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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tatsuya Tada - Sasuke Friend

Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也

Interview Format change:

I wanted to try to get back to conducting fan interviews of former Sasuke competitors. I used to do that a couple years ago but I always either waited too long, the questions/reply period went way too long or people were overwhelmed with the amount of text and decided not to participate. Heck, I even have incomplete blogs of interviews I conducted but never finished. Recently, after a unique opportunity arose, I decided to take advantage and try something different. Wanting to test out a new format for interviews, I relied on Skype (and a great interpreter in Jin) to conduct an interview with a Japanese competitor. Eager to help out in any way possible, and offer himself up to testing a new format, we were fortunate to get a willing competitor in Tada.

Miska Sutela visiting Japan from Finland posing with Tada and a few familiar faces!
Left to right Kung-Cheen Howng (who is my interpreter "Jin" for this blog), 2-Time Grand Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 along with fellow Finland traveler Mika Marcinkiewicz, Tada (in white), Miska (black shirt holding towel), Yuuichi Okada 岡田祐 (it was his home course) and a local friend who all came out to spend the day with the foreigners!
I did an informal question and answer conversation (Translated from English to Japanese then back from Japanese to English) moving around my question sheet depending on the flow of the conversation. So as a result, I deviated from my usual Q&A format that I used to have on previous interview blogs here on Rambling Rican. Also, since all of these answers were translated, I didn’t transcribe the exact answers verbatim. Doing that would be more time consuming and taxing on the interpreter, so I decided to not use this format. Hopefully this new format goes well and I can learn from and expand for future interviews. Please let me know in the comments if this works for my blog readers.

Sasuke Festa 2008 - a shortlived festival hosted by TBS and Monster 9 held the day before Sasuke 21 during September, 2008
Tada has a Youtube video of his entire run!


For many people who follow Sasuke (and trials) religiously, or love following Youtube videos of Sasuke training from around the world, you may have seen this particular man from Japan. His name is Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也. His Youtube channel name (and Twitter) is better known as "Tadachi". Tada was really nice in giving over 2 hours of his time to test out this new interview format. Thank you so much! I enjoyed it!

Miska Sutela visiting Japan from Finland posing with Tada

Title meaning:

I figured people would ask me why I named this blog “Sasuke Friend”. See, his Twitter handle and Youtube channel is “Tadachi”. Tada is his last name. Dachi is short for Tomodachi 友達 which in Japanese means “Friend”. So it’s a play on words. I loved knowing the meaning behind the name so I figured I’d use this as the title of the blog since it fits his personality quite nicely. He’s also a very friendly person.

Yamagata City 山形市


Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 was born and raised in Yamagata Prefecture 山形県, Japan on July 6, 1992 (21 years old) and has an older sister. He currently lives in Yamagata City 山形市.

Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 wearing #32 in blue uniform running a (winning) relay during High School.  He was 17 years old in the photo.

Tada was a star athlete in Junior High and High School in Track and Field (Triple Jump, Long Jump, Relay, etc.). He was even named Captain of his Track and Field Team in both Junior High School and then again in High School. Currently he is a student in a vocational school studying to become a physical therapist.

 Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也
Screenshot from one of his Youtube videos - Spring 2013 trip to Shizuoka Prefecture (home of Shinya Kishimoto 岸本 真弥)

What attracted you to Sasuke?

Tada has been a long-time fan of Sasuke ever since finding Sasuke back during the 7th tournament (which aired in Japan on TBS on March 17, 2001). He can’t put his finger on why he liked the show, but it caught his attention at a very young age and never let go. He enjoys watching the competitors and also enjoys trying to figure out if he could clear the obstacles himself. He’s an avid fan of the course and of the show in general. To name one thing he likes about the show is difficult. Something about the show intrigues him even to this day.
 Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 Saddlecloth from Sasuke 17

What made you decide to apply to compete in Sasuke?

He finally decided to apply to Sasuke when he became old enough to compete. He loved watching the competitors in Sasuke and when he entered Junior high he started to train in earnest to try to win a spot on the show. While most Sasuke fans who have watched the show remember him participating as a 15 year old in Sasuke 19, he actually applied, was accepted and competed back in Sasuke 17 (which aired in Japan on TBS on October 11, 2006) when he was 14 years old, although TBS cut him from the actual broadcast.

