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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

American Ninja Warrior expands and why I don't blog about it

I've gotten a Loooooooot of questions about the "Sasuke type" international shows that are expanding across Europe but almost nothing on the blog.  There are several reasons actually.. mostly.. no one ever writes back about it when I email because they know me as a "Sasuke" person and not an "Ninja Warrior" person. That.. is actually correct!  Also, because the current spin offs are off of AMERICAN Ninja Warrior (I show I honestly can't stand) and NOT Sasuke Japan's version.. then yeah. I'm not blogging about it. It does nothing to support Sasuke in Japan.  It only supports NBC's new format of the show (who's rules are whichever the wind is blowing that day..) as they are hiring them to create the show, build the obstacles and recreate THAT version of the show. I don't support ANW so that's why I don't blog about it.  It's already painful looking at the ANW vs. World rewriting of history when it doesn't suit them (Only because the Japanese are there and I was asked to do it for them). I don't need an international version of that disaster.  This is what Ninja Warrior Europe is evolving into sadly. My biggest problem is because of the spirit that is prevailing in the shows already taped (Sweden and omg especially the disastrous Turkey show where contestants were trained on the obstacles and ran them over and over until they passed.. /facepalm) is actually turning worse as each new country touches it.  I'm happy that the UK (Long suffering fans for all of my blog career) is finally getting something, but I wish it was the Sasuke version. I think the fact that ITV picked it up and not Challenge was my clue that it was the wrong version.  I suspect that Challenge just didn't want to spend money more importantly why it was the American version and not the Japan version that is already popular on Challenge.  That's the only reason why ITV has it.  I don't have high hopes for the show.  The only other show that fits the mold of spin off from Sasuke is Sasuke Vietnam that is coming in early 2015. Provided it gets aired in some way and doesn't implode like Malaysia, I'll have something on it on the blog.

The Calendar project is up and running and thanks for the support!  I get a kick out of people letting me know they bought it and the Japanese are fascinated by something they've never seen before! LOL  Starting in the first week of January, I will be putting up a huge fundraising project on Indigogo to help fund a trip to Japan.  I hope to be able to put it up in time for the rebroadcast but we'll see how difficult it is to set up during the New Year.  Please look forward to that as I will need your help to get to Japan to help supplement the book I'm already writing. I'll most likely have that blog before the Sasuke 30 broadcast update.

And speaking of... a reminder Sasuke 30 reairs on January 3rd with new footage and an announcement!  And I can tell you.. it's not what you think it is!  I'll see what gets added to the program and will blog on the additions.  So far it's mostly 4 runs in the First Stage and 2 in the 3rd.  Should be a quick blog! LOL Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Fun 2014 - ElfYourself!

ElfYourself Sasuke Style!

Soooooo.. yeah.  Not since 2008 have I come up with something goofy for the holidays!  I blame a Vlogger (Dael Kingsmill) whom I frequent often for giving me the idea. I mean.. I've seen it before in previous years.. but brain started thinking about it after I saw her video.  I thought of redoing the old 12 days of Sasuke from 2008 but this was much simpler.

And yes there's only 5 of them since that's all the website would allow and since I'm not a Yamada fan.. well.. he had to go! Mwahahahhahaah ehem.  Enjoy! Oh!  Btw as a reminder Sasuke 30 reairs on January 3rd with new footage and an announcement!  I'll see what gets added to the program and will blog on the additions.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sasuke 30 Rebroadcast and Sasuke related updates

Back on December 5th I saw a re-tweet of a talent agency post (for Kenji Darvish) announcing something I wasn't sure was actually real.  A FULL rebroadcast of Sasuke. To my knowledge there has only been 2 rebroadcasts of Sasuke (Sasuke 23 and Sasuke 24) and both were in the Monster 9 era.  Of note, the two times Sasuke has seen any reruns, Sasuke was heavily edited and cut to either 1/2 or even 1/3 it's original broadcast size.  The complete opposite thing is happening this time. It's actually LONGER than that original broadcast (by approximately 40 minutes).

Sasuke 30 tester demonstration/walk through ©Kikaku TVGuide

「SASUKE 2014」再放送のお知らせ!
スペシャルアンコール「SASUKE 2014」を放送します。

"Sasuke 30th Anniversary"
Saturday, January 3, 2015
9:30 JST (9:30 AM local time in Japan)
Station: TBS (Japan)

7:30 PM (Eastern Standard Time) (FRIDAY Night)
4:30 PM (Pacific Standard Time) (FRIDAY Afternoon)

Additional time conversion

Finally posted on the Sasuke TBS Page and on their Facebook confirming what we found out earlier in the week.  If you notice, the broadcast time is longer than the July official broadcast. I'm very happy about that. I also confirmed that there will be no Navi this time.  It's not really necessary anyway as we know the full results by now. I'm just happy that Sasuke will have some sort of presence now that there is a year break between Sasuke 30 and Sasuke 31 coming in 2015.

