Home > Itagaki's > Special Cross-talk Interview with Mr. Leiji Matsumoto (Part 1 of 2) (3 / 4)

Special Cross-talk Interview with Mr. Leiji Matsumoto (Part 1 of 2) (3 / 4)

November 11,2010

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Airplane Fanatic

          Matsumoto-sensei, it seems like you like to drive many vehicles.
Matsumoto   Yes, I tinker around with many different things. I forget if it was American or Russian, but I went to a space development site and got in a simulator, and flew the thing around myself. I never get sick, no matter how many times I get upside down.
Itagaki Wow.
Matsumoto I've also sat in the cockpit of many different airplanes.
Itagaki The YS-11 too!?
Matsumoto The YS-11 as well. But, unfortunately, its engines aren't made in Japan.
Itagaki Ah, yes.
Matsumoto So even though it's a domestic plane, the fact that its engine is foreign has always bothered me. That's what we are, us airplane fanatics. If it's going to be domestic, it should be domestic down to the engine. It might be okay if an indicator or two was not, but the engine, that's the heart, you know.
Itagaki Yes.
Matsumoto I know the differences between each and every model of whatever make of airplane. Fighter planes, passenger planes, everything. So I know how to land them. I can tell when a pilot screws up, and sometimes I feel "Wow, this guy is good".
Itagaki Yes.
Matsumoto When I borrowed a simulator and tried for myself, I would arrive at the hangar right after takeoff, and cause quite a bit of chaos (laughs).
All (Laughs)
Matsumoto I borrowed a jumbo-jet simulator for a half of a day or so, once. It was both for research and free tinkering. I couldn't take off at first, and would run into things, trees. Then I got used to it, gradually, and then I mastered it perfectly. This simulator. The type where you don't shake.
Itagaki I understand.
Matsumoto So one time, I went to the Air Self-Defense Force, and tried taking off and landing on a fighter jet simulator. Then, the officer said, "That's odd. Beginners can sometimes take off, but they shouldn't be able to land." Of course, if you were in a jumbo jet simulator for good half a day beforehand, you would remember (laughs).
Itagaki Yes, yes (laughs).
Matsumoto I got on a Concord too, for research. With a news paper company.
Itagaki I always wanted to ride on one of those. They stopped it on the very year I had intended to go.
Matsumoto That plane guzzles fuel like no other. The captain told me to come to the cockpit, so I went, and it turns out he likes drawing manga. He drew me a manga of an Arab oil lord strangling a Concord (laughs).
Itagaki Priceless (laughs).
Matsumoto We left from Paris, went through Dakar, and flew to Rio de Janeiro. We had to refuel once in Dakar. The cabin is only half full. Because there's not enough fuel.
Itagaki So they got more travel distance by cutting the passenger load in half.
Matsumoto Yes. It felt good to ride on, though. When it was running on the ground, it was like it was running on rubble, with these loud noises and huge vibrations that you can't tell where it's coming from.
Itagaki Hmm.
Matsumoto But we flew all the way to Rio de Janeiro. That was a good experience, I think. We went to Paris just for that. I went to Paris not to go to Paris, but to get on the Concord. And then we went to South America. Passing through Africa, then over the Pacific. To Rio de Janeiro. Then to Peru.
Itagaki Peru?

The Golden World

Matsumoto Peru. Machu Picchu. I went all the way up to the top. I hear they won't let you do that anymore, go to the very top.
Itagaki Is that so? There was that disaster there in Machu Picchu the other day.
Matsumoto Yes, that's the place. When I went up there, I saw everything turn into gold - from lack of oxygen.
Itagaki Huh?
Matsumoto The symptoms of anoxia are different for each individual. For me, it's the gold color. Dried grass, rocks, everything, gold. I was with Mr. Tetsuya Chiba, Chiba-chan.
Itagaki Yes.
Matsumoto I'd say "Hey, that's golden" and he'd say "It's grass". "Look, that's gold" "That's a rock" he'd say.
Itagaki (Laughs)
Matsumoto The symptoms are different. Chiba-chan was telling me how his head hurt or that he felt sick. So it depends on the person. That's when I thought, the "Legend of El Dorado" must be something cooked up by someone with the same symptoms as me.
Itagaki I see.
Matsumoto Everything golden, beautiful.
Itagaki A world of gold! Impressive (laughs).
Matsumoto It was beautiful. Literally El Dorado. I didn't have any headaches and didn't feel ill at all, and could eat fine. But then, Chiba-chan suddenly said, "I'm gonna run a marathon" and took off running.
Itagaki Ah. (Laughs)
Matsumoto And he wouldn't come back. He got anoxic and collapsed beneath a big tree.
Itagaki (Laughs)
Matsumoto He said "I took a half-hour nap". He fell unconscious.
Itagaki That's quite a story. But I guess that must be how it was, El Dorado I mean.
Matsumoto That's what I think. I think some people see gold. It's really gold, everything. But strangely, human skin is skin-colored.
Itagaki Hmm.
Matsumoto It won't turn to gold. I don't know what that is, but your hands don't turn gold either. Only objects turn into gold.
Itagaki It must be, like, "memory color" *1, or something?
*1   Memory color is a phenomenon in which an object's characteristic color influences our perception of its color.
Matsumoto Yes, there must be something. Then, you see this black dot in the center of your vision. This radiating nebula of blackness suddenly appears. Some people start saying "It's a sea lion!" and make a commotion. Whatever it is, it blacks out your vision. Another facet of anoxia.
Itagaki Hmm.
Matsumoto Which is why there are oxygen tanks lying around everywhere along the road.
Itagaki Oh, is that so?
Matsumoto Yep. Right there. So there were a lot of people sitting down and taking an oxygen break. I didn't feel uncomfortable at all, though.
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