Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New SASUKE KUNOICHI SPORTSMAN No. 1 Interactive Exercise Game 究極!筋肉 スタジアム!サスケ完全制覇

Edited to add in the official game site.

Remember this? (thanks to youtube user kiunao)

Apparently Monster 9/Digital 9 and Epoch (the makers) think that it's time for an update to the old サスケ&筋肉バトル!!スポーツマンNo.1決定戦 (SASUKE and Kinniku Battle! Sportsman No. 1 Kettei-sen) and at the International Tokyo Toy Show 2008 unveiled their new version of the game, 究極!筋肉スタジアム!サスケ完全制覇 (Kyoukyoku Kinniku Stadium! SASUKE Kanzenseiha. The game went on sale 7/19 and they will apparently be selling them at Muscle Park when Katsumi Yamada is there (hey, Shingo is going to be there again!).

Wow. Over half that paragraph is blue (or whatever color your browser presents it as).

I can't quite categorize the game. I guess it's an exergame because it's promoted as helping you burn calories. They refer to these games as 体感ゲーム (taikan game) - they usually come with a mat or some other equipment and then you plug them in to your TV and play. It involves lots of running in place and whatnot (as seen in the video).

Here are some screenshots "courtesy" of Toys R Us Japan and some place called Jupiter:

I wonder if they could make something like this for the Wii? Notice that they've added on KUNOICHI to the game. It's hard to see on the box but I believe it says 44 SASUKE areas, 34 KUNOICHI areas, 10 Sportsman No. 1 stuffs and 6 I believe fitness checks for a total of 94 different things you can do with the game, not including whatever you can imagine doing with the equipment on your own wow let's keep this a family friendly blog.

Get yours for only 6999 yen! Order now!

Monday, July 28, 2008

SASUKE MANIAC July 28, 2008 Sort of liveblog サスケマニア

This week! SASUKE Trial! 80 out of a 1000! Who will make it to the big show? Who will be forced to stay at home? It's SASUKE Maniac!

Here we go!

Photos of this part of the show are up here.

Short interviews with some participants. Some people are from as far as Aomori and Okinawa.

There's a Rice Bowl participant!

Casey Cummings ケーシー・カミングス? He's from America. Or at least he has American flag shorts. Further examination shows that he came to Japan from Hawaii. Some other foreigners! A gaijin kid with a REALLY low voice. I believe the other gaijin are a father and son team. The father is Kent Gilbert ケント・ギルバート. The son with the low voice is Andrew Gilbert アンドリュー・ギルバート. They are from California.

Mr. SASUKE is there! He brought someone? That guy is sooo not going to make it.

Oy, I hope Rambling Rican gets photos of the American dude. He's at the corner of the screen while the announcers are talking and well, he's only wearing the flag shorts. Yeah.

Survival Station! They will be put into groups of four. The winners move on to the Final Stage.

Tons of people have sent in letters of appeal! Not all are there!

Ono Takashi is from Fukushima! Sayama Yuuhei is from Okinawa! Tako Yuusuke has Bruce Lee mania! Nomura Katsumori! They are our first four!

They have to do a shuttle run then cross the water using a rope. Then a ring slider! Nomura is out! They have to pile some sandbags (?) then go under then up a an incline! Sayama 佐山雄平 and Tako 田子勇介 are the winners!

Okay, the Jump Ring is where you have to bounce off a trampoline and reach a ring to get across. The rope across the water is called the Destiny Rope.

Next four! No names announced! Asa Kazuma is one of them! He's a..delivery man? Something like that. He has SASUKE pants! Makenai! He's the only one who gets airtime so he'll probably make it.

Tanaka, Tamori, Asa and some dude whose name I didn't catch are the next four. Asa has some writing on his back.

First part is a shuttle run. Asa is the top so far. Tanaka has wiped out! Asa is up! Yes! Asa Kazuma and the other guy are the two from this heat! It was a high level battle!

Tanaka was nervous.

The next four are all high school students.

Kato Ryouma has tons of videos. Hey! He also diagrams SASUKE stuff in his note books rather than doing his homework. He practices the Pipe Slider and Salmon Ladder at home! Let's see if the clip = he will qualify pattern holds.

Two kids named Takami, Satou something and Kato are their names.

Kato hayai. Whoops! Kato just missed the Jump Ring.

