Tonight, I had the privilege of attending a dinner event in Meguro, Tokyo, with Toei star Sonny Chiba. I'd met Chiba-san twice before, but this was perhaps my favorite meeting. The event took place at an Italian restaurant, and the meal was several courses. During the conversation, Chiba-san used his knife to demonstrate a few chambara techniques. It was by far the coolest use of tableware I've ever seen!
Although there were a handful of others in attendance, Chiba-san was by far the best skilled at English. He was very friendly with everyone who asked for a photo or an autograph.
Sonny Chiba was one of Toei's biggest action stars of the last several decades, and The Street Fighter series is a testament to his popularity around the world. He appeared in numerous science fiction and tokusatsu films at Toei Studios, even though his action films from the '70s eclipse those movies in notoriety.
I brought along my DVD covers of Invasion of the Neptune Men (1961) and Terror Beneath the Sea (1966), both Toei sci-fi actioners starring Chiba-san. I've actually had these discs for a quite a while but hadn't had the opportunity to get them signed. It was Chiba-san's idea to personalize them for me, and how could I have possibly said no?
It was a fantastic evening, and many thanks to all who made it possible!