Wednesday, May 25, 2016
My main goal for visiting Ginza today was to visit actress Keiko Nishi, best known for playing TAC member Noriko Mikawa in Ultraman Ace (1972-73). We had a great time catching up.
Once again, I wish my command of Japanese was much better than it is, but we're always able to make it work. Thank you again, Nishi-san!
The Hattori Clock Tower atop the Wako department store in Ginza. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Today I had some time to walk around Ginza. Since I had my trusty camera on hand, I took some photos.
It's been photographed countless times (even on this blog!), but I snapped some new photos of the Hattori Clock Tower, which Godzilla destroyed in 1954.
The Yurakucho Mullion Building, razed by Godzilla in 1984. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Nearby stands the Yurakucho Mullion Building, which Godzilla destroyed 30 years later in 1984. It also bears a famous logo.
More photos to come!
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Toho and Tsuburaya Productions optical photography expert Sadao Iizuka answers questions about his career. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Today I returned to DeNs Cafe in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, for the first time in several months. Because of my work schedule, I had to miss the last several events featuring Sadao Iizuka, the veteran optical effects expert who worked on numerous Toho films.
The topic of this event was Iizuka-san's work on King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and Gorath (1962). Unfortunately, I missed this part of the presentation. But I made it in time for the dinner portion of the event. During this time, I talked with one of my friends about a variety of topics, everything from Hammer horror movies to the upcoming Godzilla Resurgence.
I had a great time catching up with many familiar faces, but I wish I'd made it to the main presentation. There's always next time, and more events are on the way. I just hope everything works out next time!
Iizuka-san is well known for animating Godzilla's atomic ray, King Ghidorah's gravity beams, and Ultraman's trademark Specium Ray. But those accomplishments only begin to scratch the surface of a career that began in 1954 and continues to this day!
Saturday, May 21, 2016
The Western-style residence in Kyu-Furukawa Gardens has been used as a filming location in countless Japanese productions. Photo by Brett Homenick.
It's hard trying to document the filming locations used in many Japanese genre productions, and the proof is in the lack of quality English-language research done in this area. Little by little, I intend to fill the void, and today I shine my spotlight on a new location.
Kyu-Furukawa Gardens is a beautiful park located in Kita, Tokyo, near Nishigahara Station. The centerpiece of the park is its Western-style residence, and it's easy to see why. You see very few buildings like this in Tokyo. Although it was at one time a private residence, it was converted into a public park in 1956.
The Western-style residence appears in several classic Japanese horror films. It was used as Shin Kishida's vampiric principal character in Evil of Dracula (1974), the spooky house in the Hajime Sato-directed House of Terrors (a.k.a. The Ghost of the Hunchback, 1965), and it also turns up in the Toho mystery Murders in the Doll House (a.k.a. Crazy Doll Trick, 1979).
As much as I wanted to step inside the house, you can only do so if you join a guided tour, which unfortunately I didn't have enough time to do. Still, it was cool to see this filming location from the outside. It does seem tailor-made for horror movies!
It's a beautiful park, regardless of its history on film. I'd highly recommend it to anyone, even if he or she isn't into any of the aforementioned films. There's so much to see and photograph. I'm sure I'll eventually go back and join one of the guided tours.
How cool is it to see where Shin Kishida's vampire character once lived? It's very cool, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to visit yet another incredible filming location. I can't wait to see more!
The National Diet Building in Nagatacho. Photo by Brett Homenick.
During my travels today, I had to make a quick stop in Nagatacho. While there, I decided to walk around and photograph the National Diet Building, which I haven't visited in five years. The National Diet Building features prominently in kaiju 0classics like King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and more recent capers like Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992). Anyway, here are the pics. Enjoy!
Looking fashionably bored while wearing an incredible Ultraman Taro mask.
Friday night, I joined several Japanese tokusatsu fans for dinner in Kichijoji, Tokyo. Ultraman suit actor Bin Furuya joined us for the first part of dinner before he had to leave. During the dinner, a fellow fan brought out a really cool replica of the Ultraman Taro mask.
Naturally, pictures were taken with it by many who were in attendance. It was a great mask, and I'm not sure even my pictures can do justice to how cool it was.