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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sasuke related updates

Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 - Kagoshima, December, 2011 ©Takasui Corp.

It's been a while since I updated the blog due to health reasons and just recently my video card frying.... Anyway I'm doing a bit better but not 100% by any means but I'm back up and running on my computer. Thanks to some friggin' awesome friends I've got a new computer. In the meantime I've have been getting inundated with questions.. especially given the content of my most recent blog entry about Monster 9 going Bankrupt.. Just wanted to do a quick update on what we know so far. For the record.. much of what is going on now in Sasuke-land is rumor so until we know for sure I'm refraining from posting rumors. Albeit the current rumors are actually positive for Sasuke.. I know everyone is anxious about what's going on but there is very little official information to be had recently. I ask everyone be a bit more patient. What I will post is what we know so far officially.
  • November 11, 2011 - Monster 9 filed for Bankruptcy (Not reorganization but "Liquidation" Ube posted: For those asking about the type of bankruptcy in this situation, refer to here. All the articles refer to 破産 (hasan) or more specifically 自己破産 (jiko hasan) which is voluntary liquidation. See section IV of the link provided.)
  • Creditors had until December 16th, 2011 to file (specially to announce their financial losses to the court) and there will be a meeting on March 12th, 2012 at 1:30 PM in Tokyo District Court. The lawyer who will act as the trustee is one Shuuji Kitagawa (北川秀二).
  • The current list of creditors (for Digital 9 - as of 12/22/11) is listed here and Monster 9 as of 11/17/11 is listed here) has been posted online for public record. As a reminder from Ube the numbers are listed in Yen in the 10,000's.
Founding members of Samurai Rock Orchestra ©SRO

In the meantime with Monster 9 facing full liquidation this directly impacts the fate of all Muscle Musical members as they are instantly unemployed. Remember they were a creation of Monster 9 and were not co-owned by anyone else (unlike Sasuke which was co-owned by TBS in distribution). That said.. seems the members are finding new lives creating other employment opportunities now that Muscle Musical マッスルミュージカル is now defunct. For those who remember co-World Record holder in Monster Box Naoki Iketani 池谷直樹 (he's in the center and creator of SRO) it seems life after Muscle Musical means creating a show called Samurai Rock Orchestra (SRO). Six other former Muscle Musical members have joined with Naoki in this venture which debuts in Japan on March, 2012. Complete information can be found on their website. Please remember it's still under construction and they are still auditioning members to fill out the cast.

Sasuke All-stars posing with Farid Isham during Sasuke 27
All-Star Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩, All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠, Farid, All-Star Katsumi Yamada 山田勝己 and All-Star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 with his Poodle "Kokona" (Coconut) ©Farid Isham

In the meantime I'm finally able to do my blog for Farid Isham. Questions have been sent to him (today in fact) and I should get this done fairly soon. Given the amount I sent him though it might be next year.. don't fret though.. it's on it's way!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monster 9 files for bankruptcy

I logged in late this morning to find news all over twitter about the inevitable train wreck that was going on in seemingly slow motion to me.. Lost in Ube reported this morning that Monster 9 (Creators/Producers/Owners of Sasuke) filed for Bankruptcy on November 11th in Japan. Follow Ube's blog on articles as he finds them as he's a hell of a lot better in finding those things than I am by a long shot.

Several things to point out from the onset. Monster 9 is the owner, creator and producer of Sasuke. It belongs to them and Mr. Higuchi specifically. TBS is a co-producer and co-owner of the already-recorded broadcasts but they themselves get their cues from M9 which owns the franchise outright. Sasuke (especially future Sasuke) does not exist without M9. It's just that simple. There is no " get another TV station to produce Sasuke".. that's just not going to happen without the expressed written consent of M9. Given Higuchi's history.. I would be shocked if that ever changed. Besides.. there aren't anymore television stations willing to work with Higuchi these days.

Most of us watching from the sidelines unfortunately have been seeing this entire thing implode in slow motion for years.. Those of you who don't obsess like I do over the business minutia might have been alerted back in January, 2011 when the first set of major problems arose and the article announcing the cancellation of several key TBS shows were canceled (which included Sportsman #1) and the announcement of Sasuke 27 being the last show came to be. Then again.. I got hate mail for posting "rumor" that even though the count of how many Japanese websites posted that was well over 50 by this point and TBS has never denied it. The only thing G4 denied was that Sasuke 27 was not canceled. The question was ALWAYS about 28.. not 27. I know a lot of people were just not ready to hear those words.. The only thing that hasn't happened in that article is the date.. they said Sasuke was ending in March but it was aired in October ultimately due to postponement especially given the Earthquake/Tsunami that happened in March. So if Sasuke is done after this news (it's not confirmed yet) then the article was 100% true despite the harsh emails directed towards Andy, Ube and myself (the messengers).

