l know alot of you at joshifans went along and saw Manami wrestle and had photos with her after the show. those who met her could you tell us who live in Madison Eagles land a bit about her. maybe l'm completely wrong but manami comes across as the shy type of person, or does she let her hair down and cut loose at after show get together's ?
I'll tell my experience. Manami has been my favorite wrestler, men or women, since I first saw her on videotapes.
When i was living in Japan, I had a chance to rent many videos of All Japan Women, and I copied everything that I could. I ended up making a Manami tape of my favorite matches. Then I got the chance to see her wrestle a few times in Tokyo, and I gave her a copy of the tape I made, and she was very cool about it. She insisted I take a few free 8 x 10s of her, even though I tried to give her money she wouldnt take it. Very nice of her, she didnt have to do that.
So after that experience, i set about collecting as much video footage as I could, and I started making a DVD set. As of now, this set is 67 DVDs of Manami from her very first day of audition in Jan 1987, thru 2003 in GAEA. As a wrestling fan, my dream was to give Manami a copy of this set. I had the DVDs in an album, with all the matches listed for each DVD. I had 3 copies like this, one for me, on for Manami and I gave a set to SDR.
So I was all set to give this to Manami at the Chikara shows. I knew I would have just a moment or two to give them to her and say a couple words about it to her and then i would have to move along for the next customer in line. And that was fine, I just wanted to give it to her.
I arrived in Philly to our hotel early Friday morning (I flew a red eye flight overnight) and i arrived too early to check in, so I had to wait for a couple hours in the lobby. I was just sitting there on my laptop, and noticed Shinzaki, Dick Togo and another Japanese man with them, and they went up the elevator. A few moments later I realized that the other guy was The Great Sasuke without his mask. Kind of neat moment to myself.
As i sat there, i noticed someone walk by and it was Manami! She was staying at our hotel. Now, i could have just let her be, but this was my dream. So i approached her and said "Sumimasen!" and she turned around and stopped, and we exchanged pleasantries, I told her I was a fan of her wrestling and that I had some gifts for her at the show. I asked if I could have a photo and she said yes. My phone took a fuzzy picture, and she asked if I had a camera, which i did, and I said I would wait until she came back inside if she liked. So she went outside and I was able to go into my suitcase and get the DVD album and the dolls that Shuper had made.
When she came back in, I showed her the DVD set and she was honestly taken aback that I had compiled a set that took me literally 5 years to make. She went thru every page of the album with me and was smiling and excited about the matches. She said she didn't have any of this stuff, so she was happy. She also loved the doll that Shuper made for her and signed one for him. THen we took a picture together and one of her with her doll. Then she went upstairs in the elevator.
That for me, as a wrestling fan, was one of the greatest moments I could have ever imagined.
Not long after, Mike Quackenbush came to pick her up and the Michinoku guys. Manami came back inside and went back upstairs, I was trying not to glance, but you know, you can't help it when one of your heroes is there. She came back down and gave me a pair of socks!! They have a Samurai on them, I am assuming she was giving them to her friends as gifts, she had a bag with more of them...but she gave me a pair! She didn't have to, but it was so cool of her to do that! These are forever my lucky pair of socks that i will wear for anything important.
The next day at the 2nd show of the weekend, I bought some pictures from her and we took a pic with the banner that Shuper designed. and She signed the banner.
Well after the show that night, Hyperion and I ended up going to a bar with SouthSide Mike, that other fans were going to and some wrestlers. It was an unofficial afterparty. After about an hour, there was some rumbling and someone said Sasuke was there, and Manami. After they had been there for a while, we went to the area, Hyperion had a friend of his that was the interpreter for Manami and Sasuke, so he was speaking to her and I said what the heck, I asked Manami "Nani nomu?" and she said Hello, and she was drinking vodka and orange juice. So i asked her if she wanted another and she said yes. So i got to buy my hero a drink! I gave her the drink and we did "kanpai!"and she asked me if we could get another pic the with the banner at the next show, because she wanted a pic for herself! As i was leaving her area, I asked her if i could have a hug and she gave me one :)
So yes, I'm marking out for my own personal highlight as a wrestling fan. I don't know what else could compare for me personally. She was in good spirits at the bar, speaking to fans and wrestlers and having a good time.
She's the greatest of all time
Here are my Manami socks, a few minutes after she gave them to me.