Ouch! Podcast Extra: Mat Fraser in Japan
Mat Fraser joined the October Ouch! Talk Show, live on the line from Japan. This Podcast Extra is an extended version of that interview where he chats about his visit in more detail.
So, why is Mat in Japan?
At the end of last year, a Japanese film crew dropped in on the Ouch! Talk show. Mat - a fan of martial arts - took the opportunity to challenge the country's disabled people to a fight. He was subsequently invited to Sendai, where they called his bluff by asking him to take part in an annual all disabled, pro wrestling style event. An event that shocked even Mat Fraser.
In his unique way, Mat summed up what he saw of his fellow disabled fighters, like this:
"All I can say is that you've not really lived until you've seen a load of Japanese spastics, beating the hell out of each other in a professional wrestling ring ... with the audience absolutely loving everything and screaming for blood."
He meant it lovingly. No, he really did.
On a more serious note, Mat's other reason for travelling to the troubled Sendai area was to interview disabled people about their lives since the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent nuclear power accident. He describes how people with a variety of impairments helped and supported each other in the immediate aftermath.
One encounter with a Japanese disability activist proved particularly poignant.
"I interviewed him by the rubble that was his house. I just don't know how he had the strength of character to conduct that interview without completely breaking down."
Mat recounts many more stories of his chats with disabled earthquake survivors, on this unmissable Ouch! Podcast Extra.