Let's analyze this for a bit now. First and foremost we have to throw out the notion that we know what's going on with Japanese bankruptcy laws. Already in discussion on SMF.. we can't assume the rest of the world has reorganization clauses in bankruptcy as they do in the USA. Even if they do (I'm told there are) we have to wait to find out HOW they filed. Here in the USA we can figure out by which Chapter they are seeking and it determines their fate. Some go for full liquidation with an end to all operations while other chapters are reorganization with intent to pay off debt to creditors and come back. Knowing how they filed would help determine the intent to continue. To my knowledge we don't know yet.

EDIT from SMF (Infimum):

Reorganization has a different name in Japanese law, not differentiated merely by chapter numbers like in the US. If reorganization is what they did, it's customary to mention that in Japanese news articles. But that's not the case.

EDIT again from SMF (this time Ube):

As Infimum has pointed out, the articles all point to liquidation (hasan or 破産). Specifically 自己破産 which I believe is voluntary liquidation.

A fuller explanation that the show article is sourced from (that the above is C&Ped from):

The relevant section is IV.

Aside from their main office and the Shibuya theater, I don't think M9 has much in the way of physical assets. Also, intellectual property and bankruptcy doesn't seem to have a clear set of rules to follow so who knows what will happen in the future.

Outside of the filing date of Friday, November 11, 2011, the only thing we do know is that in fiscal year ending March, 2011 M9 and Digital 9 (which btw is the same company...) were at a combined loss of 35億6600万円 (3,566,000,000 Yen = $46,358,000 US Dollars using current currency exchanges) in debt. The debt is split between Monster 9 (18億600万円) and Digital 9 (17億6000万円). To give you an idea.. that's 3.5 BILLION Yen in Debt which equates to $46 MILLION Dollars in debt. That's.. obscenely high.. Something that Ube was kind enough to research for us.. as a stark contrast: Monster 9 was first created in 2005 and in 2008 it's profits reached 31.5 billion yen. So they lost more this year than they ever MADE in a high year.. that's.. insane..

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

The writing on the wall has been going on for a while now. If you have been keeping up with the articles I've been writing since 2008.. you've seen a lot of ventures start and others just drop off the face of the earth. Just in the past couple of years we've seen Muscle Park Odaiba (Tokyo) close, Muscle Park Chitose (Hokkaido) open .. then close.. then change management altogether. We've seen Fanclubs in Japan start and end.. I didn't even get to write about the Fanclubs of Sasukefan and Ninjafan fail to start.. that was a blog I was hoping M9 would contribute but they never got back to me when I asked for specifics.. We've seen massive delays between Sasuke tournaments... we've seen Sasuke emphasis/priority change countries.. we've seen Muscle Musical shut down because of code violations.. We've seen shows completely disappear (Sportsman #1, Kunoichi) and that's not including the previous ones like Viking and Banzuke (and all the other Muscle Ranking spin offs that I lost track of) that predated this blog. We've also seen the international sales fiasco from different countries as G4 edited & ANW-tied programs have been omitted from programing sales in most countries. We've also seen Taiwan give up on the franchise after TBS spiked the prices for the latter seasons. And let's not forget the fiasco with Sasuke 26...

While not confirmed it is highly possible that Sasuke is over. With the admission of accounting fraud as well.. this case could go on for years barring M9 from producing anything until the terms of bankruptcy are reached. We don't even know if they intend to come back or not. We don't know how ANW4 will be impacted, or Sasuke Malaysia. There's still a lot of questions still to be answered.

Update from Ube: Update: Creditors have until December 16th to file and there will be a meeting on March 12th, 2012 at 1:30 PM. The lawyer who will act as the trustee is one Shuuji Kitagawa (北川秀二)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dr. Timothy Coombs - Sasuke Philanthropist

ティモシー・クームス Timothy Coombs (University of Central Florida Professor/Ebay Auction Winner)

It's been a while since I actually COMPLETED one of these.. LOL Either way, I enjoyed doing another blog about a Sasuke competitor! Each time I learned something new about someone else and adore sharing it with others so they are as enthused as I am :) Previous interview blogs on competitors from past Sasuke competitions (Michael Milner (Sasuke 20) and Luci Romberg (Sasuke 21), Brett Sims (Sasuke 19 and 20) and David Campbell (from Sasuke 22). This time it's Timothy Coombs whom most people remember as the ebay Auction winner from Sasuke 27! In my research about him I was stunned to find out how accomplished he is! Without further ado here is the interview/questionnaire with Dr. Tim!

RR: Having no idea who you are personally - Could you give me a brief biography. Things that someone who doesn’t know who you were on (Sasuke), or saw you on TV, you would want them to know more about you.
o Where are you from?
o How old are you?
o Are you married (Also, do you have any children?)
o What do you do for a living?
o Basic philosophy on life?
o Were you an athlete in school?
o Do you have any siblings?

TC: I was born and raised on Niles, Ohio. It is small town in the Northeast part of the state. I am a graduate of Niles McKinley High School. I did my undergraduate work at Bowling Green State University and my graduate work at Purdue University. I have a Masters in Organizational Communication and a PhD in Public Affairs and Issues Management from Purdue so I am a Big Ten person. (RR: So yes you can call him Doctor!)

