Welcome back to The Super Genie Diary!
2016 TOKYO TOUR DAY 1- So much to do before heading to Japan!
Sabu had to get a new passport as his last one went missing. So while he spent almost an entire day at the Detroit passport office, Super Genie was organizing her apartment in McDonough, Georgia. I processed photo and calendar orders and packed for the trip, which included an array of makeup and shampoo, conditioners, a hairdryer and some outfits in two small carryon bags.
I worked on a new Genie outfit, adding my own embellishments to it like glittery fabric paint, rhinestones and pearls, with a strategic snip here and snap there. It sat gently at the top of the suitcase, another favourite of Sabu. And I knew he wanted me to wear the outfit for his match in Japan. With the hustle and bustle of life on the road and tight suitcases, it is often hard on costumes and jewelry. I spent several hours on the computer shopping for accessories. And happily, the two main pieces Super Genie wanted arrived before schedule.
A good dangling necklace was part of this and matched the gold dangling belt I wrapped around my waist to add a little bling. It also matches my gold Genie slippers, which of course, I also packed gently with the Genie cap at the top of the roller bag. (Or I thought packed them both, I discovered in Tokyo, one golden slipper was missing.)
Super Genie travelled from the ATL (Atlanta) up to Grand Rapids to meet Sabu that night and be picked up by his driver Tom.
Unfortunately, Sabu was in a large amount of pain. In the past year, the wear-and-tear on his body caught up to him , particularly his left hip. Did you know Super Genie comes from a family of doctors and has a bachelors degree in biology? I called my brother J.R. Coates for some advice on the situation. Dr. Coates is three hours away in Windsor, Ontario. He highly recommended something to help Sabu with his hip inflammation (non-narcotic, mind you). It goes without saying my brother is an ethical and conscientious doctor. He makes the Coates family proud in every way possible.
So we dropped Tom off at his home in Grand Rapids, with Sabu and I setting off to meet my brother by the Renaissance Center in Detroit. Dr. Coates was kind enough to also take the time despite his busy schedule to meet us, given the seriousness of the circumstances. Around midnight, we met him. I gave him a quick hug, while Sabu offered him a hearty handshake. It was an apologetically short ten-minute visit, and we headed back to Grand Rapids to prepare for Detroit airport.
The food was not so good on our delta flight to Tokyo Narita airport. So we were starving and tired and needed more sustenance!
Rice balls! I like salmon. Sabu likes tuna.
DAY 2 EARLY MORNING – Nosawa picked us up from the airport and we checked into the hotel (same as the last tour) which was a nice bigger room, surprisingly enough. After a rather pained interview – the interviewer spoke no English and Sabu speaks some Japanese, but big enough to not make much sense of anything the interviewer was saying – Sabu’s long time friend Fumi Saito (formerly the editor of Weekly Pro wrestling Baseball and now editor of Gong magazine) came to the hotel and took us out for some Korean barbecue.
Fumi barbecued it for us on the little pit that is built into every table. He liked this restaurant, calling it an authentic Yakiniku (grilled meat). Even the waitresses dressed in traditional Korean garb.
Incidentally, we drove past the New Japan Wrestling shop on the way to the restaurant.
DAY 2 6:30AM LOCAL TIME – We did not sleep well, so we got up early for a walk and enjoyed some fresh air. It was cold out, so I wore double sweat pants, a wool cap and hoodie under my black leather semi-winter coat (for Atlanta anyways) and we walked around for about a half hour. Sabu’s a big coffee lover, so we tried several shops and stand outside Detour doughnut shop (I think it says detour but Sabu insists it’s Dujour) with several other people until they open (a few minutes late) around 7:03AM for a bite to eat.
The donuts looked amazing! To be honest, they looked better than they tasted, at least the one we ordered was. The walnut one Sabu said wasn’t sweet and was greasy. I tried to stay on my diet, but gave in and had a couple of little bites.
Cigarette smoking is common in Japan. So there is a separate room here for smokers. Like last night at the Korean BBQ restaurant, there’s smoking allowed in every room.
After breakfast at Dujour, we went back to hotel to get more rest since it was showday.
Sabu didn’t sleep well because the bed was too hard for him and he wasn’t comfortable on the “rice” pillow. Some pillows in Japan are filled with rice instead of foam or feathers.
Sabu checked his email and look annoyed. Apparently a few of his friends were coming to the hotel at 1:00PM to take us to lunch. Don’t get him wrong. Sabu likes his friends in Japan, but before a show he would rather rest and concentrate. He gets rather nervous before his matches, and would rather sit and stew in peace, with me suffering, LOL.
