Behind the Scenes with our Ninja Warrior
Have you ever sat down to pick the brain of a real life ninja? Weird question, I know, but I got that opportunity when I was assigned my first story for PolyCentric during my internship at Public Affairs this summer.
When you interview someone, you never know what type of personality you will get. The interviewee could be very reserved and it’s like pulling teeth while trying to find information. Other times, you might talk to someone who is easygoing and personable, who tells stories and answers questions above and beyond your expectations.
I thought I knew what to expect after seeing the video Derek Nakamoto submitted to compete on the popular TV show “American Ninja Warrior.” In it, he scales buildings, hurdles obstacles and does some incredible stunts. I anticipated a buff Asian guy with a fun personality, but I got a bit more than that from the industrial engineering major.
Picture this: A tall, muscular, good-looking college student walks into the room with biceps that seemed wider than my head. Intimidating? Yes! He looks as though he could bench press me with one hand. I knew Nakamoto was strong and able-bodied – that was a given – but I didn’t expect the depth of conversation we had for over an hour, when he only came in for a quick interview. He cracked jokes, told stories, let his ninja charm loose and expressed his genuine feelings about participating on the show.
Some of the best parts of the interview were Nakamoto’s tangents. In short, he likes to talk and say what’s on his mind. For example, a question regarding his support system during his “American Ninja Warrior” journey ended with a rant about which celebrities really should not be having children.
Off the wall? Yes, and I loved it. His outgoing and infectious personality shone through and was ultimately refreshing. It gave me great material to work with to write the story for PolyCentric.
It’s rare when I encounter someone who has huge, almost unascertainable dreams, but has done everything in his or her power to reach a goal. I commend Nakamoto for his great feats on this season of “American Ninja Warrior,” in which he fell short in the finals, and encourage anyone who crosses his path to take a piece of his successes and learn from them.
Interviewees who open up like Nakamoto make my job so much more interesting and enjoyable. I cannot wait to experience the different personalities I will come across while interviewing people for the duration of this internship, as well as for the rest of my career. These are some of the most exciting moments on the job.
Cal Poly Pomona’s Office of Public Affairs writes stories on students, staff and the Cal Poly Pomona community throughout the year to provide you with the latest news and features of the university. Each interview is a new personal experience. Getting a slice of life from so many different perspectives is what keeps me going and wanting more.