Timothy and wife Sherry

TC: I have been married for nearly 25 years, we have no children and I am 51 years-old. We live in Orlando, Florida where I am a Full Professor in the Nicholson School of Communication at the University of Central Florida. Orlando is a great place to live because of the weather and many things to do. We have annual passes to Disney World and visit for special events. I also compete in the 5K races Disney offers. There are about five of those per year and are amazing events. My favorite it is the Everest Challenge, a combination 5K-obstacle course-scavenger hunt. I believe in trying to maximize human potential. In high school I ran track. I was a hurdler but also ran the 400 meters. I was the MVP of the track team my junior and senior years. I have two older sisters.

Dr. Tim Coombs: Research Youtube video

TC: My research area is crisis communication. I am one of the top three crisis communication researcher in the world. I have my own theory, “Situational Crisis Communication Theory,” (SCCT) and have lectured in Europe and Asia on the topic. I have written two books on crisis communication: Ongoing Crisis Communication: Planning, Managing, and Responding (SAGE Series in Public Relations) and Code Red in the Boardroom: Crisis Management as Organizational DNA
. Both have been translated into Korean. I have written a number of other articles and book chapters on the subject. More books from W. Timothy Coombs

EUPRERA Congress 2010: Timothy Coombs Youtube Video

(RR: In my research I have run into a LOT of articles, videos and book reviews on SCCT and Dr. Coombs in general. Above is a video of an interview during the EUPRERA Congress in 2010 in Finland.)

RR: For those of us who followed the process when the eBay option became available this will be self explanatory but for those who didn’t know this even happened (like international viewers) - could you explain the process on how you got on the show?

o How did you first become aware of Sasuke/Ninja Warrior?
TC: I learned about Sasuke/Ninja Warrior from watching G4. One day I was scrolling through the on screen guide and saw the show “Ninja Warrior” and the description mentioned obstacle course so I watched and was hooked. I am always excited when they announce a new season to show and love the marathons they run. I always thought it would be great to see the show tape but never thought I would get a chance to be on the course. The competitors are amazing.

I heard about the auction during “Attack of the Show” I knew I had to bid on the prize because any other way of getting there is slim. The American Ninja Warrior competitors are very tough to beat. I immediately updated all by eBay information, we had moved the year before to Florida, and jumped in. I really did not even believe I had won it until the official information started coming in.

o Before the eBay auction, did you create an entry video for previous ANW’s and/or ANC competitions? If so, what was in the video? Do you still have the video?
TC: I had never entered the American Ninja Warrior but had thought about it. Just was not enough time with work. So I have no videos.

o How much time did you have to prepare for Sasuke 27?
TC: I did not have much time to prepare. They notified me around June 16th about when the competition would probably be. That date was July 18th. So I had less than a month to prepare. But two weeks of that time I had to be in Europe on business. I was giving a three different research representations in three different countries during the two weeks (Spain, Slovenia, and the UK). I had been running as part of 5K training. I added in some plyometrics and yoga as well. I even built some steps to practice the start.

o Many of us felt the auction should have had some concessions towards arriving at Sasuke and others not.. How difficult was it to afford to participate in Sasuke 27?
TC: Cost was not too bad. We used frequent flyer miles for the plane so the main expense was the hotel in Japan. Tokyo is expensive but I go to Europe frequently for business and that is expensive too.

o Did knowing how expensive it was going to be just to GET to Sasuke 27 did that affect how much money you donated to the auction to benefit the Japanese Red Cross?
TC: I knew I could cover the travel so those costs did not affect the amount I was willing to bid. Knowing the money would go to the Japanese Red Cross was the reason I was willing to bid so high. It is an important cause so the money was well spent.

o How long was your total trip to Japan?
TC: We left on July 14th and returned on 21st. Chicago to Tokyo was a long flight (over 12 hours) but I had done it once before.

o Did you manage to stay with other competitors or were you basically on your own?
TC: We stayed at the same hotel as the production staff of G4, the competitors were at another hotel.

o Did G4/TBS/M9 help in any way in directing you to the competition or suggest places to stay?
TC: G4 was very helpful. They suggested staying at one of the two hotels they were at so that we could ride over in the morning on their bus. They and the people from TBS took great care of us that day (my spouse Sherry went with me). We rode over and back on their bus, they had water and energy drinks with snacks, and bought us lunch and dinner. The G4 people, especially Kristen and Bryan, were wonderful to us.

o When did you find out exactly when you were going to compete? (day, etc.)
TC: I found out the exact day of the competition on June 20th. It was perfect that it was the 18th since that was my birthday. (Happy Belated :D )

o Did you have time to sight-see? Any photos or stories of interesting places you visited while in Japan?
TC: We did have a few days to sight see. One day we took a day-long bus tour to see a lot of the sights. The other days we wondered around, mostly lost, through various shopping areas. I am sending along some pictures including my favorite figure I bought on the trip.

Sasuke questions:
It is a very long day to tape Sasuke.
o What time did you get there (on competition day)?
TC: We left the hotel at 6am and arrived at the TBS site at 7am

o Do you still have your saddlecloth? What number was it?
TC: I was number 31. Unfortunately I did not have a physical number to wear.

Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and All-Star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 taking a break during a previous Sasuke

o Do you have any favorite competitors you like watching?
TC: My all time favorite is Nagano. I also like Shingo Yamamoto since he has been at every competition. I also was able to meet all of the American Ninja Warriors. A great group of competitors, they were very nice and extremely talented athletes.

Timothy meeting Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and getting his autograph

• Did you get to meet any competitors?
TC: I was able to meet and talk with Nagano. He autographed a shirt for me. I cannot tell you how thrilling that was to get to meet him. I also met Octopus Man. He looks even stronger in person. You would not guess he was over 60.

Mr. Octopus (Tako Tencho (btw Tako is Japanese for "Octopus" and Tencho 店長 means "Store manager")) - Minoru Kuramochi 倉持稔

• How was your experience being part of Sasuke 27. Competitor and Spectator.
TC: It was a fantastic experience being on the course and getting to watch the event. I liked being a spectator because I was not nervous doing that and seeing all the great athletes in person was so impressive.

• Have you kept in touch with any competitors as a result of your participation in Sasuke?
TC: No have not been able to stay in touch with any competitors.

• Describe the wait for your turn.. I’m told it can be nerve wracking.
TC: The waiting is tough. You are out in the heat and dust waiting next to the starting area in a line. There is not a lot of room to move around once you get in that part of the line. They run people in groups of ten. I was in with a group that contained women and people over 40 so they make minor adjustment to the course. That added to the waiting. The nerves build as you see those in front you hit the water. I always wondered why people started slowly and now I know why. There is a camera person standing in front of you so you cannot really go until the camera person moves.

Rolling Escargot ローリングエスカルゴ

• Before your run, how far did you expect to be able to go on the course?
TC: I thought I could as far as the Rolling Escargot. There is no way I could practice for that and had seen how many competitors it had taken out in the past. It was not a happy surprise to see that they had moved it up on the course this year.

• Were you surprised by the Rolling Escargot?
TC: I was surprised it was the second obstacle and by how fast it spins.

• How long did you stay? In the past, first stage competitors were asked to leave after their run. Were you asked to leave? About how much of the tournament did you get to watch? Any stories about watching Sasuke you want to share? Things that surprised you about watching it live vs. television?

TC: We stayed through Stage 3. In addition to a competitors pass, they gave use “all access passes.” We could go anywhere around the grounds. That gave us a chance to look at the later stages up close and to watch the other two stages. Stage 3 ended around 4:30am so it was getting late. Stage 2 is lit beautifully. It looks even more impressive in person. Stage 3 takes forever to get through. After each run they have the competitor watch his run on a large video screen and comment on the run. Then they begin the complicated process of re-setting the course. I think they do it this way to show respect for the competitors. But when it is that late you want things to move along. Sherry fell asleep standing up at one point during the wait between competitors. There were 10 people on Stage 3 so it must have lasted around 2 hours. Also the water on Stage 3 looked the most disgusting of all the water. Very slimy looking. They have people help you if you have trouble climbing up the muddy banks. And it is just mud. There are a few portable showers were competitors can wash off the mud. I used run after my swim. The fans are an important part of Stage 1. After that, there are still some people cheering but far less crowd for 2 &3. Also no stands for sitting except in Stage 1.

• Do you have a favorite obstacle? (One you tried or one that you wished you could try).
TC: I wish I could have tried the warped wall. I have always felt that would be a good for me and would like to see it that is true.

• Did you watch Sasuke alone or with friends/family? If so, did you watch live when it aired? Or waited until a copy was made available or still haven’t watched it?
TC: I have a DVD copy that I will share with my family during my next trip back to Ohio.

• Knowing what you know now about the experience.. would you do it all over again?
TC: I would definitely do it again, even with an early Rolling Escargot. It was a fantastic experience that I treasure. It was a great honor to be allowed on that Sasuke course.

• Will you try to enter another tournament?
TC: Yes, I have changed my training to more upper body and hope to try out for the nest American Ninja Warrior. It is a long shot but I would like the chance to earn my way back to Japan.

The following are questions from fans that have sent in their questions:
Questions from Sasuke Maniac Forums:

• Jordan, 19, Missouri
o How did you find out about Sasuke?
TC: I found out about Sasuke from watching G4. I like their information on video games.

o Why did you end up buying the auction spot?
TC: I love watching Ninja Warrior and could not pass up a chance to be on the course where I have seen all those great competitors in previous tournaments.

ブレント・ステフェンセン Brent Steffensen

o Did you meet anyone while you were there? This includes the Japanese All-stars, the Americans, or even the G4 crew.
TC: Yes, I met Nagano and Octopus Man among the Japanese competitors. I meat all 10 of the American Ninja Warriors plus Brian Orosco who was an alternate. Turns out Brent Steffensen and I share the same birthday, July 18th the day of the competition. (RR: Happy belated you two!) David Campbell is an amazing source of information about the course. I met the production staff I worked with, Kristen and Bryan. I also met Alison and the Haislip.