 Sasuke Producer Hiroki Kikuno 菊野浩樹 (left) and Sasuke Director Masato Inui 乾雅人 (right) just before Sasuke 30 ©Kikaku TVGuide

In response to the longer air time, Director Inui tweeted said that he is indeed reediting the show to include some runs that were previously cut in the July 3rd broadcast to fill out the new broadcast time on January 3rd.  For most of us who love watching the First stage runs it was a great announcement that some new runs will be shown from the 1st, 2nd and even 3rd stages that were previously cut or severely edited!
Yuuichi Okada 岡田祐一, Shinya Kishimoto 岸本真弥, New Generation Star Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒  and Keita Tomino 富野恵太 (Cliffer #4) ©Ryo Matachi

The news of the longer time and the Inui involvement in re-instituting some cut runs meant GREAT news for people like Shinya (more remember him as the guy that bends frying pans).  From all reports his run was both funny, exciting and stressful all at the same time.  To remind people, his run, albeit a clear, was cut completely and was part of the infamous 7 person Clear Chart™.

The Nagasaki Brothers!
Takamasa Nagasaki 長崎 剛政 and Shunsuke Nagasaki 長崎峻侑 ©Shunsuke Nagasaki

While not confirmed, it also gives hope that we will see at least one of the stages that Shun participated in.  Along with Lee, he was one of the guy that got his runs triple fast-forwarded. Yes.. ALL THREE STAGES. Here is hope we get to see at least complete one!  I hope many will chose to watch Sasuke during the New Year.  We know that Sasuke has zero chance to win it's timeslot despite the hour simply because they will be going up against a ratings juggernaut in "Hakone Ekiden" on NTV.  (Last year their rating was 27.. yes... 27)  They are under no illusions they will win. I just hope they at least have a respectable showing and provide an alternative for those who don't want to watch the New Year marathon. AIM FOR SILVER!  LOL

Sasuke All Stars Toshihiro Takeda 竹田敏浩 and Makoto Nagano 長野誠  ©Masato Inui

Because I can.. ehem.. actually this is relevant.  Those following Nagano's Facebook will know that Nagano has built a brand new family home during this year.  Not only has construction been completed but he had a special ceremony done to commemorate this occasion.  Takeda made the trip to help christen the house and even Inui showed up to film the event. Our hope is that we see it in Sasuke 31's Navi since we know that Sasuke 30's rebroadcast will not feature a new navi.
An update on the Calendar and other projects in Rambling Rican.  Starting in the first week of January, I will be putting up a huge fundraising project on Indigogo to help fund a trip to Japan.  I hope to be able to put it up in time for the rebroadcast but we'll see how difficult it is to set up during the New Year.  Please look forward to that as I will need your help to get to Japan to help supplement the book I'm already writing.  Thanks to Philip again for making my brand new logo! I should have the new logo incorporated into the blog and will be cleaning up the sides and banner in the next couple of weeks. Most likely after the holiday season.

And finally, I forgot to mention on the blog (so sorry about that) but back in September I noticed (and posted on Twitter) that Rambling Rican broke the 1,000,000 views mark!  Actually now I'm at 1,030,000+ now. LOL  Thank you everyone for your continued support these past 6 years. I'm still amazed people come to the site to read anything here!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

2015 Rambling Rican Calendar is for sale

Cover for the Calendar ©RamblingRican

As I mentioned before, I'm starting to organize a small set of fundraisers for the big trip next year to Japan.  (crossing fingers) My hope is to be able to go to Japan in the Spring and interview as many people as I can to include in the books I'm writing on Sasuke's history.  The first of the projects was a Calendar with STQ'ers in 3 different locations celebrating the 6 years I've been doing this blog.   The locations just happened naturally and would have happened regardless if the photos were not used for this calendar.  Miska Sutela from Finland was over in Japan visiting and the STQ'ers just naturally got together to train with him.  Even Morimoto flew up from the South of Japan to take part in the festivities. That event was in Yamagata.  The Sedai event is an annual PTA event that the city runs.  Jin and Tada were invited to participate and brought their cameras to that as well. Sasuke Director Inui even showed up there out of nowhere shocking everyone! LOL  The Gunma event was a small local hangout that I got a couple of bonus photos from. I'm happy to say that the Calendar is complete and finally up on the website!  Thanks also to Philip (from SMF) for my brand-spanking-new logo! I even added a cat from the Create Calendar site and perched it on the monitor! LOL

 December 2015 Events Snapshot ©RamblingRican

I was blessed in having a few photographers who donated their photos.  The large majority came from "Jin" Kung Cheen-Howng 洪 恭芹 and Tatsuya Tada 多田竜也 with a handful of photos from Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 and even Sasuke Director Masato Inui 乾 雅人!  I also added the birthdays of those involved and featured with some of the Sasuke regulars (Like the All-stars) to fill out the months. I didn't get them all of them but I hope to be able to expand on that next year with their permission.  I wanted to add more but just started with this for now and see how people like it. I also had a cultural lesson about Japan. They have never done a fundraiser before.  I'm not kidding. This idea is completely foreign to them!  Just the calendar itself was a confusing thing.  I remember being on Skype with a few of them explaining what a car wash, girl scout cookies, candy bar sale, spaghetti dinner, and even a lemonade stand was!  It was quite the experience.  I appreciate all of those who participated in this having NO IDEA what this could possibly accomplish! They were so confused... (some still are even though I have their permission!)  Seems it's quite an American invention. (wait until the crowd-fund project... that's going to blow their minds! LOL)

