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Sasuke Shuriken Why SASUKE Rocks
Posted on 2009-Jan-08
I began watching SASUKE with my wife while we were living in Osaka back in 2005. 2005 was a good year for SASUKE since there was 3 competitions (Sasuke 14, 15 and 16) that year. The three SASUKES I saw that year got me hooked and a few things made me come to the conclusion that SASUKE rocks: the competitors for the most part are amateurs, see themselves as team members (competing against the obstacle course instead of each other) and they compete for very little prize money.

Most competitors are amateurs. Just doing a roll call of the SASUKE ALL-STARS reveals that: Mister Sasuke (KATSUMI Yamada) has had many jobs, TAKEDA Toshihiro and YAMADA Koji are fire fighters, NAGANO Makoto is a fisherman, SHIRATORI Bunpei is a government worker, AKIYAMA Kazuhiko was a crab fisherman and is now a massage therapist and last but certainly not least YAMAMOTO Shingo started out as a gas jockey and is now a district manager.

Apparently during the earlier SASUKES there was a greater degree of competition and even "bad blood" between competitors. But watching any SASUKE from 14 or so onward reveals a great deal of camaraderie between the competitors. Even relative a newcomer like Levi Meeuwenberg can be seen getting coaching and encouragement from the more experienced without a hint of animosity. The fact that the course is so hard I think contributes to this "band of brothers" type mentality. It's is by far my favourite aspect of watching the SASUKE competitions.

The grand prize if you completed SASUKE 1-17 was ¥2,000,000 or about ($20,000.00 US) which was hardly enough to cover all the expenses travelling back and forth to SASUKE twice a year. SASUKE was redesigned after Competition 17 to make the course more difficult so from SASUKE 18 onward the prize money has increased to ¥4,000,000 (or $40,000.00 US).

My wife and I love to host SASUKE parties at our home and everyone who has come to one has left with an appreciation and respect of SASUKE not to mention a deep feeling that...SASUKE ROCKS!

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