• Dom. 22, UK
o Did you get to speak to any of the other competitors?
TC: Yes, I was able to talk with the American Ninja Warriors. They gave me advice about the course. The advice was great, my execution was not. I was also able to meet and talk with Makoto Nagano.

• Colin, 16, Philadelphia, Pa
o Did they make you leave after your 1st stage run?
TC: No, I was able to stay and watch the rest of the competition. Stage 3 ended around 4:30am. I was there to cheer on all those who advanced. Amazing to see it all live.

• Patrick, 16, Chicago.
o What was running through your mind before starting?
TC: Don’t fall on the steps and keep your feet up when swinging on the rope. Tried to focus on one obstacle at a time.

• James, 24, Seattle
o Hi Tim, I was just wondering if you could give us some insight as to what your itinerary was during your trip and if you could share with us some of the things that stood out to you at Sasuke 27. Also, for what it’s worth, I think you could have passed the first stage.
TC: The day before I met with production people from G4 to go over the basics for the next day. The day of it was up early an on the bus by 6am. We arrived at the TBS back-lot about 7am. Waited on the bus until they were done filming reaction shows for the ANW competitors. They were so impressive in those K-Swiss outfits. They you walked down hill to the registration area. I had an interpreter for that part. I answered a series of questions and signed a few more forms—liability stuff.

TC: Then it was back up the hill for hill for and the shooting of the opening where everyone raises their hands. After that I did some shooting with the G4 people then it was warm up time. Prior to each stage they have testers show how each obstacle is done and prove that each can be done. I was able to see some early competitors since I was number 31. The second guy pulled the Rolling Escargot off the track and it landed in the water but missed him. My group went about noon. When I was at the start, the announcer was saying who I was and other stuff but I had no idea what he was really saying. No subtitles when you are on the course. After my run, I used a portable shower to wash off the mud and changed clothes. Had lunch as I watched the rest of Stage 1. I was very exciting. Too bad about Drew’s injury though.

TC: There was a break of around an hour then it was Stage 2. By then it was dark and the lights looked great on the course. There was another break of about an hour then Stage 3. By the time it ended it was 4:30 am. There was some lightning so they were unsure when the final stage would go. It was close to 6am when that happened.

• Brandon, 19, Chicago
o How intimidating was the course in person, or would you have a different word to describe how you felt upon seeing the course without the restriction of the television screen?
TC: Intimidating is a good word. It looks bigger in person and more difficult. In person you see how long the course is and get a better understanding of why people get fatigued by the stages. With no restrictions you could focus on the parts of the course you really wanted to see and at how carefully they reset the course to make sure everyone runs the same course. This includes drying off anything a previous competitors gets wet.

• Robert, Brooklyn, New York
o Are you going to tryout at the next ANW for another chance at Sasuke or was this just a 1 time adventure?
TC: I am planning to tryout for ANW. This has inspired me to work on upper body and to study parkour. I plan to build some obstacles this winter for extra practice.

• Matt, Long Island, NY
o For how long have you been a fan of the show?
TC: Since as long as it’s been on G4. I watch all the reruns and marathons as well as the new seasons. I find what many of the competitors can do to be amazing.

Question from G4 boards:

• Strawhat
o What was the most surprising thing about your Sasuke experience? The obstacles, the production team, the competitors, or something else?
TC: How long and punishing the day is by itself. This is one long day, and in this case, very hot day. It was well over 90 degrees. It was 4:30 am by the time Stage 3 completed. That is a long day for the competitors so they are fighting more than just the current stage. They have the fatigue and humidity as well so give them even more respect. It is a brutal competition without the time and elements so my respect for the competitors can do grew even more and it high to begin with.

Questions from KeshiHeads boards:

• Wipeout Star, 13, Sunderland!
o What was the hardest obstacle you tried?
TC: Rolling Escargot. It spins fast and it is hard to lock into place. I did not get close enough to the board and needed press out more firmly.

Questions from Rambling Rican Blog:

• Diviapaed
o Did you know you were going to fail the Rolling Escargot the second you started spinning? Thank You
TC: Yes, by a quarter of a turn I knew I would be in the water.

• Ad uk:
o Do you think the auction was right or do you think a world wide lottery would of been fairer?
TC: Auction was a great way to raise money in a short period of time. But I’m bias because it did allow me to go.

o P.s congratulations on getting as far as you did. My biggest fear would be going weak from being nervous and not making the first obstacle .
TC: My biggest fear too was not clearing the first obstacle. Saw a number who did not, including one rising star from Taiwan who let his feet drag. Little mistakes are costly there.

• Hdm_1 - G'day Tim, this is hdm_1 from East Coast, USA. Congratulations on making it to Sasuke! That in itself is a dream few of us could hope to achieve. A few questions for you:
o Did your fall from the Rolling Escargot come as a total surprise to you, or was this obstacle something that you had been worried about?
TC: That was the obstacle I feared. I mentioned that to the production staff at G4 before we arrived at the course.

o Had you made it past the Rolling Escargot, how do you believe you would have fared on the remainder of Stage 1, and what do you believe would have been the most formidable obstacles there?
TC: After that I think I matched up well. Next hardest would have been the jumping spider. But most in Stage 1 are jumping and balance and that works for me. The rolling balls looked cool.

o When did the eBay auction occur? How much training and prep time did this leave you prior to the competition?
TC: The auction was in April. I knew about a month in advance when the competition would occur so I had less than two months to prepare. But I lost two weeks training right before the event because I was on a business trip in Europe. Did some running but that is not enough.