What was your impression of seeing Sasuke up close?

Wearing #39 in Sasuke 17 he was quite surprised and in awe of the HUGE 4-stage course in person. The course was much larger than he imagined, and felt it was completely different from watching on television. He was both thrilled and deeply honored to have been invited to participate alongside all the other competitors he had watched on television for many years. The size and scope of the Midoriyama set was huge and he felt in awe being there and being allowed to compete!

How did you fare in your first attempt of Sasuke?

As for his result, he was literally seconds from becoming the youngest competitor ever to clear the first stage, but he just timed out on the final obstacle, the ⑨ Rope Climb ロープクライム. It was an impressive run for a rookie, let alone for a 14 year old to almost beat the first stage on his very first attempt! It’s a shame TBS never aired his run. My assumption is because the show was already full with many clears in all 4 stages including a kanzenseiha from Makoto Nagano. Back in 2006, Sasuke was only a 2 hour show. We’ve grown accustomed to the longer broadcasts of present day. Tada was a casualty of the short duration of Sasuke 17’s broadcast length in 2006.

Kota Honma 本間 晃汰 - Sasuke 17

How was your experience at Midoriyama during filming?

Still being in Junior High when he went with his family to Midoriyama, he was fortunate to befriend another competitor near his age in Kota Honma 本間 晃汰.  Tada was 14 years old and Honma was 16 years old.  The two became friends during the filming.  Honma finally succeeded in clearing the first stage (the youngest competitor to do so). 

Kota Honma 本間 晃汰 - Sasuke 17 Second Stage

How long did you stay at Midoriyama during filming?

Thanks to Honma, Tada was allowed to stay long enough to cheer for him in the 2nd stage. While he did miss the 2nd Kanzenseiha 完全制覇 (Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠) he still was elated to have fulfilled a dream in competing in Sasuke, and stay as long as he had. Most competitors are not allowed to even stay past their defeats. He was given the honor of seeing the 2nd stage as well, thanks to the generosity of a fellow competitor.

 Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 - Sasuke 19

When did you return to Sasuke?

He didn’t get selected for Sasuke 18 but he felt he didn’t apply himself during the application process. For the next tournament he went out of his way to send training videos and present himself in a better light. He was rewarded by being invited to compete in Sasuke 19 which aired in Japan on September 19, 2007. Most of us who remember him being a competitor remember seeing him as a 15 year old. Finally shown in the TBS broadcast (2nd digest) he was shown unnumbered in the mid-thirties pack of competitors. His 2nd tournament wasn’t as successful. He unfortunately failed on the ④*Jumping Spider ジャンピングスパイダー. This time he stayed only until the end of his first stage run when most competitors leave the event if they have been eliminated. The day was long and the first stage taping was going longer than expected. 

Hioki Masashi 日置 将士, Shin Sedai Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒, Ryoichi Arashida 嵐田 良一, 2-Time Grand Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3), Ryo Akagawa and Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也

What benefit did you get out of competing in Sasuke?

Being on Sasuke and training for the show, opened up a whole new world to him. He found friends among the fellow competitors that shared his passion for the show and love for training on obstacles. Early on he befriended Hanglider enthusiast Masami Harashima 原島 雅美 at Sasuke and of course the aforementioned Kota Honma. Later through his Youtube training videos, he started to receive messages from other Sasuke competitors. Over the years he started to participate more and more in special training camps and even Sasuke-related events. He’s always eager to meet new people and share his Sasuke passion even to this day.

Sendai PTA Event 2013 (Youtube video)
A local event where Sasuke veterans hosted a small Sasuke demonstration course for the benefit of the school children of Sendai, Japan.
Many familiar faces!
Keita Tomino 富野 恵太 (Cliffer #4), Tada (light-blue Move Sport shirt), Trials guy Makoto Yahagi, Sasuke Veteran Yoshiyuki Okuyama 奥山義行, Hioki, Sasuke Veteran "Kongu" Kenji Takahashi 高橋 賢次, Hirotsugu Kobayashi 小林広嗣, Ryo Matachi, Arashida and Yuuji among other familiar faces that I forgot names.

