Talento Hazama Kampei (59) has finished the latest stage of his mammoth Earth Marathon. He spent the last four months running across the United States, at a pace of about 60km a day, and arrived in New York City on Wednesday night. Hazama set out at the end of 2008 to become the first man to run and sail his way around the entire globe. He took three months to sail across the Pacific, about a month longer than originally estimated, landing in Los Angeles in mid-March (photo). Once again this week, his wife Mitsuyo and a crowd of hundreds of Japanese supporters were waiting to greet him on his arrival in Manhattan. He said the cross-continent run had been tough at times, in particular the hilly terrain of Pennsylvania. He will rest for just a few days in New York before setting sail again on July 14. His next goal will be the coast of France. His expected arrival back in Japan has been put back to the winter of 2010 or later.
Tearful Kampei Lands in U.S. (Mar 12, 2009)
• Popular rock band Ulfuls are planning to take an indefinite break, they announced on their website this morning. Their final appearance will be at their Yassa! outdoor festival in Osaka on August 29-30. They also announced that they will play a free show in Tokyo tomorrow. Led by charismatic vocalist Totas Matsumoto (42), the quartet was formed in 1988 and have remained popular since their breakthrough hits, “Guts da-ze!!” and “Banzai – Suki de Yokatta!” in the mid-90s. According to the official statement, the band members are simply tired out, though they have developed musical differences and will be pursuing solo projects. Previously, bassist John B. Chopper quit the band in 1999 only to return in 2003.
• Veteran folk singer Yoshida Takuro (63) canceled last night’s Osaka show at the last minute, citing health problems. The show at the Grand Cube was part of his ongoing farewell concert tour. He left Tokyo Tuesday evening on the shinkansen headed for Osaka, but was feeling so unwell that he had to get off at Nagoya. He was at the Osaka venue yesterday afternoon for rehearsals, but then decided he couldn’t perform and headed back to Tokyo, where he was hospitalized. Yoshida underwent surgery for lung cancer in 2003. He was forced to cancel the last 19 concerts of a tour in 2007 after he came down with asthmatic bronchitis and pleurisy.