One of the Takamis and Satou are the qualifiers! Guess a clip doesn't equal someone who will pass. Damn TBS for not making things easy for me!

Oooh. Clip of the 2006 Trial. It was of the son of one of the next group.

Yamanaka Katsuo - it was his son. Koyama Yutaka. Terada Katsumi looks much younger than 55. It's an all over 50 group.

Shuttle Run. Destiny Rope. CMs.

Back. Shuttle Run again. Destiny Rope. Koyama is first across. NO! He missed! Yamanaka is across! He's the only one! Yoshioka (the one I missed) falls!

Yamanaka! The incline is last! There's a time limit apparently. But he beats it anyway! Yamanaka! He's doing it for the family! The others want to try again.

More clips! Hey look! Nagano at Muscle Park! CMs.

We've got pictures right over here!

There's Nagano! He's trying the new attraction at Muscle Park.

They show the new SASUKE Park. Nagano demonstrates the obstacles. First the Arm Bike.

Then the Shin-Cliff Hanger! No! He fails! Did he dye his hair?

Arm Rings. He has to make the jump similar to the jump you make at the end of the Pipe Slider. No! He lands on his feet just short of the mat.

Surprise guest! Yamamoto Shingo! Oh wow.

More clips from the SASUKE Trial for next week! Yahagi Makoto! That really weird gaijin kid!

See you next week!

Monday, July 21, 2008

SASUKE MANIAC July 21, 2008 Sort of liveblog サスケマニア

This week! The liveblog is back! Thanks random person!

As always, photos can be seen over at Rambling Rican!

What's been going on? Well since the last time (the female comedy duo race) there's been a trampoline competition. Geinojin Sportsman No. 1 Wakky and others have been doing this thing where they have to use a trampoline to jump over a bar - like a high jump of sorts but using a trampoline so the bar goes higher.

Right now! Random Muscle Musical members are challenging each other as Daisuke Nakata and Naoki Iketani look on!

Some people fail! Some people pass! Yoshikawa (?) passes 2m 60cm.

Naoki Iketani! Tondeiku! 2m 60cm is no problem for Iketani! I believe Iketani and co. are going to try to break Wakky's record (whatever it is.)

Daisuke Nakata! He's up! And he grazes the bar but it doesn't go down! It doesn't go down!

Morikami Daisuke! This is his second attempt. YES! No problem! Great form!

The Muscle Musical members are all wearing different shirts like they're some living ad for the Muscle Musical Cafe Press shop or something.

Seto something! I believe he was at SASUKE 20. Here he goes! NO!

Let's look at the different people left! One assumes that since Nakata is a pro trampoline player he has an advantage.

Our final four!
Yoshikawa Yasuaki (吉川泰昭) is a 2006 World Champion Silver medal gymnastics wheel (gym wheel, German wheel, Rhönrad) winner!

Morikami Daisuke 守上大輔 is a mountain bike rider! See him do his thing here.

Nakata Daisuke 中田大輔 is a pro trampoline player.

Iketani Naoki 池谷直樹 is a former gymnast and frequent competitor on all things Monster 9 related.

2m 70cm! Chotto takai!

Morikami up first! No! His knees catch the bar.

Yoshikawa Yoshiaki is up next! Here he goes. Ikkai me! He does it! We've got a legit challenger to the two Monster 9 veterans.

I hope that one day the female Muscle Musical members get a chance to do this rather than just cheer with pom-poms in the back.

Iketani! He's serious! This ain't no Monster Box son! He's up and does it! Nakata, being the apparently nice guy that he is, is all smiles as Iketani passes.

Looks like everything from now on is the new record.

Nakata Daisuke for pride! NO! Yabai. Morikami and Nakata get another chance. Morikami is a mountain bike pro rider.

Morikami! Dou da! No! For his first time (it is a made up event after all) he did well! According to him anyway.

Nakata! Can he do it? Here he goes! NO! Kuyashii! Mr. Trampoline must have caught Mr. SASUKE disease!

Now it's down to Iketani and Yoshikawa. They don't have cool Monster Box comparison photos yet. Someone mentions how it's like the Monster Box.

2m 80cm. Yoshikawa up first! He's a medalist in something. He hasn't missed yet.

Here he goes! NO! Shippai! He caught the bar with his chest on his way up.

