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Sasuke 33 Announced
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Friday, January 30, 2015

Indiegogo Update! Good news!

Edited: February 3, 2015 - Link to the new campaign is up!
Edited: February 5, 2015 - Updated with news of more 2015 Sasuke shirts!


Just wanted to give you an update on the huge IndieGogo Fundraiser I'm doing trying to raise money to fly to Japan. I also did an update on the fundraiser website but wanted to update the blog as well.

As some of you know by now (as I've contacted the current backers - thank you so much!), this project has received incredible news.  Thanks to the generosity of a new contributor, the airfare to Japan will be covered!  That alone saves the project $4000 and removes a HUGE amount of stress.  With the biggest price tag and most difficult portion of the fundraiser now covered, I'm able to focus on reorganizing the trip to Sasuke 31!! However, there is was one outstanding problem. I cannot change the goal amount, the type of funding (it's currently fixed), nor the timeline for this project.  As a result, this current fundraiser will most likely fail on February 16th. If new options become available to change that, I'll update with information as soon as possible.

EDIT:  IndieGogo gave me the go ahead to launch the new campaign now.  The old one is now officially closed. I appreciate IndieGogo allowing for this One-time allowance given the extraordinary circumstances!

 These are the 2014 shirts to show an example of the type of shirts they have done in the past.

EDIT:  More T-shirts!!
I wanted to post a quick update. I will be able to secure more T-shirts BEFORE the tournament and that makes me very happy. As such I can get them bought before I arrive and have them waiting for me when I arrive in Japan. I edited the 2014 perk and replaced it with new 2015 shirts! If you are still interested in the old one just send me a message and I can get that ordered for you.  I know the 2015 ones were highly sought after and with the transition of the campaign, some of you were lost in the shuffle in being able to secure the new shirts.

The old campaign is now officially closed and those who have holds on either your credit card or PayPal (from the previous campaign), they should be lifting soon.  I also see that IndieGogo is addressing some of the weird bugs of the first day contributions not posting onto the campaign directly (even though I received notification from PayPal that you were charged).  For those affected, you should have gotten an email from Support. Let me know if this has NOT happened and I'll take care of it.  Thanks for your patience!

My plans were to relaunch a much smaller IndieGogo campaign to cover the costs of food, lodging, transportation (since I will be flying out of a different airport) and perk fulfillment. That is up and running of course and thank you so much for contributing so quickly to pass the 50% mark! Thanks so much for the continued support and appreciate all the wonderful feedback everyone has been giving me. It's been very stressful recently and your words of encouragement has been lifting my spirits. I'm truly grateful.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Indiegogo Update with Sasuke Merchandise


Just wanted to give you an update on the huge Indiegogo Fundraiser I'm doing trying to raise money to fly to Japan. I added last week the Q&A post to answer some questions I got the first couple of weeks..  Yesterday I added a couple of perks that were long requested.
 

There has been interest in official Sasuke merchandise that is extremely difficult to get outside of Japan.  I added 2 different perks.  One perk is for the Tee-shirts and one perk is for the Towels. Only during the taping of Sasuke do these things become available.  As sampled above, TBS prints limited edition Sasuke tournament shirts with the date and year on them.  For a $100 donation I can buy a Shirt or a Towel for you. Please remember that I have to buy them at full price and are subject to availability during the taping of the tournament.  This is why I'm limiting the amount I would buy at Sasuke.  Don't forget to add the shipping costs (domestic or international).  I'd have to get there early before they sell out so I'm trying to be careful how many I can get the first day of the tournament. The event itself tapes over 2 days but they don't have their merchandise stall open on the second day.  The merchandise available varies but the two constants are the shirts and the towels.

Also, if f there is any interest in importing the 2014 versions (that are only made available through online sale ONLY within Japan), I can arrange a $100 perk just for that. I can arrange with friends for them to be ordered within Japan.  The way it will work is that I will make a bulk order for them (full price of course), pick them up when I'm in Japan and then mail that set to you when I get back home.  Please send me a message if you are interested.  Because it will also require the help of a second party and I'd have to pay for shipping within Japan, the price will be the same as the 2015 set. I will only do this during the Indigogo Campaign which is up for another 3 weeks to help get some of the money to reach the goal.
 
