience and for those of you at home lemme explain how fun it was to talk to her! I hope you all have an opportunity to meet her! (Me included!) Hope more people like her grace the Sasuke Stage! Truly a classy person! Women Rock! Wait.. Steel!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sasuke 22 - Spoilerific Review - Part 12




Sasuke spoilerific review ;) Warning.. incoming blog of Sasuke 22.. if you don’t want to know.. you have been warned :D For a preview of this event.. Please see SASUKE NAVI Spring 2009 (1 hour review of Sasuke 22 with fluff pieces of all the major players in the upcoming Sasuke!) Oh.. and as Ube says: If you are from the G4 Forums, DON'T POST THIS THERE.


Next up is Lee Yen Chi リー・エンチ - who makes climbing up walls look like child's play as he FLIES up this wall...

Lee training in every surface he could find

Lee Yen Chi リー・エンチ - Rock Climber from Taiwan

No problems on the Arm Rings

It's so cute :) He puts on Sasuke Spray and then puts his hands together to test how sticky they are.. each time making it look like he's praying!

Clear on the Hanging Balls.. er.. uh.. Lamp Grasper

No problems on the Devil Steps either

More Sasuke Spray and prayer.. the Shin Cliffhanger is next..

A lot of preparation for this one.. for some reason I'm not confident. If he gets past this he would have no problems if he got the Hang Climber.. but .. not sure..

Here he goes! This is his first ever attempt at this..

A little struggle getting to the second rail

Again showing the struggle to the second rail

WHOAH.. he slipped off the middle of the rail..

But he's able to recoup

He's starting to swing but having all SORTS of issues

I'm not liking his form... he seems to be really struggling with the timing

K he's back again trying to regain his form but his swings are small

OUCH not even close! He seemed to swing then somehow left the middle rail before he got to the apex of the swing to the right..

Awwww he had no hope to even catch the 3rd rail :(

Here's the overhead

His arms came apart and never even got to touch the ledge I don't' believe

Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 who's already waiting for the final is reacting

Is he over analyzing what went wrong? LOL

Lee Yen Chi リー・エンチ- Death by Shin-Cliffhanger

Here's the replay using the reverse angle showing when he started to fall off the 2nd rail

He managed to keep himself from falling there

Here's his final swing to get to the 3rd rail

But you saw he came over too early and didn't allow for the full swing. I think he managed to get a couple fingers on the rail but his body was WAY out of position to do anything about it.

Yeah.. he had no chance to recover

Still an AWESOME tournament for Lee Yen Chi リー・エンチ

Ube is definately right on this - JET TV has to be having kittens right now! He's had a VERY successful career in Sasuke! I'm sure when it finally airs in Taiwan they will have a party for him!

Ube says that he is saying that he wants to return! I'd love to see him come back! (P.S. Since the airing he has actually gone to Muscle Park to mess with the Shin-Cliffhanger!)

Our final competitor in Stage 3 is Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行

Okuyama Family Cam™ - Daughter 5, Son 8.. Wife.. you know the drill.. Don't ask :p

Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 - Here he is in the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, Japan in the 200 meters (the one that Michael Johnson fubarred the field :p) - Quarterfinals - Heat 4 - he came in 5th place on August 26, 1991

He is now a "sports instructor"

This is him giving a class

And yes he does smile! LOL

Cute video of him with his kids again (Damn that's a small refridgerator!)

Boy he seems really relaxed this time around! Maybe he knows TBS can't possibly edit him out like they did in Sasuke 21.. LOL (No guarantees for G4 though .. sorry buddy..)

Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 - Former World Sprinter

Clear on the Arm Rings

Bah.. Yamada making an appearance :p Okay okay it's a commercial announcement over his his Hanging Balls.. er.. Lamp Grasper

Getting ready for the Devil Steps

Devil Steps cleared.. now.. the part I'm not sure he can do.. at least not yet..

Getting ready for the Shin Cliffhanger

Daughter watching intently

No problems getting to the middle ledge..

Oh he tries to stretch out like Shunsuke Nagasaki did..

Second hand cups over the first.. gaaaah that's not going to work..

Yep there he goes :(

Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行 - Death by Shin Cliffhanger

He got a better swing than Lee did though

Just opened up too early and tried to stretch out rather than jump..

Didn't give himself enough space for the other hand while his body was already dropping straight down

Yuuji saying Shi... actually no.. LOL I don't know what he's saying but he's watching..