DAY 2 1:00PM – Okay, so a few friends come and we met with them, one of them in this photo here is Haru. He created our first Sabu/Super Genie t-shirt.
I needed to get a pair of Genie shoes for that night’s show as one of them had gone missing, so we went to a mall. We checked out some shoes, and found one pair that was especially nice. Unfortunately, the price tag was not-so-nice in Sabu’s opinion, so we went elsewhere and found something suitable.
Then we got something to eat at a Japanese chain. Here’s a picture outside the mall, showing a row of bicycles. Bikes are a big form of transportation in Japan.
After lunch, we prepared for the FMW (Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling) show.
Here is a picture outside our hotel. We are serious, LOL.
Look at Sabu longingly looking at a McDonald’s across the street, LOL. He loves their mocha lattes. But it was too far away and we were on a schedule. If you look closely, you can see the golden arches on the building across the street.
Tokyo Dome City is a theme park. It’s huge. One or more square miles. There’s a Disney world, hotel and tons of businesses.
We got to the venue and there were generic FMW posters with Mr. Onita featured big (he started the original FMW 26 years ago, then sold it around 1996 and at that time passed the wrestling torch per se to the late Hayabusa) and Sabu saw various fellow workers. Once we got to the dressing room, we realized we forgot our 8x10s in our room. This is a big part of making money in Japan, so back to the hotel we went, LOL.
Before the show, Sabu got checked out by an old friend, Dr. Hayashi.
And it’s a good thing he did. It was a six-man tag-team barbed wire board death match (really an 8-man) tonight. And we look appropriately serious. As we stand beside the barbed wire boards before the match.
For the record, the show was called For Whose Glory. This was also a lumberjack match, which no one told us prior to. And there were probably sixty men around the ring. Workers and photographers.
The barbed wire boards were on either side of the ring on the floor and I had to weave my way between the boards, on top of navigating myself between the wrestlers, sometimes having to push them out of the way – just a little. Good thing the Super Genie is 150 pounds of muscle and womanly curves! LOL.
We go to the ring before the doors are open and practice chair throws. It’s been awhile since our last match so my first ones are a little off. It actually takes a great deal of skill, control and precision to deliver the chairs to Sabu high, strong and upright the way he requires. He depends on me to supply him the chairs in the right way and at the right time and place for his offence. And to locate tables, direct some offence and hints on both offence and defence. I’ve trained in wrestling about ten years now, and I use my experience as a further aid to Sabu and his thirty some years experience. Sometimes the Super Genie can see things Sabu perhaps doesn’t in the heat of a match.
In the match, Sabu got Mr. Onita in the camel clutch, but he doesn’t give in. Sabu’s last spot was delivering the Arabian face buster from the top rope onto one of the other Japanese opponents with the assist of me tossing him a chair. Then selling the finish as if he had hurt himself delivering it. And that was it. Four Japanese men finished out the match, with Mr. Onita getting the win.
Sabu and I walked to the back.
Suddenly I see Sabu go sprinting out back towards the ring, and I’m thinking, “Damn, did I forget a spot?” I see him grabbing some guy in the crowd by the shirt collar and yelling at him. Then finally brushing the guy a couple of times across the back of the head. I then realized it was the obsessed fan I talked about earlier in the last tour, and I was horrified. Security apparently was too, as they ran out to get Sabu away from the man in the audience.
Apparently as Sabu left, this man had either shaken his fist, or given the finger to him and he was having none of that after this man tried to ruin his career, plus stalking me.
Incidentally, we later heard from one of Sabu’s friends that this man had been screaming “Sabu, die!” during the match in Japanese. After the show I saw him again upstairs as we signed autographs. Just briefly saw his face, tan hat and Mr Rogers light-blue sweater. What an end to the show.
Sabu explained to security about the man and hopefully things are cleared up now.
Let me clarify a bit, because this is a serious issue I’ve been dealing with for a long time.
After changing in the main dressing room and going over a few parts of the match, all of this being fine without Mr. Onita being there, (he had two matches today, so he got through his first one. Then, very close to the main event he was told what was going to happen in the main event) we then went upstairs to sign autographs and pose for photos. We were swarmed with people and the best selling photo was one of me and Sabu together. Of course, some of Sabu’s solo photos sold well too.
Out of the corner of my eye at the end of this long table, I saw a man holding a photo of me and waving. This was a slightly disturbing moment as this was an obsessed fan who had been messaging me for years on Facebook, but in recent months had seemed to have gone bezerk, accusing Sabu of ruining the purity of my body. This fan had in recent months messaged numerous promoters, mutual Facebook friends of ours and tried to send messages to me through random people on Facebook.
