Kazuchika Okada recently opens up in a Q&A session with fans for the NJPW website. Fans began by asking about his opinions on the wrestling industry and his colleagues. They soon switched to questions about his time in Mexico and in the United States.
Okada’s career began in Mexico when he was just 15 years old. He emigrated to Mexico from Japan to train at Último Dragón’s Toryumon wrestling school. The future 5-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion remembered having difficulty learning Spanish while he was there. “There wasn’t much time for anything but wrestling,” said Okada. “Plus, I knew a few Japanese wrestlers in the area, too. What I would actually do to study was walk around the neighborhood with a dictionary on me, and listen to the people on the street, then try and look up what they said.”
He also recalled a startling event from his time in Mexico. He had just taken a cab to a venue when the driver got out with him. “I don’t know what’s going on, like he’s going to suddenly attack me or something. But he gets his gear out of the trunk and he walks in the building too, ready to wrestle!”
Kazuchika Okada Opens Up About Time In Mexico And USA
When asked about his time on an excursion in America, Okada said he had a more difficult time. “America was rough,” he began. “I didn’t know anybody nearby. The other wrestlers would only be around if they had matches. Every day I would be going to the gym by myself, going shopping by myself, and then going home, and that was it.” He explained later on that he had studied English in junior high, but there were few people to speak to overall. “I got to know this one Japanese guy who went to the gym, and he helped me out a lot.”
A fan also asked Kazuchika Okada if he ever considered wearing a mask. “I think every wrestler has thought about it at least once,” he answered. He said that wearing a mask is tough because it restricts your vision. “But on the other hand,” he said with a laugh, “you could walk down the street and not get recognized.”
Read the full Q&A with NJPW here