Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Another Jazzy Evening in Asakusa!

Shinichi Yanagisawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight was another night at the HUB in Asakusa, listening to some live jazz as performed by Shinichi Yanagisawa and His Swing All-Stars. Suffice it to say, it was another great evening of entertainment.

At this point, I really hope I don't have to explain who Yanagisawa-san is. I blog about him all the time, and I've attended his performances for nearly five years. But yes, he was Miyamto in The X from Outer Space (1967), though there's much, much more to his career.

Best of all, I get to spend a bit of time in the company of such a wonderful gentleman. His fellow band members are great, too. I always look forward to attending these shows. I hope there will be many more to come in the future.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Happy Birthday, Chumei Watanabe!

Chumei Watanabe. Photo by Brett Homenick.

August 19 marks the 94th birthday of film and television composer Chumei Watanabe. If you're not familiar with Watanabe-san or his work, here is a good place to start.

Chumei Watanabe plays with a Daitetsujin 17 toy. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

I was privileged to attend a special celebration of Watanabe-san last night. I was pleased to see that Watanabe-san hadn't lost a step and is still going strong.

Most of all, I was just happy to see him again and personally wish him a happy birthday. I know that Watanabe-san is an inspiration to me, and I can only hope to be in such good health if and when I reach his age.

Happy birthday, Watanabe-san!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Ultraman Festival 2019!

Today, I attended Ultraman Festival in Ikebukuro. Here's a look at what I saw. Enjoy!

Back to 1966 ... Again!

Bin Furuya. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight, I attended a special event with Bin Furuya (the original Ultraman suit actor) and Tsuburaya Productions cameraman Masao Nakabori. I attended a similar event about two months ago. As before, the focus was on the making of the original Ultraman (1966-67).

I arrived fashionably late (I'm always on the move, you know), but shortly after I arrived, I was treated to an interesting sight. Nakabori-san pulled out a model VTOL and demonstrated how the staff of Ultraman would manipulate them with piano wire.

Masao Nakabori. Photo by Brett Homenick.

During the demonstration, Furuya-san took the model and held it in his hand, as if he had just rescued it from a monster attack. Naturally, just about everyone in attendance pulled out his or her camera for that scene!

Overall, it was another great evening, although I came home completely drained after all the running around I did today.

Furuya-san rescues a damaged VTOL. Photo by Brett Homenick.

And that's a wrap! See you next time.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

THE HUMAN BULLET! An Evening in the Company of Minori Terada!

Minori Terada. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I had the distinct privilege of meeting actor Minori Terada. Terada-san stars in Kihachi Okamoto's The Human Bullet (1968), but he is also known for his supporting parts in such films as Okamoto's Red Lion (1969), Station (1981), Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky (1986), Akio Jissoji's Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988), and Ultra Q: The Movie (1990). On TV, he guest-starred in Ultraman (1966-67) episode 14 as the assistant truck driver.

Terada-san was a lot of fun to talk to. We spoke about Akira Kurosawa movies and Japanese movies in general. Suffice it to say, his acting resume is extremely impressive, so there was no shortage of topics to discuss.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New Kazuki Omori Interview on Vantage Point Interviews

Kazuki Omori in May 2019. Photo by Brett Homenick.

When I visited Osaka at the end of May, I had the privilege of interviewing Heisei Godzilla series director Kazuki Omori for the second time. Unfortunately, there was only enough time to cover Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) and Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), but there's plenty of great information.

The interview can be found here. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Our Memories on the Beach!

Shigeo Kato answers a question about his career. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I did something today that I usually try to avoid: get up early on a Sunday morning. But I did it for a very simple reason. I wanted to catch a screening of Shigeo Kato's newest movie, Our Memories on the Beach (2018). 

Congrats, Kato-san! Photo by Brett Homenick.

Our Memories on the Beach is a 52-minute feature, and it also happens to be Kato-san's first starring role in his 70-year career. Kato-san plays a 93-year-old fisherman named Shigeta, a widower who's very much set in his ways. He encounters a 20-year-old aspiring photographer who takes an interest in him. The two have enjoy each other's company on and around the beaches of Kamakura, but when Shigeta's daughter gets involved, things suddenly take a dramatic turn.

The movie was quite enjoyable, and it was fun to see Kato-san essentially play himself. Kato-san began his acting career in 1950 when he joined Toho Studios, but it wasn't until 2018 that he starred in his first film. And what a role it was for him! Suffice it to say, I was glad to attend and personally congratulate Kato-san on a job well done.