As always I'll always update on both the Indiegogo site and on the initial post. I'll expand on them if there's interest and will do what I can to get more of them.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Indiegogo Update and Q&A


Just wanted to give you an update on the huge Indiegogo Fundraiser I'm doing trying to raise money to fly to Japan. I've mentioned it before but wanted to update everyone in a separate post since I've gotten some questions about it.  Before I start I wanted to update you on the fact that we have 3 new perks on the website that hopefully catch your interest and any news ones I'll always update on both the Indiegogo site and on the initial post. I'll expand on them if there's interest and will do what I can to get more of them.

Progress as of January 16, 2015

As for those early adopters who donated before any of the extra perks went up, first of all THANK YOU and secondly I'll do what I can to make it up to you!  Just hope we can get to the goal! I sincerely appreciate your support as I now sit at 26% as of this blog entry.  Thank you so much! I'm also excited to see the variety of countries involved in the fundraiser!  Australia, USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden and Belgium!

Shinya Kishimoto 岸本 真弥 on his course in Shizuoka ©Shinya Kishimoto

I've been getting some questions about the amount.  I've mentioned it before but I'll go through it in more detail.  Q: Can't you get to Japan cheaper?  A: Probably, but it's not guaranteed.  I priced it on a "worst case scenerio" for many reasons. Personally, I've been financially burned before doing things on the fly and on the cheap and have had to dip into our own savings to fix the windfall. I can't do that anymore (it will bankrupt us).  This is also the reason why it's "fixed" funding. For example, look at the number now.  I'm at just over $2000.  What if that was the only amount I raised? I (singly) can get to Japan and do nothing else. I'd have to find a way to get everywhere begging... I can't.. do that. Others have done it before, but I personally can't just show up somewhere and expect to be catered to. As far as I'm concerned, if I can't raise the money then no one wants to read the book anyway.

Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口 朋広 in Sasuke Park 2014 ©Sasuke Park at Toyosu

This would be my first trip to Japan and quite honestly I want to be able to roam freely without having to beg people for help.  Nothing looks worse than arriving to a country to do a personal project only to leech on others for things.  It's like having that "friend" who shows up to a group hang out at a restaurant and leaves before the check arrives.. It's one thing to be treated, but another to EXPECT people to do it.  It just.. looks bad. I wouldn't be comfortable doing it. If it happens that I get treated then great!  But, I want to be able to know I can support myself in the event it doesn't happen. Q: Isn't the Yen really low now?  A: While the Yen is low now, we don't know what will happen in the next few months as the proposed time period for the trip would be in the late spring/early summer.  A lot can change. Also (and more importantly) I wouldn't even be able to book until I get a firm taping date, and as those who have seen in the past, those are floating dates and have moved around.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 from Team Japan during USA vs. World (Screencapture from the NBC show)

Q: Do you really need the JRail Pass?  A: My hope was to be able to travel around to the prospective training areas before and after the tournament tapes.  This will give me more time to actually sit down and talk to individual people while not restricted to the parking lot of Sasuke.  Traveling in Japan is not cheap.  Hell.. like everyone knows.. even getting out of the Narita airport to get into central Tokyo costs $200 via taxi!  Not everyone lives near public trans so I have to be creative and give myself as many options as possible in regards to how to get around town.  Most of the competitors don't even have cars if they live in the city.  Also..  again, it's going with the assumption that I would be on my own and not relying on someone else to get me around the area.  Remember that everyone would be at work, school and going about their daily lives.  They are not on vacation when I would be there and whatever time off they would take it would be for the tournament itself. I don't want to assume everyone will drop their daily lives to help me.  Q: Can't you stay in a hostel or one of those capsule hotels to save money?  A: Let's face it, I'm not small and neither is my husband.  Given we'll be there for a week, I'd like to get a good night's rest and have access to my own bathroom that I can fit in (western style preferred.. I don't even know how to.. omg no.. LOL). I need to survive going around places for a week and if I am not comfortable when I do sleep, I'll just be a walking zombie.. or worse.. sick.  I can't be productive in that state and the entire trip would be a waste of everyone's money.

