6,500 people packed Waikiki Beach on Wednesday for its first-ever screening of a Japanese movie. the biopic about a. “Life – Tengoku de Kimi ni Aetara” is based on the novel by world famous pro windsurfer Iijima Natsuki (1966-2005), who spent his final years surfing on the Hawaiian coast. The top Japanese in his sport, he appeared in the World Cup for eight years running and lived in Hawaii and Guam. He was diagnosed with liver cancer in 2002 and returned to Japan for a transplant. As treatment failed to fend off the cancer, he turned to writing. “Tengoku…” was published in July 2004 and became a best-seller, as did a publication of his blog writing and a second novel. Among those watching Wednesday’s screening were Iijima’s widow Hiroko (39) and their four children. As the movie came to its climactic scene, rain began to fall. Hiroko said, “Those were Natsuki’s tears of happiness falling from heaven,” bringing real tears from the movie’s star Osawa Takao (39). Also there for the free show was singer Nakashima Mika (24), who happened to be in Hawaii on vacation with her family.
• Young singer-songwriter Ayaka (19) helped launch the latest Final Fantasy VII game software yesterday, performing the theme song “Why” (on sale September 5) at a PR event in Tokyo. In a change from her usual tied-up hairstyle, she let her hair down, and also revealed that she and FF share the same birthday, as the software was first released on December 18, 1987.
• Popular NTV announcer Abe Akiko (28) is to quit the network at the end of September. She joined NTV in 2001 after graduating in International Marketing at Yokohama National University. She worked on variety and sports shows, and since April she has been a co-presenter of the “Sukkiri!” morning show with comedian Kato Koji (38) and talento Terry Itoh (57). She revealed on the live show last November that she planned to marry an employee of the rival TBS network who was based overseas.