Iketani has pressure on him as the veteran. He also hasn't missed yet. Can he put pressure on Yoshikawa.

Here he goes. NO!

They both have only one chance left! Who will be the champion! Yoshikawa is up first. Iketani can't watch.

NO! He tried to put his arms together (everyone else does it with arms spread eagle) but it didn't help!

Iketani focuses! He doesn't have his pit powder. Will it make a difference? He gets set...

Here he goes. CMs.

Dante's suit is too tight.

Man these Axe Effect puppet commercials are strange.

By the way, no word on if there is a body similar to the World Monster Box Association Alliance of the Universe for this new event to certify that they are indeed setting a new record.

Iketani! Last chance! No! Giri giri! His knee just catches it. Anyway, 2m 70cm is the new record!

SASUKE Trial 2008 Summer!

Aoki Akira! He's a single father! He didn't make it at the last SASUKE Trial! But he's been training! He's a construction worker. I wonder if he nicks stuff from work so that he can build obstacles at home:

Hey Akira!

Wait, that Kirin Lemon commercial is hilarious! He has tan lines like the machine he uses to build his arm strength!

Ah, it's hard to explain right now.


Other Construction Worker: Hey Akira! Where are you going with that pipe?


Oh wait, we're back. Wait. Is he break dancing? AH. He uses it to develop his rhythm and balance.

More about his home life.

SASUKE Trial clips! I bet they get at least a month out of this! That will be from next week!


Other Construction Worker: Hey Akira! Where are you going with that pipe?
Akira: Oh. Um.
Other Construction Worker: You're not stealing stuff to make SASUKE obstacles at home again are you?
Akira: What? Nonononono. I'm um. I'm taking this home to keep it safe.
Other Construction Worker: Keep it safe?
Akira: Yeah. Yeah. YEAH. KEEP IT SAFE. That's it! The boss said that this was a really important pipe so I have to take it home to make sure nothing happens to it.
Other Construction Worker: Oh. OK.
Akira: (to himself) My Pipe Slider will finally be complete!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cutta-kun/Katta-kun is dead カッタ君が死ぬ

From the rather sparse wikipedia entry about Ube City:
"One of the main attractions of the park is a white pelican called 'Katta-kun', so named after his parents who were from Calcutta, India. Born in the park in 1985, he became famous as he began visiting schools in the vicinity by himself." (Note: Katta-kun would be the straight romanization of his name but souvenirs from Tokiwa Park spell it as Cutta-kun which is how I've always known it as.)

According to the Tokiwa Park history of Cutta-kun (sadly not updated yet), Katta-kun started terrorizing visiting schools on his own back in 1988. The story made national news and from that time onward he became a symbol of Ube City.

Cartoon images of Cutta-kun can be seen around Ube on buses, maps and there is even a postcard set featuring Cutta-kun.

An animated film about him, カッタくん物語 (Cutta-kun Monogatari), was made as a fundraiser for the city back in 1994.

The movie was not based on fact since Cutta-kun apparently could SHOOT BEAMS FROM HIS MOUTH:

cutta beam

Cutta-kun was 23.

NHK story on Cutta-kun.
Asahi Shinbun story.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Teenage Bus hijacker is from Ube

From the Japan Today article on the story of a 14-year-old boy hijacking a JR bus with a knife (By the way, unless you enjoy the feeling of banging your head against a wall, it's generally a good idea to ignore the comments section of any Japan Today story):

"Police arrested a boy Wednesday for hijacking a bus on the Tomei Expressway in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. Ten passengers and a driver were on the bus from Nagoya to Tokyo, operated by JR Tokai Bus Co, at the time, none of whom were injured in the incident, according to police.

The boy, who was in possession of two knives, told police he is a 14-year-old second grader at a junior high school in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He said he hijacked the bus in order to cause trouble to his parents, who had scolded him, according to police."

The FNN News story clearly has the 宇部市 kanji in the right corner (click for a larger view):

Go Ube! At least no one got hurt. And he'll have something to write about if his teachers ask him to do a "What I did during my summer vacation" essay.

More stories here:
MDN (English)
MDN (Japanese)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Sort of Liveblog!

I wasn't planning on doing this but since I'm up (it's 1 AM here in the U.B.E.) and I found a way to watch, I'll do a truncated liveblog.