Kanno joins in the GAAAAAAAAAH moment..

Okuyama Family Cam™ - most of the people in the shot watching the Jumbotron thing while wife is watching live

Yep.. feel your pain..

Smiles coming from Okuyama though

Okuyama: Craaaaaaaaaaaaap...

Okuyama Family Cam™ - they clap in admiration for a great tournament!

Sorry but I'm surprised I didn't have to stretch much to find smiling pictures of this guy! Sasuke 20 he didn't smile.. I don't think.. at all?

I seriously hope he comes back!

Okuyama Family Cam™ - Cute family pics while wife is clapping for the wonderful performance of her husband

Here we go! Stage 4 of Sasuke 22!

Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 getting ready for his climb to glory! .. while Paul ANTHONY Terek is in the back with his iPod :p

Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 .. why are they asking him? Oooooooh I get it.. he's latching on because of what happened in BUG in MIKI... I got it.. More on that later though..

It's been 2 frelling years..

But we finally got someone to fondle this thing! It's Epic don't go away!

On October 16, 1999 we had our first champion in Sasuke 4

First Champion Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦

Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 - his win caused the Final Stage to be reworked!

This mammoth beast was created after Akiyama's triumph!

It took this guy four tries.. and the rest of the field 7 years to finally defeat it in Sasuke 17 on October 11, 2006

Makoto Nagano 長野誠 became the second champion of Sasuke causing yet another reworking of the Final Stage

What followed was another 2 years before anyone would even REACH the final stage

In Sasuke 19.. Yuji Washimi 鷲見裕二 was the last person to compete but he too was defeated on the Salmon Ladder ending hopes of reaching the Final Stage

In Sasuke 20 it was Levi Meeuwenberg who got closer than anyone to getting to the Final Stage

But the last man standing was defeated just short of the Final at the Shin Cliffhanger

Sasuke 21 was the tournament were 2 people got closer than ever before!

Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 came close by defeating the Shin Cliffhanger but was ultimately defeated a couple obstacles before the Final at the Hang Climbing

Then when we all thought it couldn't be done.. Someone almost got to the final in Sasuke 21

But just inches to the final.. Makoto Nagano 長野誠 fell off the Gliding Ring

Finally in this tournament a new hero has emerged and we will finally see someone attempt to conquer the new Final Stage!

Monster 9 and TBS is proud to unveil.. the New Final Stage!

It's comprised of 2 obstacles. You first have to start going up a rope ladder called the Heavenly Climb that is 13 meters high (42.65 feet). The total height of the Tower is 23 meters (or 75.46 feet.. yikes that's high..)

The final 10 feet is all rope.. they call it the "G Rope".. yes.. you read right.. GROPE!!! Sorry but I can't stop laughing now.. (mind.. racing... with dirty jokes...)

All that and you have 45 seconds to complete the climb and hit that red button

New Final Tower is now set up and ready and screaming "BRING IT ON BEATCHES!!"

Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 is overseeing the preparations

Roll that beautiful bean footage! Wait.. that's not right.. Al Bundy! Sorry.. it's just not that engaging.. he sells friggin SHOES..

Ha! He got 3 signatures on one paper! Shunsuke Nagasaki 長崎 峻侑 across the top, Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 (Mr. Sasuke) on the left and Makoto Nagano 長野誠 on the right :) Yay I'm doing pretty good! (My guess is that he got the signatures in Muscle Park)

Okay back to BUG in MIKI... little did I know when I blogged about this last year would it come up SO MUCH lately.

This is where Yuuji (and Keita Tomino 富野恵太) defeated the Allstars in mock competition.

Because of this feat (and since Yuuji beat Keita in the timed trial) he managed to be invited to participate in Sasuke 21 (his run was digested in the main broadcast but shown in full in Sasuke Maniac)

It was here than something very interesting happened that has since changed Yuuji's mind about someone in particular..

Yuuji used to be a HUGE fan of Mr. Sasuke Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己..

Until he DISSED HIM IN PUBLIC!!!! Yuuji was bowing very low showing his awe and respect for him.. and what does Katsumi do? BLOW HIM OFF and just ripped his hand out and kept walked away from him.. yep.. anyone that saw the broadcast all saw it.. Wow..

TBS cut the footage here.. probably to save Mr. Sasuke further humiliation but in the 2 times Yuuji has been with Katsumi.. neither have spoken to each other on camera.. take your own conclusions but I think it's pretty clear..

