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Friday, July 30, 2010

Sasuke Related Updates - July Part 2

Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 posing in West Palm Beach, Florida - September, 2008 ©Pittsburgher

Got a message last night.
お知らせが遅くなりました。8月初旬に弊社運営 金比羅丸船団の船長の一人 長野 誠 船長がアメリカ_ロスに行ってイベント?セレクション?に参加することになりました。おって詳報しますね!
(Nagano going to LA in beginning of August for a selection/event. More details to come.)

Seems Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 is making a return trip to the United States. A lot of you remember that his first trip was back in September, 2008 for an anime convention he was invited to called Chibipa. Thanks to Pittsburgher for her great blogging work on that trip! (Pictures, Pictures, Pictures, Pictures, Video, Transcript of video). As of now the details are a bit fuzzy but it's clear he's coming for ANW2 in Los Angeles. California. He will be arriving just before ANW2 which starts Saturday, August 7th and runs to Monday, August 9th (though exact details on the reality TV inspired final are not clear). At this time it is unclear how long he will be staying here in the USA. I'll save my ranting on the prize money issue to that one post. As I get more details on Nagano's visit I'll most likely post if it's big news but for the most part I'll keep most of the discussion on the forums. So for you guys planning on going to watch American Ninja Warrior 2 in Los Angeles, PLEASE say hi and welcome Makoto Nagano back to the United States.. and SEND ME PICS so I can post them :) You know me and pictures! :D mwahahahahahah So sucks being poor and not being able to travel... /sigh I hope his trip is a pleasant one! Btw.. that explains why Nagano wasn't at the other events in July.. he had August already booked. ;)

All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦, TV Host Hiromichi Sato 佐藤弘道 and All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 ©Hiromichi Sato

In other news ya'll remember that the grand opening of the new Muscle Park in Chitose, Hokkaido that they dub "Chitose Muscle Park" 千歳マッスルパーク (Several Blogs on the subject) It took place on Sunday, July 18, 2010. I was a bit disappointed with the pictures from the official site though. Before that and after that all the pictures were high quality and size.. but for the official opening I had better pictures from fans than from the park.

Official ribbon cutting ceremony. All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩, TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道, Monster 9 President and CEO - Ushio Higuchi 樋口 潮 (center) unidentified businessman (He might be the manager) and All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦 during the Grand Opening of Chitose's Muscle Park on July 18, 2010 ©Muscle Park Chitose

I was severely disappointed with this picture alone. Just like it was back in December, 2006, the most important picture of the event is one of the smallest. I can barely see the faces of who is cutting the ribbon. It's a shame really. The obstacle pictures have such fine detail while a commemorative picture like this is so small you can barely see the details of it. If I didn't know who was coming beforehand I wouldn't recognize half the people in this picture.

All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 on the Ultimate Cliffhanger アルティメットクリフハンガー in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©PureBlog

As I mentioned in the previous blog - Muscle Park Chitose has 6 obstacles in their brand new Sasuke Park attraction. It would have been great if video was taken of the All-Stars going through them. I would think Sasuke 26's Navi will have more video of this in September (provided they officially announce it..).. it's so painfully obvious now there is one.

All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦 on the Muscle Athletic マッスルアスレチック ©Muscle Park Chitose

Thanks to Lost in Ube I finally know wtf is this obstacle LOL. The name sounds redundant but hey the obstacle looks cool! It is just SO nice that Akiyama finally gets demonstration duty for Monster 9. I thought they just about forgot about him! Now.. if they can only start inviting Yuuji then all will be good in the world. But I digress.

All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦 on the Pipe Slider パイプスライダー ©Muscle Park Chitose

All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 ©gon-taro

Checking through blogs it seemed a lot of people understandably were paying more attention to Sato being there since he is the celebrity in the list. Still, I'm happy some fans took pics of the All-Stars. To us they are Sasuke. I do laugh at this picture... I think Takeda now has that shirt in 5 colors.. LOL

All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦, TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道 and All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩

So while I'm disappointed in the amount of pictures for the grand opening, I am happy that 2 of my favorite All-Stars were able to come. Knowing now that Nagano was busy working knowing he was coming to the US in August, 2010 it was nice that M9 invited faces that we know to represent Sasuke at the opening ceremony. I just wish they'd release more pictures somewhere.

All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 ©Muscle Park Chitose

Given the amount of publicity the park got from the opening and the amount of blogs and tweets expressing how they now have something to do during those cold months of winter, I'm happy that there is a future for this park out in a remote area of Japan. I'm happy it's so well received already and do hope they continue the momentum.