It reached alarming heights as he threatened to commit suicide and had seemed set on destroying Sabu’s reputation and career opportunities in Japan, even so far as attending a show in December that we were supposed to be booked on, and sending me photos of him hanging out with Mr. Onita and other co-workers and Japanese friends of Sabu. The character assassination was deeply uncalled for, in terms of this Japanese man using his nationality and residence in Japan to try and tarnish Sabu and I. It went so far as to get us cancelled off the December tour, as this man had created a tremendous amount of trouble for us, spreading lies and manipulating comments Sabu had made to him on Facebook, when Sabu was trying to protect me.
Eventually however, the bosses in Japan realized this man was mentally disturbed and invited us back to this year’s Tokyo Tour.
I feared on this trip that either Sabu or I were going to get attacked by this man, or that he would carry out his threat to kill himself at the show, which was certainly out of my control, but nothing j wanted to happen. Several fans on Facebook before I left for Japan wished me good luck and asked that I be especially careful, as they could tell this man was unbalanced and obsessed, and in their opinion dangerous. Sabu had his friends on the lookout at the show, so he wasn’t worried the same way I was.
At any rate, it was showday and here he was.
No incident happened at the signing table before the show. And I was relieved. But obviously, nobody should have to endure this kind of harassment.
Okay, back to the match.
We went back downstairs where Mr. Onita was now available. And the participants discussed the match, with Nosawa directing . Mr. Onita looked good but was tired (he had performed earlier), and listened to what he was to do. Sabu repeated his spots to himself and the people designated to work with him. Oddly enough, though Onita had announced a few months back a series of death matches between him and Sabu, there were not many spots between him and Sabu being planned in this match. Hopefully the commentary made up for this, playing on the challenge since the interaction planned between the two was limited.
After the show, we hung out with some of Sabu’s old friends, including his friend Kenitchi, who designed the Sabu comic t-shirt. It’s also on our Crossfire merch page.
DAY 3 – Today was a recovery day. Sabu and I had some dinner at a steakhouse (I forget the name) with some friends. Also Sabu got another checkup from Dr. Hayashi.
Did I mention the cab fares are really pricey in Tokyo? Fortunately, the promotion covered our fares.
We got to the airport for our delta flight leaving at 8:00PM Japan time and due to arrive 6:30PM in Detroit February 28th. We had another booking near Knoxville Tennessee that night, and our connection was to be at the airport.
I was looking forward to just settling in one spot for awhile and getting some rest. It was not to be, as the excitement from the past few days, and the stress of the close connection to get to our next event in Tennessee kept my mind ill at ease.
So I ended up watching movies on the plane. One was called Nightingale and starred just one actor, David Oyelowo. It was about a former military man who has mental problems and ends up killing his mother who he lives with, because she objects to his friendship with another man, and proceeds to show how his fantasies unravel his life over the course of days.
Sabu was also unable to sleep and watched some Mafia film. I tried to watch with him on my little TV set, but found it too depressing so I changed to another movie. It was about a star chef in Paris who had just got out of either jail or rehab and was trying to resurrect his reputation after having sabotaged a top restaurant in Paris while messed up on drugs. I think the star was Bradley Cooper, but can’t remember the name of the movie though. Another uplifting film. (I had to look it up when I got back the movie was Burnt).
DAY 4 6:30PM ET – We landed safe and sound at DTW airport. Unfortunately, it was just our luck and when we got to customs, 12 flights had arrived all at the same time!
Sabu and I realized there was going to be little chance of us making our next flight to Knoxville. Which was a very upsetting end to the day since we take our commitments very seriously. We were looking forward to the show, but it was our bad luck that day so many other flights were delayed and all arrived at once. We didn’t clear customs till 8:00PM and the flight left at 7:50PM.
To any fans who attended that show we inadvertently missed in Tennessee, who are reading this column, we apologize deeply.
Once we realized we would be forced to miss the flight, Sabu not only messaged the promoter to inform him of the situation, but promised to make it up to the fans by giving them a break on the performance fee in a future booking.
The only bright side was that we were in Michigan, where Sabu lives, instead of say, Minneapolis, LOL, which would have required us to get totally new flights to get back home.
So … a night off! Unwittingly, but still a welcome chance to finally get some rest. Both of us needed it.
My next story for MMA Crossfire will be on The Arnold, where Sabu and I had a booth and attended some of the events, including the International Sports Hall of Fame induction! Eagle-eyed MMA Crossfire readers will remember I reported on the Arnold last year.
Sabu and I appreciate you reading along. Without you, there is no us.