Yuuji has tried to qualify for Sasuke a couple times from this footage.

In 2007 he failed the landing of the Pipe Slider in Muscle Park thus eliminating his chances to go on to Sasuke (possibly Sasuke 19.. not sure if it was 18 or 19)

In the Winter of 2008 for Sasuke 20 he again tried his luck in Sasuke Trials

AGAIN he was defeated in Sasuke Trials (this was for Sasuke 20)

Just a couple months later Yuuji would get a reprieve from Monster 9 and an invite because of his amazing performance in BUG in MIKI defeating all the All-Stars at that event

Even though he did well in Sasuke 21 he was again forced back to Sasuke Trials!

But THIS time he earned his trip by being one of the final 7 to qualify for Sasuke 21

It was this trip in March that brought him here today

Not sure what this all stands for.. dang not being able to read kanji.. but he doesn't own a course.. he uses playgrounds to do his training

Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (#3 Cliffer) - being interviewed while they do final preperations

Ube was kind enough to post that the people are holding signs that read 完全制覇 (kanzen seiha) while the first two 漆原 would be spelling out his last name Urushihara

The Stage 3 Finalists Lee, Kanno and Okuyama (and his son)

LOL Kanno is hardcore with that jewelry.. first the KISS rings now the chunky skull necklace

Yuuji's heart must be racing..

Cool shot of the camera zooming in from the top

TBS reporter chick showing how friggin' high 75 feet is

I'm getting the willies..

Doing the looooong announcement

Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (#3 Cliffer) - Shoe salesman

Unintentional cool transition shot :p

Kinda wanted to see the Steel Ladder they had set up for 18-20 but hey screw it.. at least someone is ON it!

On last final prayer

And up.. HOLY CRAP he's FLYING! Geez after seeing the girls nilly up the same rope ladder with prissy er.. uhm.. precision.. I see this guy totally going up like it's a solid friggin' ladder.. holy crap he's destroying this thing!

I don't think people realize how fast this guy is going..

Transition to the GROPE!!! Er.. rope.. called G.. ehem.. get my composure..

I DON'T CARE WHAT NUMO IS SELLING!!!!!!! (LOL Ube: Don't complain. You knew it was coming.)

Meanwhile back on the G-Rope (chuckles..)

He's substantially slower but still going up in a really nice pace

Gaaaah.. that's a lot of territory to cover and he doesn't have the ridiculous climbing skills of Takeda, Akiyama or Nagano.. (more than Nagasaki though.. by a LONG shot - I expect hate mail..)

You see the camera guy on the left and the reporter chick on the right

LMAO! The reporter chick is banging on the platform to get him to hurry up!

She's banging ferociously! But .. alas.. it's all but over

AAAAAAAAAAAAH so close! Now granted.. I was in a bit of a shock. With the commercials and the end of Sasuke Navi you had this bit of a shock to not see him win. I mean they didn't say he was going to win but it was thought he would. Either way he had a FANTASTIC tournament and by no means a dissapointment!

Aww he hears the time up! Luckily they didn't drop him down.. nothing like having a rope ladder straddle your family jewels.. at a high rate of speed.. that would have .. yeah..

He pulls himself onto the platform in exhaustion

.. again.. that back of his..

Ugh.. seeing how close he got hurts..

Lee is horrified

Stage 3 Finalists all reacting

Fans all seeing the time go up

Dissapointment obviously

Yuuji is still all smiles though

Appreciative applause for one HECK of a tournament

Subdued cliffers (all in black with the UNCLI shirts) - Yamamoto #5, Matsuda #1, Matachi #2, Tomino #4)

Yuuji - Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Soooo close!!

Credits start to roll while replays of his climb play on

This was the first time you see the TBS people WILLING someone up to the top! Please save our ratings! For the Love of everything holy TOUCH THE DAMN BUTTON! ROFL!!

TBS Chick showing Yuuji the view from the top

Monster 9 and TBS thanks you for watching!

I for one totally enjoyed this tournament! It was unexpected and refreshing to watch new people get their time in the spotlight! I won't bother trying to figure out how much G4 is going to massacre this thing.. for now I'm happy at the TBS production. The only major complaint was the first stage hopping back and forth a la G4 editing style so we didn't know wtf was going next in the line up.. especially when they had numbers on...

Final Shot of Sasuke 22 - Yuuji triumphantly makes it to the Final Stage!

Can't WAIT for Sasuke 23!!