"Konbanwa from Tokyo!
Yesterday, along with Julia Drake-Brockman, I went to see Toshiyuki Nishida playing the lead role in "Fiddler On The Roof" at the Tokyo Hibiya Teikoku Gekijo (adjacent to the A1 exit of Yurakucho subway station).
For the part, he'd grown a beard, but he was still recognisable as Pigsy, after all these years.
The show was amazing - a truly wonderful production. It was performed entirely in Japanese (so I understood very little - but Julia explained some of it to me). I recognised the song "If I Was A Rich Man" (in Japanese).
Toshiyuki Nishida is an absolute legend. He sang, he danced, he made everyone laugh, and he gave a completely awesome performance. When he bowed at the end of the stage, the applause was deafening. I clapped so hard that my hands ached (they're still sore now!).
After the show, Julia and I went downstairs, contacted his manager, and went to meet him!!!
He was completely exhausted after the mammoth 3+ hours production, and had just had a shower, so when we met him, he was in his bathrobe! He seemed to speak little English, so Julia translated and chatted to both Toshiyuki and his manager on my behalf. Julia told them both about all the Monkey fans in the UK and Australia, about the Monkey fan community on the internet etc.
I read out my "Masaaki Sakai speech" to him (the little speech I read to Masaaki Sakai when Nikki Brown and I met him in 1998), i.e.: "I am from England, and I am a big fan of your NTV tv show Saiyuuki. Everyone I know in England loves Saiyuuki too. Please can I have your autograph and a photo taken with you?"
He gave me his autograph, then Julia and I posed for a photo with him. Expect to see the photo really soon - it's a bit bizarre that I'm going to putting a picture of Toshiyuki Nishida in his bathrobe up on the Internet!?! Also, I have a programme for the show with several photos of him inside, so I'll scan those in too sometime.
I handed him some gifts - Saiyuuki key chains, some French biscuits, a pig key ring (the pig goes "oink" when you squeeze him!), and a pig greeting card with a fan letter to him from me inside - and a big plug of my Monkey web site :)
He seemed like a really nice guy - but he was really tired, and there was a whole load of fans waiting to see him, so we only had a few minutes with him, then left.
Anyway, a huge thankyou to Julia D-B for her help in arranging the meeting via his manager, and for interpreting for me on the day.
Just before we left, Toshiyuki said that if he comes to England, he'll come to visit me... guess I'd better not offer him a bacon buttie, or sausages, for dinner!"