I had some computer problems with my computer so I missed a couple of minutes. I did catch the narrator absolutely brutalize Kobayashi's name a couple of times.

Did one of the announcers actually refer to Chestnut's win as a great moment in American sports? Oh my.

You can read other (and definitely better) liveblogs at Eatfeats
, AOL Fanhouse and FanIQ.

I'm not doing a good job of liveblogging here.


I'll crib a list from Eatfeats:

Joey "Jaws" Chestnut
Takeru Kobayashi
Tim "Eater X" Janus
Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti
Sonya "The Black Widow" Thomas
"Humble" Bob Shoudt
Hall "Hoover" Hunt
Tim "Gravy" Brown
Rich "The Locust" LeFevre
Patrick Vandam
Juliet Lee
Juris "Dr. Bigtime" Shibayama
Eric "Badlands" Booker
Erik "The Red" Denmark
Allen "Shredder" Goldstein
"The Natural" Arturo Rios, Jr.
Pat "from Moonachie" Philbin
Crazy Legs Conti
"Nasty" Nathan Biller
Peter "Pretty Boy" Davekos
Kevin Ross

They go to Japan to visit the doctor who has been treating Kobayashi and ESPN uses these awful sounding voice-overs. Just use subtitles next time guys.

Earlier the announcers referred to the contest's change from 12 minutes to 10 minutes (which is "supported" by some found documents) and compared to other sports rule changes. Now they've just referred to the Chestnut/Kobayashi rematch and compared it to other great sports rematches. Then they compared Kobayashi to Muhammad Ali. What?

Right now they are introducing the competitors. The announcers note that the costuming has been kicked up a notch this year.

I also want to punch the announcers in the face really hard to make them shut up right now.

The Gothamist is also doing a liveblog.

I'm not up on my competitive eaters so I can't really comment on who is who. Like everyone else, the announcers mention Pat "Deep Dish" Bertoletti as being the dark horse.

The last two competitors introduced are Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut.

The favorites according to ESPN are Chestnut, Kobayashi, Tim Janus, Bertoletti and Sonya Thomas.

ESPN really really wants Joey Chestnut to trash talk.

"The eating begins!"

Kobayashi and Chestnut are right next to each other.

Janus us in the early lead.

No sense trying to keep track until the last few minutes.

Chestnut is in the lead!

Bob Shoudt is ahead of Kobayashi at this point. Now Kobayashi is one back of Chestnut.

Shot of Crazy Legs moving around to get the hot dogs down.

Juliet Lee looks relatively ladylike in her eating.

The USA chants start which, if you think about it, means that crowd is cheering for everyone EXCEPT Kobayashi.

Three minutes have gone by. The announcer drops in a Madonna/A-Rod comment.

Chestnut is still in the lead by about three.

Almost to the half-way point.

About six minutes left and Chestnut and Kobayashi are dead even.

Did Kobayashi take the lead just now?

Everyone else is fighting for third. Kobayashi does take the lead!

Apparently they can eat and eat very quickly according to the color guy. No duh, buddy.

Kobayashi has a one dog lead.

Now the lead is going back and forth.


Damn the announcer is annoying.

Kobayashi is in the lead with 51 but Chestnut immediately catches him.

I can't see the timer so I have to just kind of guess.

One minute left! Kobayashi in the lead with two dogs!

Kobayashi takes a glance at Chestnut!

Man, the other people don't even matter at this point.

One dog difference!


The final fifteen seconds!


Wait a minute. It's going to be a photo finish.

The signs say Kobayashi 58, Chestnut 59.

Wait, now the signs are 59 each.

A complete tie! Sudden death?

Five dog eat-off!

Oh wow.

Never before has this happened!

First one to eat the five is the winner!


Joey is in the lead.

Now they are matched.

The last dog!

Joey is first one to finish!

That's it!

Joey Chestnut is the winner!

Chestnut takes down Kobayashi again!

Well, that was interesting.

Will Kobayashi be back? "Of course."

This year, no controversy. No disputed reversal, no injury. Joey now goes beyond the "Great White Hope" stage of Nathan's and can now proclaim himself as a TRUE AMERICAN HERO.

I'll try to look for official stats and whatnot later. In the meantime, here's the wikipedia entry which already has this year's results up.