Sounds pretty wicked!! I really hope it goes through.
Just back home from work; I stayed a little later because I found some game models online from games like resident evil/ kingdom hearts and although bringing them into Maya is messy (games take the quads out of the meshes so the deformation is weird.) But I decided to try out a botched rigging attempt on it, and characterized it and it worked. Threw some motion capture over Chris from Resident Evil, and although it's a bit wonky (30 second skinning) it actually wasn't as bad as I expected the results to be and was pretty cool! :3
Or I have bad timing. I'm just getting back to being active after my cold, and looking into maybe traveling to the UK this year if I can swing the time/money. Some of my friends are also looking into it and it would be great to coordinate this especially since one of them lived in London for a few months and could show me around.
If he lives anywhere near a school that teaches Japanese I think he might want to pop down to their school bookstore to see what textbooks they have available. Usually teachers know what's good and what's not.