Josh Barnett will face Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Final Round event, to be held at Saitama Super Arena on September 10th. Josh is known for his deep knowledge of Japan and his Japanese has improved so much that he no longer needs interpreters for simple conversations. Josh arrived in Japan on the 25th, where Dream Stage Entertainment staff met him at Narita International Airport and followed him for the night.



[7/25 6:01pm]
Josh traveling toward Tokyo by car after arriving at Narita International Airport.
Although the DSE staff were worried that he might be tired from his long trip or suffering from jet lag, Josh said he was "Daijoubu!" [Japanese for "I'm fine"]

[7/25 6:02pm]
When author Hideyuki Kikuchi heard that Josh is a big fan of his animation "Vampire Hunter D", he sent Josh an English version of the novel.
Josh became really excited when the staff told him about the present! Josh sent Kikuchi an autographed plaque as a token of gratitude.
Incidentally, we received a very thorough explanation of everything that is interesting about Kikuchi's most famous work from Josh but it was very long and due to space considerations, well, we can't include it here.

[7/25 6:03pm]
We had Josh show us his portable phone.
Although he had just arrive in Japan, he already had messages from his good friends and fellow MMA fighters, Hiroyuki Abe and Megumi Fujii.

[7/25 7:00pm]
Our first stop was Akihabara, the holy-land for "otaku" ["fanatics"].
Although we went there so Josh could be interviewed by a sports newspaper, the first thing Josh spotted was a life-sized figure of the comic Fist of the North Star's hero, Kenshiro.
Josh, a huge Fist of the North Star fan, immediately said, "I want it!" The price, though, was equal to more than US$5,000! However, Josh swore that if he wins the Open Weight Grand Prix, he would buy it and take it home. How much would something like that cost to ship to the US?

[7/29 7:55pm]
After the newspaper interview, we ate some food during a short break.
Josh ordered a hamburger but since he has to be careful about his body condition now, he said that he doesn't eat very many carbohydrates. Josh just left the bun on the plate. He also said that he doesn't drink carbonated drinks.

[7/25 9:21pm]
Now that all his interviews are finished, Josh was free to do whatever he likes.
Josh is definitely getting used to Japan. Even when traveling along by train, he said that it's "mondainai." ["No problem"]

[7/25 10:03pm]
Abe Ani Combat Club, where Hiroyuki Abe and Megumi Fujii train. Although Josh has just arrived from the US, he's already begun training for the September 10th match. His trip was long but apparently, he can't miss out on any training before his match with Nogueira.

[7/26 01:03am]
Everyone went out to eat together after they finished training.
Today's dinner was "yakiniku" [like BBQ] but even here, Josh didn't eat any rice because of the carbohydrates. However, according to Josh, he really wanted to eat rice. "I love rice and I wanted to eat it with yakiniku�but when I tried to steal some rice from Abe and Megumi, they told me �NO!' (laughing) Megumi and I are competing now to see who will be the first to get a six-pack, so I have to be patient," Josh explained with a miserable look on his face.

After dinner, Josh returned to his hotel by himself. He had to get his rest because the next day would also be filled with interviews and PRIDE Fan Club events.

[7/26 09:25]
After waking up, Josh immediately begins taking pictures of his own room.
Apparently, he wanted the staff to know that he wants a bigger room!

[7/26 11:05am]
First, Josh was interviewed by the free magazine "R25" at the DSE office.
After the interview, Josh put on a Kenshiro costume from the Fist of the North Star comic for a photo session. It looked pretty cool but according to Josh, there was a lot of room for improvement in the costume, recommending that it need to be made of different material for realism and that it needed to be more ragged.

[7/26 12:37pm]
Josh stops off in Suidobashi at one of the official PRIDE sports cafes, Fighting Caf Colosseo, before his next interview.
Josh had red curry and salad for lunch. (No bread, of course)

[7/26 1:15pm]
Josh explores the Caf after finish lunch.
Josh's Japanese abilities improve with every trip to Japan. Recently he's become able to read some Japanese script so he was enthralled with the pro-wrestling pamphlets in the Caf.

[7/26 1:32pm]
A commemorative photo in front of the Caf. Josh struck a pose in front of Fighting Caf Colosseo's famous sandbag.
The September 10th PRIDE Open Weight Grand Prix 2006 Final Round will be broadcast at all official PRIDE sports cafes, including Fighting Caf Colosseo, for all the Japanese fans that can't make it to the event but still want to be a part of the excitement.

[7/26 1:46pm]
Josh asked to do some shopping at the pro-wrestling shop Champion before his next interview.
Incidentally, Josh is holding a Minoru Suzuki figure. Josh spent a little under US$100 here buying PANCRASE towels, a portable phone strap and a Koji Kanemoto t-shirt.

[7/26 2:10pm]
Next, Josh headed off to be interviewed by Shukan Puroresu, a pro-wrestling magazine.
When the magazine staff said they were impressed by his pro-wrestling knowledge, Josh explained that he started learning about it in the beginning because he liked pro-wrestling but now he has to know it because it's his job. Apparently, he has magazines sent to him from Japan and checks the internet daily for information.

[7/26 3:18pm]
After finishing the interview, Josh takes a short break at a restaurant.
Josh was focusing so hard on the menu that he didn't even realize we were photographing him.
Although we thought he might order desert, Josh order a hamburger steak. He also told the waitress in very nice Japanese, "Raisu iranai." ["I don't need any rice"]

[7/26 3:39pm]
We then caught a taxi to go to Josh's next interview location, the PRIDE Dojo.
The taxi looks a little small for Josh.

[7/26 4:37pm]
Josh immediately began the interview with the magazine CONTINUE after arriving at the PRIDE Dojo.
Video games were the most exciting topic of this interview. The interpreter was accustomed to martial arts terminology. However, video games were not his specialty. His job was made even more difficult by Josh's desire to talk about the even the finest details of video gaming. According to the translator, he was just glad that the interviewer could understand a little English, which apparently helped a lot.

[7/26 5:11pm]
After finishing the interview, Josh took a commemorative photo with PRIDE's official cameraman, Mr. Yamaguchi. Josh then began his training.
Mr. Yamaguchi is normally behind the lens but this time he found himself being in front of the camera. The wristbands that the two are wearing are the "We are PRIDE" bands, worn in support of PRIDE.

[7/26 5:19pm]
After some light warming up, Josh begins running back-and-forth, bouncing off the ropes. Maybe it's the pro-wrestling running through Josh's blood that makes him begin his training sessions with rope work.
Incidentally, Ikuhisa Minowa, who trained with Josh today, also began his training with rope work.

[7/26 5:20pm]
Josh and Minowa train together before the media and fans are allowed access to the Dojo. The two trained intently and the Dojo was silent except for the sounds of their breathing.

[7/26 6:52pm]
After both fighters finished their joint-training session, a special members-only event was held for the PRIDE official fan club, Hi PRIDE.
Watching a replay of the Giant Silva fight, Josh gave Minowa advice such as when and how he should go for tackles.

[7/26 7:48pm]
After the public training session and the fan club event were over, Josh received a UWF pamphlet that he had asked the staff for and a huge smile spread across his face. Excitedly, he said, "I've been searching for this forever!"
Now that he's on his own time, Josh left with fellow MMA fighters Hiroyuki Abe and Megumi Fujii. This was the end of our two days with Josh.

Josh attended even more interviews on the 27th and left for America on the 28th. It was a tough schedule but Josh kindly accepted, saying that he would do his best for PRIDE.

Thanks for all your hard work, Josh!