Do you have any memorable experiences related to Sasuke?

He reiterated again the camaraderie of the competitors and meeting people. Without Sasuke he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet people from around the world. He’s had the honor of being invited to participate on other Sasuke-related events (like the Sendai event 2 years in a row) alongside the Shin Sedai Stars and other Sasuke veterans. He also cherishes the ability to connect with children in the various events that he’s been invited to participate.

 Another training camp - this time at Arashida's Sasuke Garage (they call Arashida Park)
This is an older photo but familiar to those who read my blog and recognize all of the STQ'ers by now before they became Shin Sedai Stars.  Wataru Mori 森渉 (Now of Sports Danshi fame), Yahagi, Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志 (in white looking very different than now), Kobayashi, Arashida in the middle, Hiroki Nomura 野村宏樹, Tada (being gripped by Nomura, in the orange shirt), Ryo, Yuuji on the shoulders of Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口 朋広 and the rest of the STQ'ers and significant others.

Do you have your own training course?

He doesn’t have a training course himself, but thanks to his friends, he trains all over Japan at the home-made courses that they created. He spends most of his time, though, in public parks and elementary school playgrounds.

Tada traveling to Shizuoka (Summer 2013) with a friend and current Sasuke Star Yusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介

Do you still train to be on Sasuke?

These days he trains because it’s still fun. Sure, he would love to participate again in Sasuke now that he’s older and better trained, but you can’t do this kind of training if it wasn’t fun. I personally would love to see him compete again. His last trials event that he participated was Sasuke 27. Sadly we all know we never got to see that full event given that it was right when Monster 9 went bankrupt.

Yuuji, Ryo, Tada, Kongu and Kouji Hashimoto 橋本 亘司 during the Sendai PTA Event

Do you still continue to watch all Sasuke related shows?

A funny portion of the interview was when we were discussing older shows like Sasukemania (which incidentally started my blogging career) and since he lived outside of the Kanto area (the show was a local late night show that only aired in a small region of Japan) he had never seen the shows. I joked that there were ways of watching the show if he really wanted to watch them. He was surprised and amazed at the dedication of foreign fans waking up in the middle of the night to watch the events streaming through the internet. He was amazed at how many dedicated fans watched it streamed live in a language they didn’t know.

 May 2013 Training session at Arashida Park in Yamagata Prefecture
Many familiar faces and a few unfamiliar. Arashida (bare chested), Keita Tomino 富野 恵太 (Cliffer #4) (white shirt next to him), Kenichi Arai 新井 健一 next to him.  Shunya Yoshida (from the video), Hioki, Kongu, Tada (black shirt), Ryo (Cliffer #2), Keitaro Yamamoto (Cliffer #5), of those I recognize.

Do you watch Sasuke tournaments on TBS?

Even the Sasuke tournament he doesn’t get a chance to watch the live broadcast as it airs, since it usually airs early during a weekday and at a time of day when he’s not home. He doesn’t miss a tournament though, and despite missing half the live broadcast, he does record it to enjoy it the following day. At times he watches the show along with his family.  Depends on whether anyone is home when the event airs.  He’s still very much a fan of the show and still watches it as entertainment even if he’s not a current competitor.

Screenshot from one of his Youtube videos - Spring 2013 trip to Shizuoka Prefecture

Do you have any favorite obstacles?

As for favorite obstacles he likes trampoline obstacles, the Soritatsu Kabe そり立つ壁 (Warped Wall) and the the Spider Walk スパイダーウォーク. And contrary to belief since he likes both trampoline obstacles and the spider walk, he doesn’t like the hybrid The Jumping Spider (ジャンピングスパイダー but prefers the the Jump Hang ジャンプハング instead. Unlike many other competitors, he really prefers the First stage obstacles and layout over the latter stages. The first stage has more excitement for him, especially since all 100 competitors get to attempt it.
 Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 during Sports Festa 2008