All-Stars Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山和彦 and Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 ©personal blog

Ya'll are going to laugh at me. I can't help but think of an old commercial when I see this picture. I just keep humming in my head "My buddy and me!" I'm happy they get along so well. God I wish we had more pictures.. grrrrr

All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 on the Salmon Ladder サーモンラダー ©Muscle Park Chitose

Anyway if I find more updates on Nagano's trip and on Chitose's opening I'll be sure to post it when I have enough to warrant a blog. In the meantime I'm passing popcorn!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The latest on ANW

The past couple of months have been difficult avoiding this subject here on Rambling Rican. I only eluded to the original back during the Training blogs I did back in summer of 2009 and I refused to write about it on this blog after I saw G4 preempt Sasuke 23 in favor of ANW in December, 2009. Only after fan backlash did they show Sasuke 23 (several months later) and even so they edited out all the Americans to further propagate the notion that somehow M9 gave them free reign over Sasuke. For various other reasons I can't stand the decisions made by G4 in regards to their supposed "promotion" of Sasuke since it's been perfectly clear that G4 has ever intention of replacing Sasuke here in the USA with American Ninja Warrior. A move that will prove costly to us fans here who are genuine fans of the original Japanese Series - Sasuke. I will note for the record that I refuse to write about ANW when Monster 9 gives them sole license to Sasuke in the USA when Sasuke is canceled in Japan. Given the current ratings climate I figured Sasuke is really on it's last legs in Japan. Even though Monster 9's position is not to cancel Sasuke yet, I don't see how any recent decisions are pointing to longevity of Sasuke in Japan.

As the application process for American Ninja Warrior 2 has come to a close, more information is trickling in about certain benefits American competitors are getting over their counterparts in Japan. Everything from additional spots than even Sasuke 23 (where the USA got 10 guaranteed spots) to getting additional money just because they are American. The last one is upsetting me so much it's hard to think straight. At last post the information received via email from various competitors is as follows:

As an extra incentive, G4 just released that the American who completes the Japan course in the shortest time wins $250,000!

Thanks! Chelsea

So the long and short of it is this. If you are American and you win Sasuke - G4 will give you $250,000 US ($21,700,000 Yen) in addition to the 2,000,000 Yen and whatever other prize Monster 9 and TBS gives out. If you are Japanese, Taiwanese or any other nationality you don't get the additional $250,000. Why? Because you are not American.

Sasuke used to mean things to people - now it's all based on money. Thanks to G4... again. So far since their involvement in Sasuke the original show has deteriorated in my eyes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Muscle Park Chitose - Obstacles

Front Door to Muscle Park Chitose ©poroco

(Edit: Just as I post this I see another blog with pictures - I'll incorporate it in the blog)

Seems as we get closer to the grand opening of the new Muscle Park in Chitose, Hokkaido that they dub "Chitose Muscle Park" 千歳マッスルパーク we get more updates online. Between Twitter, local newspapers and blogs I'm finding all sorts of pictures. The grand opening is actually this Sunday, July 18th but they have a small ceremony expected on Saturday, July 17th and it seems that they are letting the public come in and have a look early.

Posing in front of the Monster Box ©poroco

One blog (poroco) did a fantastic job of showing the Sasuke course (and some other attractions inside of Muscle Park Chitose) in detail! For us geeks who like seeing what's in this place we have a special sneak peek! The Monster Box set at the World record height seems to be the gateway to Sasuke Park!

Devil Steps デビルステップス in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©The Hokkaido Shimbun Press

Sasuke Park seems to start you off on the Sasuke 3rd stage obstacle Devil Steps デビルステップス (or at least a smaller variation of it) moving to the left. This picture was provided by a newspaper article - The Hokkaido Shimbun Press.

Devil Steps デビルステップス in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©Tomanin

Edit: New article from Tomanin with a similar Devil Steps デビルステップス picture but a much longer article on the Park and what they expect from it.

Salmon Ladder サーモンラダー (must look to the left (before the Unstable Bridge) as it is in the 2nd stage ©hanaokashungo

Had to edit this in (Thanks Supersheep for finding it). Just as I posted this page a new obstacle was found. The 2nd stage Salmon Ladder サーモンラダー. Please look to the left of the picture (above the green mat leading to the Unstable Bridge).

Salmon Ladder サーモンラダー ©HTB

There.. found another picture and this time with someone on it! Hmm.. seems it was on TV.. must find this clip somewhere..

