Monday, February 8, 2016
On Friday, February 5, I joined my friend Yasushi and a mutual friend for dinner in Shinjuku. After we sat down, I happened to look out the window (which was located on the 8th floor of the building) and saw something rather interesting staring back at me.
I'd never seen the new Godzilla head at the Hotel Gracery from this angle before, and fortunately I had my camera with me. I snapped several photos, and since it's a rare sight to see the Godzilla head face-to-face (so to speak), I thought I'd share them here.
Thanks for making our dinner that much more fun, Big Guy!
On Sunday, February 7, I attended a performance of Hiroyasu Yamaura's latest play in Shin-Yurigaoka. Yamaura-san wrote it, and the play itself was largely a one-woman performance (played masterfully by Fumiko Narisawa), while Tomoko Ogawa played the piano.
I was joined by several of my friends, and we congratulated Yamaura-san on a job well done. Afterward, we were invited to join Yamaura-san (along with the cast and crew) to dinner.
Several of us made our way over to a nearby Japanese restaurant and had a course meal for dinner. It was rather delicious, but I enjoyed the conversations more than the meal.
The stage director of the play was Masahiko Shiraishi, a former Toho SFX staff member and an author of some of the most in-depth books about tokusatsu movies and TV programs. It was great to have him join us for dinner.
Monday, February 1, 2016
I stopped by the Godzilla statue today in Hibiya Chanter. While there, I snapped some photos. Enjoy!
Today, during my lunch break, I made a quick visit to Ginza to stop by Keiko Nishi's cafe. Nishi-san played Terrible Monster Attacking Crew (TAC) member Noriko Mikawa on Tsuburaya Productions' Ultraman Ace (1972-73).
I've blogged about the cafe countless times here, so I won't repeat myself. But it was a great way to spend about 30 minutes before eventually returning to work. Special thanks to Nishi-san for her hospitality, as always!
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Nikkatsu Studios star Masako Izumi listens intently to a question from one of her many fans.
Screenwriter Fumio Ishimori poses for a photo.
Hanging out with the kind and energetic Masako Izumi.
Does it look like we're having a good time?
Meeting Fumio Ishimori, who was worked for many of Japan's greatest studios.
A selfie with a great Japanese screenwriter!
One last photo for the road!
Last night, I was privileged to attend a special dinner event with two Nikkatsu Studios alumni. The headliner of the event was Masako Izumi, who was a young star at Nikkatsu during the 1960s. I met her last year at a similar event and was pleasantly surprised to find that she recognized me.
The other special guest in attendance was screenwriter Fumio Ishimori (sometimes credited as Shiro Ishimori in the West). Ishimori-san penned several films for Nikkatsu during the 1960s before eventually leaving for Shochiku Studios. In the 1970s, Ishimori-san wrote the horror opus Crest of the Wolf (1973) for Toho Studios.
While there was a film screening prior to the dinner event, I missed it. (I have to work, you know.) But I was able to enjoy sitting with Izumi-san and Ishimori-san, who were quite gregarious and eager to mingle with their fans.
It was intriguing to see how the attendees acted around Izumi-san. For this event, the folks in attendance were all new to me. I made some new friends and enjoyed chatting with them. But they were all in awe of Izumi-san. Her name is hardly known to Americans, but fans in Japan are well aware of who she is. After becoming familiar with her credits, it would be hard not to become impressed!
The event was a lot of fun and a big success. Masako Izumi was full of boundless energy, and despite her previous success as a Nikkatsu star, she was a approachable as anyone else I've seen. Ishimori-san was a very friendly chap whom I hope to see again soon. Congratulations to everyone involved!
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Terror of Mechagodzilla's Yukiko Takayama and Kensho Yamashita reminisce about their famous film.
Yukiko Takayama gesticulates in order to make a point.
Kensho Yamashita recalls Terror of Mechagodzilla.
Yukiko Takayama signs autographs.
With the two celebrity guests at the event.
With Yukiko Takayama.
With Kensho Yamashita.
Yukiko Takayama and Kensho Yamashita pose for pictures.
Takayama-san and Yamashita-san check the photos taken on Yamashita-san's camera.