Tatsuya Tada gets his calendar! ©Tatsuya Tada


Q: I'm sure you can find ways to save money, what happens then with all that money?  A: The rest of it would go towards the publishing of the book. That would mean it would be one less fundraising campaign I'd have to do in the future.  All of the money as it is is being reinvested in this project with the ultimate goal to write the best, most comprehensive history book on Sasuke I can possibly muster. A book of it's kind has never been written and I want to give myself every opportunity to be able to get as much content as possible.  Please help if you can. I'd really appreciate it.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me. I'm trying to be as transparent and open with the process so you have the right to know what's going on with your money should I be able to raise enough for this trip. As always, thank you so much for the support.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Indiegogo Campaign is live!

Updated January 11, 2015 - Added Yuusuke Morimoto perk!
Updated January 16, 2015 - Added Shinya Kishimoto and Tomohiro Kawaguchi perks! Also adding link to the most recent update + Q&A.
Updated January 23, 2015 - Added Sasuke merchandise perks.

YouTube Link for Indiegogo Campaign

IT'S HERE! Finally!  The Link is live to the huge fundraising project that I was discussing before.  I'm using Indiegogo to "Help get Rambling Rican to Japan!".  I've written about this before, but this is a crowd fund campaign to get Rambling Rican to Japan for Sasuke 31 this summer!

This video gave me fits.  I shot 2 completely different ones then reshot the last video twice!  OI!  Then I had to iron out all the financial planning stuff this week.  Sorry for the delay in getting the campaign up. I had some issues setting up the online banking due to my own idiodcy.. remember folks.. your federal tax id number is not the same as your state tax id number.. LOL   Crossing fingers and wish me luck!
Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 during ANW's USA vs. World

 Updated perks section of the Indigogo:
  • I was able to secure future cooperation from Veteran Sasuke competitor Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介.  Those in the USA will remember him as Team Japan's ace who was the first person ever to clear American Ninja Warrior's 3rd Stage in competition in Las Vegas, Nevada.  For the Japanese, he is a veteran of 7 Sasuke tournaments and was the last man standing in Sasuke 29. Thanks to that feat he led Japan to a Silver Medal at the Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup in Malaysia  and wore the coveted #3000 in the Anniversary show Sasuke 30!  He is willing to sign photos for contributors in conjunction with this fundraiser!
Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口 朋広 in Sasuke Park 2014 ©Sasuke Park at Toyosu
  • Veteran Sasuke competitor Tomohiro Kawaguchi 川口 朋広 is a veteran of 6 Sasuke tournaments and was a Finalist in the most recent tournament Sasuke 30! My blog has covered his career in it's entirety and has been kind to let me interview him for hours for the blog.  He is willing to sign photos or anything we can come up with for contributors in conjunction with this fundraiser!
Shinya Kishimoto 岸本 真弥 on his course in Shizuoka ©Shinya Kishimoto
  • Veteran Sasuke competitor Shinya Kishimoto 岸 本 真弥 who is best known as the competitor who bends frying pans had a break-out season in Sasuke 30 when he made it all the way to the Third Stage!  He is willing to sign photos and anything we can come up with for contributors in conjunction with this fundraiser!  As a tribute to what we know him by, I'm adding the perk of him signing a Japanese frying pan!
I'm starting out with postcard size photos that I intend to take to Japan to have him sign in person! If more interest comes from this I will add larger sizes or different items. Please note that all other merchandise will have to be bought by me when I arrive so they would be completely subject to availability. I figured photos are easier and I can have them ready and take them with me to Japan ready to be signed. If you have any questions or suggestions please contact me. I'm in the works to add more competitors. I'll post any who are able to participate as soon as I have permission.