The interview process was really a great overall experience for me. Thanks to Jin for allowing me to chat away and ask anything I wanted, and Tada for being open to all the questions in this informal setting. Tada knows some words and phrases in English, and it was fun listening to us both understand bits and pieces of the conversation in each other’s languages (I know some words in Japanese from anime and years of doing the blog and searching for phrases in Japanese). He’s a great person to talk to and is very friendly! He loves meeting new people and would love to chat through his Twitter and YouTube channel. Oh he has one note of caution, he is not fluent in English so when you send messages please take the time to write full sentences and not use slang. He had an example of someone sending him a happy birthday message but only said “Happy B-day”. Had he not previously understood some phrases in English (and inferred since it was his birthday) he would have never understood the message. So please, don’t use abbreviations and slang. He does definitely appreciate the messages and hopes to connect with more Sasuke fans in the future.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup 2014 Announcement

At long last the official date and online application for the inaugural Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup is announced!  Originally announced in February, 2013 (with a date for November, 2013) and then postponed in October, 2013 this mammoth event promises to usher a new era in Sasuke History.  First off.. I had a history/geography lesson about the tournament name.  I mistakenly called it Asian when it's actually ASEAN.  ASEAN stands for Association of Southeast Asian NationsAs my history lesson (and wiki) continues, ASEAN is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia, which was formed on August, 1967.  The members are Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.  This event has been officially endorsed by the ASEAN Secretariat and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan as part of the celebration of the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation.

Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup 2014 - 4 Day event schedule:
Qualifying dates: Thursday, February 20, 2014 and Friday, February 21, 2014
Open Cup Main Event:  Saturday, February 22, 2014
National Team Event: Sunday, February 23, 2014 

Zai Joehurry during the official signing ceremony in February, 2013 ©Sasuke Malaysia

The Sasuke Sports Association Malaysia in conjunction with the Malaysian Ministry of Youth and Sports is excited to announce the first ever Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup, a new sporting event that brings the intense challenge of the world's most formidable obstacle course to the the world's masses. Experience Sasuke like you've never seen--or thought possible! Any and all physically fit athletes 18 years and older are welcome to register for the qualifiers. Come to Malaysia's Kelana Jaya Stadium and see what you are made of!

Japan and the ASEAN countries will also be sending their top athletes to compete in an international tournament on Feb. 24th. Which country reigns supreme on the courses? Be there to find out!

Registration for the Feb. 23rd 2014 Open Cup event is now open! Learn more and apply for your chance to qualify for the main event on the new official homepage:

Zai Joehurry
Sasuke Sports Association Malaysia

This announcement was made on the Sasuke Malaysia Facebook.  An official website has been launched for the event.  It is hoped this will be a yearly event with all relevant information to be updated on that main website.  I assume that the newly created Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup 2014 Facebook will also have updates.

Location: Stadium MPPJ Kelana Jaya
Jalan SS 7/15
47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Petaling Jaya Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in the suburb of Kelana Jaya in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It is currently used mostly for football/soccer matches, and previously served as the home stadium to Selangor MPPJ. It was built in time for the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and hosted the Games' rugby matches. The stadium holds 25,000 people and opened in 1996. The stadium was called MPPJ Stadium then MBPJ Stadium before its name was changed to current name, Petaling Jaya Stadium (locals still call it the Stadium MPPJ Kelana Jaya due to it's physical location as evidenced by the event website).

Google photo of inside the Kelana Jaya Stadium

This is the first time Sasuke will ever be held in a Stadium. Of note to those reading this post.  The event is a FOUR DAY EVENT.  There will be 2 days of qualifying. One day in particular is of note to those living outside the region.  The event is called "OPEN" for a reason.  All countries are welcome. 

The ASEAN Open Cup invites athletes from around the world to compete in Sasuke Sports on a global scale. There will be two days for qualifiers followed by a pair of main event featuring 3 areas. The first day of the main event is for individuals while the second day is for teams.

Participants must be 18 years or older as of Feb. 1st 2014 and possess a level of physical fitness necessary to safely challenge a strenuous obstacle course. The competition is open to both sexes and all citizens of all countries.

The organizers define “healthy” as the following:
(a) Be physically fit and capable of doing a bare minimum of 20 push-ups and 10 pull-ups without resting.
(b) Not have any debilitating injuries or transmittable illness.

