As a fan of novelty in MMA, one of the most delightful surprises in 2014 has been Rin Nakai. Even on a superficial level, she is a contrast of opposites. And contrast is the definition of what makes life so interesting. Love and hate. Bravery and fear. Lingerie and fight shorts.
Or as the sketchy translation of her most recent blog entry reads, “It is like light and day.”
Nakai compares herself to “a rare animal found on the Seto Island Sea, and [her] background music is that of a perverted erotic thong.” Have you ever put your ear right down against the whistling edge of a perverted erotic thong? It is weird and beautiful, just like Nakai.
But Rin was being silly just then, and she becomes serious, lamenting that she is actually a “poor person from the country side,” and that her training facility isn’t adequate for her new role as an elite fighter in the UFC. “There is no one to train with in my gym, the countryside is worn-out and the gyms are shrinking/depopulating.”
She fancies herself a Japanese version of Elly May Clampett, dreaming of “big pool parties with lots of famous people . . . mega-gyms with state-of-the-art facilities and top-class coaches who are always there . . . top-class fighters who have an abundance of sparring partners . . . [and] big sponsorships . . . .”
Nakai is so distraught, “retirement has entered [her] scope and [she has] started thinking about it.”
But Rin’s blog is a diary of sorts, a place designed for cathartic exaggeration, and again, she is a woman of opposites. I suspect she will appear enthusiastically in September. But what if I'm wrong, and this conflicted newcomer really does plan to retire? Is she so strange and unpredictable that she's capable of forcing herself awake just as her dream is starting to get good? In a way, it would be a poetic representation of her wild, parabolic existence. And I will miss her, one moment, a whimsical Seto Island sea creature, skipping to the music of a vibrating undergarment. The next, a somber girl from the countryside, mourning the loss of an international career that hasn’t yet begun.