 April 2015's snapshot ©RamblingRican

I have to admit I had a difficult time with the format though.  I originally had less photos and no captions.  I did one of those normal photography type calendars with single or double photo pages.  The quality of the photos I had were absolutely awesome (and I had over 500 photos to chose from) so I was able to do that if I wanted. However, I ran into a distinct problem.  Without the captions no one knew who the heck anyone was.  Ultimately that’s what people had the most issue with. The photos were awesome by themselves but it didn’t have any impact on them because honestly only a hard-core (like myself and possibly most of SMF) would know who the heck anyone is anyway. LOL Heck some people wouldn't recognize what they look like but would recognize nicknames like "Moody" or "The Lucky Bastard that got Bunpei Shiratori to speak at his wedding" but they would be damned if they knew what they looked like in photos with other people in it.  Also, most Rambling Rican readers go to my blog to hear what I have to say about photos rather than the photos themselves.  (and trust me I'm forever grateful for that!)

 A snapshot of the creation process

I had a hard time trying to find fonts and colors to fit without screwing up the design. I originally was going to do captions in the Events section (where the dates, numbers are in one of the empty blocks).  Then scratched that idea quickly.  Then decided under the pics to at least mention WHO was in each particular photo.. but that really screwed up the format. I had chat bubbles and that really made it look worse (and cheap..).  I had blocks where I had the captions IN the photos but for the smaller photos they basically cut off the photos making them even smaller. So I settled with this one alternating between black and white font in hopes it didn't blend too much into the background.  One of my longtime Sasuke friends (Thanks Cathi!) suggested to add my own Rambling Rican captions like I do on the blog offering my own thoughts on some of the photos.  Hubby toned down some of my more wtf moments (he did say and he's right.. this is a family friendly calendar that can be put in any home with children present) so he took out some of my lines and acronyms.  Oh future editing projects will be fun and I have to put my ego in check!  He is right though as painful as it is to admit it.  I moved photos around, took some out, added some in, changed format, order.. heck  I fought with the damn thing for 3 straight days!  If in the future people want pristine photography photos (like a photobook – which this site also does) then the only marking on the photo would be a copyright.  I'm more than amiable to expand on that in the future.  But for now this will work.  The first year with any project is the most difficult to create.   I can change it for next year if I get too many complaints but so far this is the direction I got from my longtime readers (and the most approvals). I know that I won't be able to please everyone sadly but that is the nature of varying opinions.  Especially when money is involved as it is in this case.

May, 2015 Snapshot ©RamblingRican

Full disclosure on the "fundraising part" of the Calendar Project.  I'm getting about 5-7 dollars per calendar created (not sure if I get hit with back end fees like most companies do these days - if not it's 7 bucks at the top end). All of the prices are up on their website along with a description as to how this works.  This is the first time I'm using this website and hope the experience is positive.  The calendars are only printed when someone orders them as opposed to other companies that require for a certain amount to be ordered up front.  While they also had an option to do a fulfillment drive (like they do in local schools with the sign up sheet) I chose the other route available.  They will be doing the fulfillment so I don't have to be the middle person.  I won't know who orders are from as the website takes care of that privately between the buyer and them.  So far I've had zero issues other than creative issues on my own.  I appreciated they had no set up fees (some websites can cost 100-200 bucks just to set up) and their reviews are overwhelmingly positive (yes I checked outside websites and Googled their names).  Consider this a test run. If this year works out well I will continue to do this and even expand on any of the other stuff they offer (like photo books, cards, etc.) if people are interested in buying some sort of merchandise that will help me as well. So if you want to contribute to the kitty and get the inaugural calendar (it comes in 2 sizes apparently although I formatted it for the smaller one) you can buy it directly on CreatePhotoCalendar's website!  The website accepts Visa, Master Card, Checks, Money Orders, and Paypal. They ship to the USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Europe, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Philippines, India, Thailand, and Australia.  As always I am eternally grateful for your continued support throughout the years and I hope to continue by expanding and reaching that ultimate dream of writing about Sasuke at it's source:  Japan!

Edit: 12/9/14

Lena Horn posing with my calendar! ©Lena Horn

One of my friends (who is also an Author - Forgotten Fox (Book 1 of The Celestial Saga) shown here) was nice enough to send me a photo of her holding a Calendar she bought.  That is the standard size 8 1/2 x 11 calendar. I also got a few of them (to mail out to the guys as thank you's) and having never worked with the company before, I have to say, the calendars are a reaaaaally nice quality!  The calendars are actually heavy stock and really hefty for their size!  I wasn't sure the quality of product but I'm quite pleased!