Unstable Bridge アンステーブルブリッジ in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©poroco

Next it seems you go on the Sasuke 2nd stage obstacle the Unstable Bridge アンステーブルブリッジ . I'm sure in coming days we will get better pictures of each of the obstacles but for now these are just fine.

Ultimate Cliffhanger アルティメットクリフハンガー in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©poroco

Next obstacle is a variation on the new 3rd stage (and 5th incarnation of the Cliffhanger) obstacle the Ultimate Cliffhanger アルティメットクリフハンガー. This one is notably missing the bottom 2 rungs on the left side but that's overkill to have that in a family park! I do hope they keep THIS one clean...

Umbilical Cord.. yes.. I said that.. Anbirikarukodo アンビリカルコード in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©poroco

Now before people start singing the song.. the next obstacle is the 3rd stage obstacle the Rope Junction ロープジャンクション. I actually have no problems with the obstacle and it's perfect to add in a place like this.
EDIT.. O..M.. F.. G.. They actually named it something else.. according to the original Muscle Park site (specs page) they actually call this the Anbirikarukodo アンビリカルコード which means.. UMBILICAL CORD!! ew...

Pipe Slider パイプスライダー in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©poroco

The final obstacle is actually from Odaiba's old park I'm sure. It's the former 3rd stage obstacle the Pipe Slider パイプスライダー. In all Chitose has SIX (6) obstacles in Sasuke Park while Odaiba has 4. One thing of note is that I am really liking how high the ceiling is! Makes Odaiba look reaaaaally small now.

Magic Wall 魔性壁 in the new Chitose Muscle Park ©poroco

Another added obstacle which has a connection to Sasuke.. sorta.. is the Magic Wall 魔性壁 which actually was in Kunoichi 7 but no one got to it. Well.. it looks like it to me!

Staff of HTB's show Ichioshi イシオシ doing their show ©Muscle Park Chitose

Just today they added to the Muscle Park Chitose ameblo site another photo. I was VERY happy to see it was a much larger photo. With the All-Stars coming this weekend I wanted really nice high quality pictures like they provide in the Muscle Park Odaiba website. This one was a group of employees posing in front of the Sasuke Park course.

Children playing in front of the Monster Box ©Asahi

And finally one more article I found online. This one is from a local newspaper Asahi where they discuss the pricing for Muscle Park Chitose.

And figures because I just posted this.. now Chitose adds the full description of all the obstacles :) Yay! Also they changed their website URL to match that of Odaiba's.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Muscle Park Chitose Update

Grand Opening banner (scrolling in a flash animation) across the Muscle Park Chitose site today with TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道 prominently displayed ©Muscle Park-Chitose

We are now about 4 days until the grand opening of the new Muscle Park in Chitose, Hokkaido that they dub "Chitose Muscle Park" 千歳マッスルパーク (as I mentioned in previous blogs) and we finally get an update as to who will be part of the Grand Opening Celebration. It is this Sunday, July 18, 2010. As you see from the banner, the headliner is in fact TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道.

Allstars - Makoto Nagano 長野誠, TV Host Sato Hiromichi 佐藤弘道, Monster 9 President and CEO - Ushio Higuchi 樋口 潮 (center) and 2 unidentified businessmen (I'm sure tied to M9 in some way) during the Grand Opening of Odaiba's Muscle Park in December, 2006 ©Muscle Park

Despite what I may think of Sato.. he's been there promoting stuff for M9 for eons now and was part of the original group with Nagano that opened up Odaiba's park way back in 2006. This time we get 2 different All-Star coming to open up this Muscle Park. I would expect more people to show up but for now the banner suggests we get 2 All-Stars to go with Oni-San お兄さん (Older Brother is the nickname of Hiromichi Sato).

Kazuhiko Akiyama ©Carol Akiyama (From the Rise Up Article)

One of the most appropriate choices is of course the first champion of Sasuke Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 since he is from Hokkaido 北海道 (prefecture wise though he lives further north along the north coast). I am happy to see him be invited to this event! I don't believe they have ever invited him to do anything before so as a fan I am ecstatic that he gets the honor of doing the ceremony in his home prefecture as the first champion of Sasuke.

Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 posting with the famous Sasuke 23 Sasuke Towel ©Muscle Park

The second All-Star to participate is our favorite fire fighter Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩. Compared to Nagano he hasn't headlined in Muscle Park a lot but he has done some events with Nagano (Like the October Sports Festa back in 2008). As for a headlining event.. he finally got his chance for the 3rd Anniversary of Muscle Park back in December, 2009 and then returned again to be with his buddy Nagano a week later.