There has been interest in official Sasuke merchandise that is extremely difficult to get outside of Japan.  I added 2 different perks.  One perk is for the Tee-shirts and one perk is for the Towels. Only during the taping of Sasuke do these things become available.  As sampled above, TBS prints limited edition Sasuke tournament shirts with the date and year on them.  For a $100 donation I can buy a Shirt or a Towel for you. Please remember that I have to buy them at full price and are subject to availability during the taping of the tournament.  This is why I'm limiting the amount I would buy at Sasuke.  Don't forget to add the shipping costs (domestic or international)

If there is any interest in importing the 2014 versions (that are only made available through online sale ONLY within Japan), I can arrange a $100 perk just for that. I can arrange with friends for them to be ordered within Japan.  Please send me a message if you are interested.
Sasuke Director Masato Inui receives his Calendar! ©Masato Inui


Finally, thanks for those who have been buying the Calendar and sending me photos!  I included 5 calendars I bought myself to the perks list in the campaign.  Working on getting 2 additional ones actually signed by at least one of the competitors (Jin is working on that for me. LOL  Thanks Jin!) and will add that in the perks later one when I confirmed who did it.  I know some people have been having issues with ordering these outside of the USA, maybe this is an opportunity to do both?  We'll see how it goes.  Thanks for the support for those who bought them!  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 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Official Sasuke 31 announcement and other related stuff!

Sasuke 31 Official Announcement!
第31回大会開催決定!出場者募集!!

During the Sasuke 30's extended rebroadcast today we received 2 pieces of information. The first is that we got confirmation for Sasuke 31!  Director Masato Inui 乾雅人 is returning to direct another tournament. Seems now that behind the scenes this iteration of shows are in the Sasuke Rising "era", however we will always know and refer to them by their numbers.  Sasuke 31 is officially slated for "Summer" SASUKE 2015夏(仮) (similar to last year).  TBS created a page for Sasuke 31st Annual Meeting on their Sasuke Rising website and updated both the TBS International Facebook and their Sasuke Rising Facebook along with their official Twitter. There was quite a bit of confusion when "Sasuke Rising" title first came out for Sasuke 28-29.  To help explain it further though for those who are still confused, in the past we only had "Sasuke" at the title all the way up to Sasuke 27.  After the bankruptcy of Monster 9 however, the title changed to "Rising" delineating when the tournament was under full TBS control.  I like to think of it as BM9 and AM9 (Before Monster 9 and "After" Monster 9).  That said, I'm excited!

Tokyo Auditions with Director Inui (Standing on left) ©Kikaku


Along with the official Application is the announcement of Sasuke Auditions. Sasuke 28 auditions were held in 2 different cities in the country and Sasuke 30 auditions was the same.  Seems for budgetary reasons we are doing that again for Sasuke 31.  The cities are set for Tokyo and Osaka (same as Sasuke 30).  Also same as last time, they are projected to be sometime during the month of April (seems by the application it will be early April). Deadline for applications is March 22! And as a final note, it is unknown at this time how international competitors will be handled.  If I find more concrete information on the subject I'll post, however now that the ASEAN event is no longer active it seems that only direct guest invites will be the only way to get to Sasuke these days sad to say. If you live and work in Japan however, that option to enter auditions is still open (which is a relief).

「SASUKE」30回記念DVDの発売が決定!!
DVDの詳細概要が決まり次第、本ホームページ上でもお知らせ致します。
また詳細が決定いたしましたら、「TBSishop」よりご案内を差し上げます。


The second bit of news was the announcement of Sasuke 30's official DVD box set.  The unfortunate part of that news is that it's Japan only and not region free like we've petitioned in the past.  No other information was given other than Spring release and once that is posted I'll write about it. However, it will be a Region 2 DVD and is expected to be extraordinarily expensive with multiple disks.  I don't have high hopes for it and if it's too expensive, it won't sell well. If that happens, I doubt TBS will ever do it again.  Sounds counter-productive if you ask me.  Working on a solution for it but we'll see. For now, progress is being made with the attempt to sell the 30th Anniversary tourney with all (but Yamada's) run in full.  (We will finally see Ishikawa! LOL) I suspect that's about 6-7 hours long!  I'd love to see it....


Along with that I should be getting the campaign to get Rambling Rican to Japan for Sasuke 31 up and running this week! As I mentioned before, Starting in the first week of January, I will be putting up a huge fundraising project on Indiegogo to help fund a trip to Japan.  I had to iron out all the financial planning stuff this week somehow during the holiday and should get all the receiving information finalized and the pitch video edited.  That was .. interesting to record.. LOL Once I get all of that done I'll post about it!  Crossing fingers and wish me luck!

"Happy NewYear look whats on the wall. :-)" ©fluffyheadorca

Finally, thanks for those who have been buying the Calendar and sending me photos!  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

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