There is a registration fee of 60 Malaysian Ringgit (approx. $19 USD) to be paid via PayPal after your application has been accepted.

Accepted applicants will be notified via email by Jan. 20th 2014

They mean it.  It is open to everyone including those outside of the region.  That is USA, Europe, South America, etc.  Open means open.  Obviously you will be responsible to get there on your own dime.  The organizers encourage you to send in your online application.  The way this is supposed to work is that 2 days of qualifying going into the 3rd day where the seeded competitors from the ASEAN/Japan go individually against those who went through qualifying.  Then the final day will be teams comprised of the results from the previous 3 days going head to head. Don't quote me on that as that might change but that's the general idea of how this is going to work. The event will not be televised per se but will be referenced in future Sasuke events (probably Navi) and used as promotional material for sponsors, promotion, etc for future events. It is expected at this time for the winning participants of the ASEAN event have an entry to Sasuke Japan. I'm not quite sure exactly how this will be handled but I'm sure this will be a small entry and not the old ANW 10 that marred the previous Sasuke events back when G4 had a lot of say.  This event is in cooperation with Sasuke Japan and TBS so it's the next best sanctioned event next to the rumored Ninja Warrior Europe.  I'm also assuming that this will change locations every so often but again don't quote me on that.  For those in the USA, this will not be sponsored by NBC as by now I'm sure NBC couldn't care less about Sasuke as they are preoccupied by ANW now.  It is evident by their lack of Sasuke programming in this country and lack of participation in the Sasuke Rising tournaments.  There is also a possibility that anyone officially tied to NBC's production of ANW will not be allowed to participate in this event due to conflict of interest.  Again, I'm sure all of that will be handled behind the scenes between the organizers and as such treated like any television-organized event subject to approval and sole discretion.

All in all I'm very happy this event is finally taking place and we know when this event will actually happen! I wish them well! I wish I could go.. but luck doesn't always follow me. LOL

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Airdate for ANW5 - Japan vs. USA

Shin Sedai (新世代) literally "New Generation"
(some call them the "New Stars" deriving from the Allstars)
2-Time Grand Champion Yuuji Urushihara 漆原裕治 (Cliffer #3), Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志, Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒, Kazuma Asa 朝一眞 and Sasuke All-star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟
Las Vegas, Nevada Japan vs USA - ANW5 event.
Almost completely forgot since NBC forgot to announce this in the Fall when they promised.. the airdate for this event is finally listed!  Matt Iseman mentioned this a few days ago but I wanted to get a link from NBC.  I finally got it on the NBC/Universal website.
American Ninja Warrior Special: USA vs Japan
Monday, January 13 on NBC (8-10 p.m. ET)

"American Ninja Warrior" presents the first ever international competition as 'Team USA' battles against 'Team Japan' in an action-packed two-hour special, hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja Biamila with Jenn Brown co-hosting. Five top American competitors from “American Ninja Warrior” will compete against five of the most accomplished Japanese contenders from “Sasuke” in a high stakes battle for international dominance. Representing Team U.S.A. are Brian Arnold, Paul Kasemir, James McGrath, Travis Rosen and Brent Steffensen, who will compete against Team Japan’s Kazuma Asa, Hitoshi Kanno, Ryo Matachi, Shingo Yamamoto and two-time “Sasuke” Grand Champion Yuji Urushihara. Contestants will tackle all four stages of the Las Vegas “finals” course in a new head-to-head format that pits members from each team against one another. In the end, the championship trophy and international bragging rights will go to the victors in this inaugural U.S.A. vs. Japan contest. Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbaja Biamila host and Jenn Brown co-hosts.

American Team
James McGrath, Brent Steffensen, Brian Arnold , Paul Kasemir, and Travis Rosen ©James McGrath

So finally after a couple months delay we are getting the event aired on US Soil.  I posted a blog already introducing the event.  I also previewed the the Japan team if you wanted a refresher as to who the new Sasuke Stars appearing here.  Given the fact that it does include Sasuke competitors it's almost certain I will be blogging about this. I'm not a fan of the NBC presentation of Ninja Warrior but it should at least be worth it to watch the USA debut of the Japanese Sasuke stars on prime time network television.