Sunday, October 20, 2013

BIN FURUYA TAKES GIFU! The Legendary Ultraman Suit Actor Conquers New Territory!

October 20 saw the Kakamigahara Central Library in Gifu Prefecture host a special talk show and signing event with none other than Bin Furuya, the original Ultraman suit actor. Furuya-san touched on a myriad of topics during his talk show, everything from his memories of Eiji Tsuburaya to attending G-FEST in Chicago. Below are photos from the event. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

OKU-TAMA LAKE AND THE OGOUCHI DAM: A Location Embedded with Kaiju History!

Most kaiju fans have never heard of Oku-Tama Lake or the Ogouchi Dam. However, this location is well checking out for monster fans of any stripe.

Remember the scene in Mothra (1961) in which the titular kaiju breaks through the dam? How about the scene in Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) in which Megalon does the same? Well, they're the same location, and it actually exists in Japan!

Of course, after breaking the dam apart in the movie, Megalon smashes a bridge. And there it is!

This is the Ogouchi Dam in Lake Oku-Tama, which is about a two-hour train ride from Shinjuku Station. It takes a long time to get there, but on top of being an iconic location in kaiju movies, it's a beautiful area. The pictures truly speak for themselves.

For more information, follow this link. If seeking out movie locations is your thing, I would recommend adding this one to the list. It may take a while to get there, but it's a site few kaiju fans have visited. Let's try to change that!

Careful! Be sure not to drop your camera while taking shots! I have a feeling you'd never see it again.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NAKANO-SAN! Toho's Legendary SFX Director Celebrates His Birthday with Yuriko Hishimi!

Yuriko Hishimi (better known as Anne Yuri from Ultra Seven (1967-68) shakes the hand of her friend Teruyoshi Nakano after handing him a birthday present.

On October 14, I was privileged to attend a special birthday party for Teruyoshi Nakano, the famed Toho SFX director whose worked dominated the '70s. The celebration was held at Yuriko Hishimi's restaurant, Asian Taipei, in Chofu, Tokyo.

The event was sponsored by the Grissom Gang, a group of hardcore film fans who host events for movies from all over the world. However, on October 14, the night belonged to Nakano-san!

When he was served with his cake, I had the distinct honor of leading the group in singing "Happy Birthday" in English. Suffice it to say, it was truly a highlight of the evening!

What came across to me was how friendly Hishimi-san and Nakano-san were. Hishimi-san organized a wonderful dinner at her restaurant and made sure everyone in attendance was taken care of. Bravo for a job well done!

All in all, it was a fun event. I certainly hope there will be another celebration organized for next year. If there is, I plan to be there!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

RETURN TO TOHO STUDIOS: Visiting the Famed Studio with Friends and Pros!

Akira Takarada and Bin Furuya lead the way for our small tour of Japan's greatest film studio.

October 6 saw Akira Takarada and Bin Furuya lead a tour for several G-fans (Butch Portillo, his fiancee Kari, totorom, and our friend Yasushi) at Toho Studios. Of course, the studio has changed a great deal over the years, and not much of the "old days" remains in place. However, given its history, Toho is one of the most exciting places for any Godzilla fan worth his salt to visit. We walked around most of the studio and got to go inside Studio 8 and photograph the interior. Overall, it was a wonderful afternoon, but I think we'd all agree that our hosts made the visit truly special.

Below are some of the highlights:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TOKYO TIMES: The Events of September 2013

Signing autographs is always a fun activity before eating Chinese food!

I just returned from a great trip to Tokyo from 9/27 to 9/29. I had a lot of fun and got to spend time with many friends. Below are just some of the highlights from the visit!

Posing with Akira Takarada's award for his production of The Fantasticks last year at his office.

Outside a nearby Chinese restaurant.

Ultraman guests Bin Furuya, Susumu Kurobe, and Hiroko Sakurai take the stage at Tokyo's Super Festival.

Toho greats Akira Kubo and Hiroshi Koizumi answer questions at Super Festival.

Meeting Kubo-san again.

Meeting Koizumi-san again.

With two legends.

Hanging out is what it's all about! With friends Butch Portillo and Yasushi Okuyama at a familiar location. More stuff is coming soon, so watch this space!