Nagano holding the banner that they had during Trials as the announcer reads it "Thank you for Supporting Japan to you"...

o Did you have any time to socialize with the other Sasuke competitors? If so, do you have any interesting recollections or stories you would like to share?
TC: There were two meetings that really stand out. First, I had a chance to talk with Makoto Nagano, through a translator. I told him it was an honor to meet someone I had watched compete to well over the years. He thanked me for contributing to the Japanese Red Cross Relief. He then autographed a shirt for me. I was really stunned by it all. He is the competitor I idolize and to meet him was a huge bonus.

David Campbell デイヴィッド・キャンベル

TC: The second was a chance to talk with David Campbell before I went on the course. He knows so much about all the obstacles. He gave me fantastic advice, I wish my execution had been better. Such a nice person and incredible competitor.

o Could you talk a bit about pre-Sasuke your training routine? Do you feel it was sufficient for Sasuke?
TC: I wish I had had more time to focus on strength and agility. My travel right before hand made that very difficult. I now have a better idea of how I need to train. But that is always the case.

o What are your future plans for Sasuke? Will we be seeing you on a future ANW competition? If you do plan to compete again, will you be making any changes to your training routine? Again thanks for taking the time to entertain these questions, and best of luck to you in future competitions.
TC: I plan to tryout for ANW. I am doing a lot more upper body work. Started with a power tower to build strength and will shift to some obstacles I plan to build over the winter. Want to work on the bars and the salmon ladder. That is plan for now.

Thanks so much to Dr. Coombs for taking the time of his ridiculously busy schedule for this blog! It was a lot of fun and very enlightening. All of you know I adore knowing the back stories of competitors of Sasuke and seeing why they get on this awesome show :) I know I'm happy to learn more about him other than "the eBay winner". He's a really cool guy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Post your questions for Farid Isham - The Malaysian Cat!

モハメド・パリド・イシャム Farid Isham (Sasuke Malaysia Winner) with wife Nursyahida and Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 at the conclusion of Sasuke Malaysia in May, 2011

Interview time again! This time it's Farid Isham whom most people remember as "Cat" who is the very first Sasuke Malaysia winner! Here is a link to the blog entry with his run... Though we still don't know when the inaugural Sasuke Malaysia will actually air in Malaysia.. hopefully soon as there is another preliminary Sasuke Malaysia competition just in a month's time! Just like I did with Michael Milner (from Sasuke 20), Lucy Romberg (Sasuke 21), David Campbell (from Sasuke 22) and Bret Sims (Sasuke 19 and 20) I'm posting this here and on both the Sasuke Maniac Forums and G4 boards, and on Twitter. For this blog just use the comments section at the end of this entry. I'll only keep the questions open for a short time. I figured since everyone will be checking the site for Sasuke/Ninja Warrior stuff I might get a lot of responses really fast. Remember also that the Tim Coombs questions will be closed at the end of this week!

Guidelines - please don't get too personal. I also have the right to not include all the questions and he also reserves the right to not answer all the questions :P Also - please keep this thread to questions only. Once the blog is done I'll create another thread with the answers and of course the blog entry. Also please keep all of your questions in the same post and try not to ask too many multiple questions.

Feel free to state your name or username (especially if posting as anonymous), age (optional), City (or state, country, etc.) and your question and I'll send them over to Timothy to answer. Thanks again Cat!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Post your questions for Timothy Coombs!

ティモシー・クームス Timothy Coombs (University of Central Florida Professor/Ebay Auction Winner)

Interview time again! This time it's Timothy Coombs whom most people remember as the ebay Auction winner from Sasuke 27! Here is a link to the blog entry with his run as we all know NBC has not shown his run and G4 whom I expect will cut his run won't show Ninja Warrior until March, 2012... Just like I did with Michael Milner (from Sasuke 20), Lucy Romberg (Sasuke 21), David Campbell (from Sasuke 22) and Bret Sims (Sasuke 19 and 20) I'm posting this here and on both the Sasuke Maniac Forums and G4 boards, and on Twitter. For this blog just use the comments section at the end of this entry. I'll only keep the questions open for a short time. I figured since everyone will be checking the site for Sasuke/Ninja Warrior stuff I might get a lot of responses really fast.

Guidelines - please don't get too personal. I also have the right to not include all the questions and he also reserves the right to not answer all the questions :P Also - please keep this thread to questions only. Once the blog is done I'll create another thread with the answers and of course the blog entry. Also please keep all of your questions in the same post and try not to ask too many multiple questions.

