As a kid growing up, I’ve always watched those superhero TV series from Japan as they were popular in Southeast Asia as local channels would pick them up and air them on free TV. I’ve grown to the habit of watching Voltes V, Bioman and Space Sheriff Shaider during Saturdays and Bioman became an instant favourite, which influenced my hobbies up to this day.
Bioman is a team composed of five members, each are able to access superhuman strength through the Bio Particles in their DNAs that they use to defend Planet Earth from Neo Empire Gear.
Thanks to an article from the Tokusatsu Network, I found out that one of the actors, Michiko Makino (the actor who played Pink Five) is running a family shop in Tokyo’s Tsukiji Outer Market and is considered an attraction for the show’s fans. I figured this might be a good chance to actually meet a Super Sentai actor in person so I added it as a part of my itinerary when I travelled to Japan in early 2018.
The Tsukiji Outer Market is one of the most popular places for the locals to obtain and eat fresh seafood. I arrived just past 8:30 in the morning and while moving through the crowd is quite the chore, I somewhat enjoyed the experience. It’s giving me a small taste of what the locals do here every day.
I had to look up several information online as to what the name of the shop is, and then I realized that this might be a gamble as I’m not exactly sure whether she’d be in the shop the same day or not, but I might as well try.
Turns out the name of the shop is Suwa Shoten, props to Asia One for this! My Japanese skill is pretty much floating between N5 and N4 so I somehow managed to ask a few people for directions which helped me find the place.
I checked out the storefront and began looking around, trying to remember what Makino-san looked like. Turns out she wasn’t there, so my heart sank for a bit. I didn’t want to look suspicious so I pretended to check out the items they were selling. All of a sudden a woman wearing pink comes out from the back of the store – it was her!
I froze for a few minutes there, as I was trying to confirm that it’s actually her. Then suddenly the memories of Bioman began to race through my head. I can’t believe Pink Five is literally standing 5 feet away! So guess what – I froze again – this time because I was awestruck. It took me another few minutes to re-compose myself and gather the courage to approach her.
“Excuse me, are you Miss Makino?” I asked nervously. She was all smiles when she said yes. Then I somehow managed to hold a conversation despite me struggling to construct and conjugate Japanese words from memory. I told her everything a five-year old me would say – that I love her show and watched it religiously every weekend, that she and Red One are my favourites and that it’s one of the shows that made me love Japan and its language and culture. I kept pausing between a few sentences because of my beginner Japanese and kept apologizing for my limited Japanese. On the other hand, she said it was okay and she even mentioned that she’s impressed that I could talk to her in Japanese and that I should keep it up. I think that was my cue to turn completely red and almost flatline. Is Makino-san complimenting me? We talked for a few more minutes and then I finally managed to ask if I can get a photo with her. She happily obliged and ask one of her friends to take the photo for us!
I think I was so awestruck that I did not realize that I did the Bioman pose incorrectly until I saw the photo, but I think that’s okay!
The shop started becoming busier due to the influx of more people, so I thought I shouldn’t take much more of her time in the shop, so before we parted, I asked her for one last favour: to sign the Bioman LP that I brought with me. Of course I was prepared for this!
Before I left the shop I thanked her again and she responded “see you again soon” in English. 😀
Overall, the mission is a success! I got to meet one of my childhood superheroes and had a good conversation and a souvenir photo and autograph! I’m a happy camper that day.
“Lost Chronicles” are memories of past adventures itching to be recorded down in history.
Original Date: March 25, 2018