Banner announcing the Grand Opening ©kuliten

So in 4 days I hope to see more posts (some on Twitter have been abuzz with excitement) and I hope they post a lot of good quality large pictures of the grand opening on their website. I know the ones already on the Ameblo Chitose site are very small.. I hope they change their format for this occasion. If not.. going to have to rely on pictures from other blogs.

Magic wall? ©Muscle Park Chitose

Finally the blog in Chitose put up another picture of what's going to be inside of the park. Reminds me of Kunoichi 7's Magic Wall 魔性壁 that was never used. I already like the tall ceilings of this building!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Monster 9 Address

For those of you who keep up with the address or plan to send Sasuke-related fanmail through the main office please note the new address (as of July 12, 2010). Thanks to Ube who's been helping keep up with this was able to see the new press release on the M9 website that mentioned their main offices moving again.

New Ao building ©Ao

As many of you remember from the previous time they moved (January, 2009).. they are still in Tokyo. Ube's blog has more details on the brand new building (actually 2 years old but I digress)

Monster 9, Inc.
Ao 13F, 3-11-7 Kita Aoyama
Minato-ku, Tokyo

東京都港区北青山3-11-7 Ao 13F

Location of new Ao building ©Ao

The 2nd address shown in the new press release on the M9 website is the Muscle Musical Group Sales Office. That is still located in Shibuya and if you are interested in that office information they have it listed in kanji on their website.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sasuke related updates

Muscle Park Chitose finally has their sign up on their building ©Muscle Park Chitose

I've been taking breaks during this Sasuke off-season and only posting when something has accumulated enough to write about. Since my last Sasuke related update post there's been a couple of things (older update here). Well it's now July and several upcoming events are highly anticipated by the Sasuke community. One of the bigger ones is the opening of the second Muscle Park. Monster 9's theme park Muscle Park (specifically the one in Odaiba/Tokyo) will now have a sister park up north in the prefecture of Hokkaido 北海道 in the city of Chitose 千歳市.

©Muscle Park-Chitose

According to a press release on the Monster 9 website the official opening will be Sunday, July 18th. Still we have no idea who will be a part of the Grand Opening celebrations. I would strongly suspect that they would invite the first champion of Sasuke Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 simply because this is where he is from (prefecture wise though he lives further north along the north coast). Other possible Sasuke people could be Makoto Nagano and Yuuji Urushihara but we haven't heard anything as to specifics of who will be there. We also have no idea if they will debut the new Sasuke Park at that time.

All-Stars Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩, Makoto Nagano 長野誠, Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 and Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 posing with an executive during the Grand Opening of Hotel ZeroCity in July, 2009 ©Tojo Design Architects, Inc.

Speaking of Nagano, the One Year Anniversary of the opening of a hotel and restaurant run by the President of Takasui (Nagano's employer) - Hotel ZeroCity and the Restaurant Konpiramaru (which obviously is named after Nagano's boat). The actual day of the anniversary is Monday, July 5th. At this time it is unclear if there will be an actual celebration and if Makoto Nagano will be involved in some way. No updates in any of the sites have been posted other than that the anniversary celebration was coming up on the 5th.

As I mentioned before, two very high profile Trials are already being planned. The first is the new Trials being created by Golden Sun (the new broadcaster of Sasuke in Taiwan). The deadline for entries was yesterday, July 1st. So far the only information we have is that it's a closed set and entries are limited. As more information is found I'll be sure to post it.

Meanwhile back in the United States the video application process continues for American Ninja Warrior 2. The deadline was supposed to be June 30th but they extended it again, changed the date of the trials and still have not decided on the specific location (or at least posted) other than Los Angeles, California. Eager hopefuls in both countries are ready to take on their compatriots for a chance to compete with the rest of the Sasuke competitors in the fall. At last post ANW2 will be August 7-9, 2010.

The several thousand entries were sent to M9 for Sasuke 25

Meanwhile back in Japan no official word is out yet for Sasuke 26. While we can basically assume with the organization of ANW2 and Taiwan Sasuke Trials and the admission from M9 that they have no plans to cancel the show here in Rambling Rican we will await the official announcement from M9 as to the fate of Sasuke 26. Rumors are placing it around September, 2010 as a taping date.

In the meantime feel free to read about Makoto Nagano's appearance in the TV Show on TV Asahi and the show is called Densetsu 伝説 (which is short for Ogon Densetsu 黄金伝説 which means Golden Legend).