Monday, December 10, 2012
VIVA CHIBA! Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba Wows Them in Tokyo!
The Honey Trap gym isn't likely to sound familiar to you, but the name Sonny Chiba certainly will. Chiba-san, Japan's most popular action star of all time, answered questions, signed autographs, and posed for pictures at the aforementioned Honey Trap gym in Shinjuku, Tokyo.
For two hours, Chiba-san discussed such varied topics as his popularity in America and ways to stay in shape. He even showed the crowd of fewer than 30 people (we were a lucky group, folks!) several action stunts with the help of a fellow Japan Action Club member. There's nothing quite like seeing Sonny Chiba kick butt mere feet in front of you!
At the end of the presentation, attendees were encouraged to choose whichever foam picture of Chiba-san we wanted and pull it off the wall (!) for the star himself to sign. I chose the foam Invasion of the Neptune Men poster. Tokusatsu will always be my preference!
Chiba-san was incredibly generous and patient with his fans. Though he didn't speak much English, we were able to communicate fairly well. He is the very embodiment of genki. Having seen him crack skulls (and worse!) in movies, I couldn't help but be pleasantly surprised at how warm a personality he has.
As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In the shot above, my foam poster is getting signed. I can't be quite sure, but this is probably when he was asking me the spelling of my name. He personalized each autograph, including mine.
What can I say? Here I am, shaking hands with movie history. What a moment!
And there you have it! I have to give Chiba-san's management a lot of credit for being extremely helpful. Daimon-san couldn't have been nicer, and Yokoya-san, with her impressive English proficiency, helped me find the gym in the first place! Arigato gozaimasu!