Feel free to state your name or username (especially if posting as anonymous), age (optional), City (or state, country, etc.) and your question and I'll send them over to Timothy to answer. Thanks again Timothy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sasuke 27 - Spoilerific Review - Part 14


(PART 1) (PART 2) (PART 3) (PART 4) (PART 5) (PART 6) (PART 7) (PART 8) (PART 9) (PART 10) (PART 11) (PART 12) (PART 13)

Sasuke spoilerific review ;) Warning.. incoming blog of Sasuke 27.. if you don’t want to know.. you have been warned :D (Just remember.. the USA Broadcast of this.. will be.. well.. March, 2012.. Yes.. you read that right.. another 5 months after taping this event back in July... Thanks to everyone for being so patient. Got sick with headaches again this year and am still recovering from an inner ear infection.. yum.. Anyway.. For a preview of this event.. Please see SASUKE 27 NAVI 1 hour review of Sasuke 27 with fluff pieces of all the major players in the upcoming Sasuke and even a couple of runs that were cut from the official broadcast!. Oh.. and as Ube says: If you are from the G4 Forums, DON'T POST THIS THERE. They expect everyone to stick their head in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist.. P.S. I will NOT be covering ANW3 on this blog especially since it aired a couple months ago and I prefer to blog about everyone at once.. not in isolation! Thanks!


(Massive thanks to Ube for his help on the names in English and Japanese of all the competitors!!)

Well this should be no surprise.. LOL They told us there will be a winner.

Will it be Yuuji?

Or Ryo?

Heck.. or both? You know there isn't a limit as to how many can win in Sasuke

Up first is our favorite house painter Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒
Btw I'm cutting out the fluff pieces since they are just repeats


TBS reminding us what the previous Finals were like. The original Final was a 15 meter rope climb ① Tsuna Nobori 綱登り (15m)

This was defeated by All-Star Kazuhiko Akiyama 秋山 和彦 in Sasuke 4

The next final was a Spider Climb followed by a 10 meter rope climb

Spider Climb スパイダークライム (12.5m)

Tsuna Nobori 綱登り (10m)

This was defeated by Allstar - Makoto Nagano 長野誠 in Sasuke 17

The next final was a Ladder climb to a 10 meter rope climb

Heavenly Ladder ヘブンリーラダー (13m)

G-Rope Gロープ (10m)

and this was defeated by Leader of the New Stars Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 in Sasuke 24

Here is the current final - A 20 meter rope climb
Tsuna Nobori 綱登り (20m)

This will be the first time it will be attempted since it's creation in Sasuke 25


Prerequisite Nagano interview

View from the top

Looking down onto our finalists

SHIFT CHANGE (Thank God.. ) Veteran announcer Keisuke Hatsuta 初田 啓介 is back for the Final!

If you can't figure out that we are at the big thing on the left.. then you aren't paying attention :p

Oh.. there's a girl.. motivation dudes... motivation!

Sasuke Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3)
Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒

Who's cuisine will reign supreme?

LOL No words just hand shakes and a pat on the side

Go get'em Ryo!!

LOL that ramp is so dramatic..

There's Keita Tomino 富野恵太 on the left he's (Cliffer #4) and Ryo's Mom Miki on the far right.

Ryo getting buckled in to the safety line

Wedgie complete we begin the countdown

and he's off!

Do YOU have dirty teeth? Oh c'mon.. ya'll should know by now that they will put commercials in the Final..

okay.. we are back and through the magic of television he's at the start again.

okay here he goes!

Can't tell if he's going slow or not..

but I am noticing he's slowing down...

Oh.. that's not good.. He looks like he's running out of gas..

no way he's going to make it :(

Awwww even I know by now he's not going to make it

And that's how close he got.. Maybe another 5 seconds he might have? Still a bunch of people were complaining the time limit was too lenient..

and he's dropped.. LOL I'd die of a heart attack if it were me.. LOL

Everyone looking up at Ryo's climb

But he knows how long it takes to go up there and he looks at the clock

Oh yeah. there's no way he's going to make it..

Nagano yelling encouragement

yeah.. timer...

Gaaah.. he didn't make it

Family cam™

And he's being lowered down

and unbuckled off the safety rope

He had a fabulous tournament. I would have been sooooo happy if he won.. but I'm still VERY happy people FINALLY know his name :)

I see Kouji Hashimoto on the right there supporting the Cliffers

Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒 - Death by Time up on the Rope Climb


Nagano showing his appreciation for a good attempt starts to clap

causing a round of applause to break out among the group watching

Ryo approaching Yuuj who's turn is up next.

Cliffers conferring as to strategy

if this doesn't show how close they are for real as friends.. nothing else will.

We all know he's a shoe salesman for Haruta Shoes in Tokyo

and our current Sasuke Champion

oh no.. they are bringing up that ridiculous rumor Yamada started about his footwear?? I swear TBS loves prolonging rumors for the sake of "drama".. HE DID NOT CHEAT..

anyway.. TBS is under the impression that he has to prove himself to gain respect.. yada yada..

He's been working his ASS off on the rope ever since he failed it in Sasuke 22!!

anyway.. enough of that invented footwear nonsense.. we are back to the present

Poor guy doesn't get the respect he deserves.. and we know he will win this simply because Ryo didn't and TBS has been saying since the original commercial that someone wins.

