Sunday, December 6, 2015

ULTRA ONE-MAN SHOW! Bin Furuya Hosts Another Big Event!

Bin Furuya puts a new spin on his Specium Ray pose. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Sunday, December 6, saw the second Ultra One-Man Show hosted by Bin Furuya (the original Ultraman suit actor). Taking place in Minato's Hatsumei Kaikan, it featured many notable celebrity guests.

Ultra Q stars Yasuhiko Saijo (left) and Hiroko Sakurai (right) take the stage to discuss their career at Tsuburaya Productions. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Among the guests on hand were Ultra Q alumni Yasuhiko Saijo and Hiroko Sakurai. Both shared many laughs when recounting their memories at Tsuburaya Productions.

Grace Mika and Bin Furuya perform a tap-dancing routine to a warm reception from the audience. Photo by Brett Homenick.

After the Q&A wrapped, actress-singer Grace Mika took to the stage with Furuya-san, and together they performed a tap-dancing number that wowed the audience. How often do you get to see Ultraman cut a rug like that?

Tsuburaya Productions director Toshihiro Iijima was feted at the event. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The guest who seemed to garner the most reverence was Tsuburaya Productions director Toshihiro Iijima, whose directorial credits include Ultra Q, Ultraman, and Ultra Seven. Director Minoru Kawasaki (who served as an emcee for the event) interviewed Iijima-san onstage while Tsuburaya alumni Furuya-san, Sakurai-san, Saijo-san, and scripter Atsuko Tanaka threw in their two cents.

One surprise was a video message from Ultraman and Ultra Seven actor Sandayu Dokumamushi. If only he were able to attend in person!

Yes, hanging out with Yasuhiko Saijo is as fun as it looks!

After the show finished, it was time to meet and mingle. I spoke to many familiar faces in the lobby area. I also was able to snap a few photos with some of the guests.

Yours truly with Tsuburaya Productions scripter Atsuko Tanaka. 

Once that wrapped, the after-party was ready to commence. Many of Furuya-san's fans and friends converged upstairs for a dinner that lasted about two hours.

It was great to see and speak with Hiroko Sakurai again. 

This was an opportunity for attendees to get autographs from and photos with the celebrity guests. One of the first I approached was Hiroko Sakurai. Even though fans immediately swarmed around her, she was as friendly as always.

Enjoying a chat with former child actor Sojiro Uchino (Ultra Q, Ultraman). 

It had been months since I last saw and hung out with Sojiro Uchino (a former child actor whose credits include Ultra Q, Ultraman, Kaiju Booska, and Gamera vs. Viras). I certainly hope to have the chance to see him again before the end of the year.

With the enchanting and multi-talented Grace Mika.

I spent the majority of the evening hanging out with actress-singer Grace Mika, along with our mutual friend Yasushi. Grace is always a blast to spend time with, and even though she isn't a tokusatsu fan, she seems to fit right in at events like this.

Yours truly with Ultra Seven and Return of Ultraman suit actor Eiichi Kikuchi.

It was also a lot of fun to speak with Eiichi Kikuchi, who played Ultra Seven in Ultra Seven for two episodes (14 and 15) and the suit actor for Ultraman Jack in Return of Ultraman. We took several pictures together with different poses, all at his insistence!

Meeting Toho actress Nami Tamura for the first time.

 A suprise guest was actress Nami Tamura, an actress who appears in many Toho films, particularly the works of Kihachi Okamoto. She can also be seen in many programs from Tsuburaya Productions.

A great time was had by all, and I must congratulate Furuya-san on an excellent event. I can't wait for next year's show!

After it was finished, Grace, Yasushi, and I went out for dinner and drinks for a few more hours. It was the perfect way to cap off an incredible day!

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