So far being 99 has been good for him!

Nagano getting excited for him!

He gets up to cheer for him!

ANW yelling encouragement as well

Leader of the New Stars Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3)


Okay here we go!

You did expect this right? Good.. moving on..

here we start again

moving much quicker..

even I can see how much faster he's moving than Ryo

he's hauling...

LMFAO he's got an eternity to get up there!

HOLY CRAP how much time will he have left????

already past the opening and he's got a full 8 seconds!

And he's cleared!

OMG almost 7 full seconds! Even those complaining about the additional 5 seconds can't bitch.. he would have won that too!!!!!!!! YYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!

Leader of the New Stars Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3)
完全制覇 - KANZENSEIHA!!!!


see? his last minute tips helped :) tehehhehe

waiting for the timer to go off and smiles all around

Nagano staring at the time

Brent taking a sneak peek..

And he's done it!!

ANW losing their marbles

and .. LOL Brian Orosco's mustache .. ahahahhahahahaha

This was the clip they showed in the commercial..

But now you see him in full view

Yuuji overcome with emotion..

I don't think anyone really understand the ridiculous pressure put on these guys.. Especially him.. having to shoulder some STUPID rumor that Yamada invented and TBS perpetrated just so they can create drama on a television show.

Hopefully finally people will just STFU... he won the damn thing in SNEAKERS this time! And was more dominant than ever!

Crowd reacting to Yuuji's scream

massive congrats to a true champion. Hopefully NOW TBS will respect you for the Champion you are. I for one am THRILLED you won again!

Ryo getting emotional by the speech

and Nagano looking fab.. er.. yeah that too.. LOL

This has been a Monster 9 and TBS production.. NOT NBC.. /facepalm

Oh and to pour more salt in the wound.. Yuuji got what.. $4 mil Yen (that's like 30k folks).. Thanks to NBC and K-Swiss.. he's not worthy of that half million dollars USA for the EXACT SAME EVENT... /shakesfist

It's a shame how little respect this guy has gotten.. seriously.. well enough of my rant.. just damn tired of Comcast soiling things..

2-Time champion folks!
I pray we see a Sasuke 28!

Okay. Final thoughts on the tournament. I loved it! This is what happens when you give people at least 2 months to prepare.. not the half-butted attempt in Sasuke 26 that really caused issues to everyone. I'm still not happy it took so long for TBS to air it.. That has to change as we know ANW3's ratings was really low. It was not worth sacrificing this broadcast for bad ratings in the USA. If NBC decided to actually SHOW Sasuke that would have been different.. but they spent the entire time showing a show that no one wanted to watch. People tune in to see Ninja Warrior for all 100 competitors.. not just 10. They did awesome but it would have been better served if they showed the entire tournament to see them compete with the rest of the field. Purposefully removing everything Japanese about the show, the people, the announcer, the results.. did a huge disservice to the kick ass Americans who did ridiculously well in the tournament. Also K-Swiss only wanting to award an American in a field of 100 a prize for an event that wasn't segregated and refuse to award money and recognition to the actual winner just sucks all kinds of .. you know. It was in poor taste. I'd rather them award the money to the winner of boot camp than to discriminate on a foreign show who gets the prize. Either equally distribute the money for the winner regardless of country of origin or don't award it at all and leave it to TBS who has been doing it for 14 years.

Anyway... really really really want to thank a few people. Lost in Ube for oh geez.. the list is so long. Outside of my inspiration for even blogging in the first place back when I found Sasuke and found his blogs back in 2007 he's been a great online friend whom I can watch Sasuke and use candor and humor when watching without people hawking my every word :p And then of course his Live blog which I abuse constantly when creating my own. His time-consuming diligence in trying to update the wiki with scnoi by using his own sources and painstakingly going through each person to get the right kanji. I honestly believe a lot of people really don't realize how hard it is to do these things (especially his live blog). VxJasonxV for the Sasuke Navi and Sasuke 27 feed he provided from his paid subscription of WIST. Without that I don't think half the community would have even SEEN the tournament! Thanks to the streamers that helped our community see the event! Thanks for Jams for giving me a clear copy of the tourney for the blog since my VLC kept crashing during the broadcast the last time and I didn't want to risk it this time.... Thanks to the community for being patient when I FINALLY got the blogs up and for READING them! I'm happy people find enjoyment in them as much as I enjoy creating them. I'm ecstatic more people have used my blog as an introduction to such a wonderful show and it makes it even more worthwhile when I know my fangirling is actually to good use! I'm excited to see our small group grow to literally thousands around the world banding together to watch this show through tiny computer screens that often crash. Praying for another tournament so I can keep updating this blog with relevant information. Didn't think after all these years I'd still be doing this and enjoying it. Ya'll have made it worth the while :)

Hopefully we'll get news about a Sasuke 28. The 2nd place overall for the evening and a rating of 12.6% was great considering how low the other recent tournaments have been faring. Let's hope that TBS sees this as the good news I believe it to be!