Wednesday, August 31, 2016
In the last few years, Tokyo Station underwent a massive renovation that makes it look less like a train station and more like a castle fit for a king. Perhaps that's why the filmmaker behind Godzilla Resurgence (a.k.a. Shin Godzilla) selected it as the scene of the climax for the latest adventure with the King of the Monsters. (See what I did there?)
While exploring the city yesterday, I happened upon the station quite by accident, but since it's featured prominently in the new film, I decided to snap a few photos.
It truly is unlike any other train station I've seen in Japan. I vaguely remember what it was like before the renovation, and it was nothing like this.
It's certainly worth checking out if you're visiting Tokyo, even without the connection to Godzilla Resurgence. It's definitely much easier on the eyes than Shinjuku Station!
While walking around Ginza last night, I spotted this life-size gorilla statue literally hanging around in Ginza. I've never seen (or even heard of) it before, so I was taken by surprise.
While there are no obvious movie connections, it does bring to mind King Kong. That said, I'm sure it's just supposed to be a typical gorilla.
I wonder if there's any way we could get this gorilla statue to fight the Godzilla statue in Hibiya. After all, they're not that far apart!
A typhoon blew through Japan yesterday, but thankfully the storm largely missed Tokyo. Still, we got our share of wind and rain. While in Ginza, I photographed some of the usual locations, including the Hattori Clock Tower atop the Wako department store.
The overcast sky certainly adds a bit of character to the photos. During this time, it was raining off and on, and the storm was completely over by the evening.
Today the weather was back to normal, but given that it's August, perhaps that's not such a good thing!
Singer Grace Mike performs in Ginza. Photo by Brett Homenick.
On Tuesday, I went to Ginza to see jazz singer Grace Mika perform live at a nightclub. The show was great, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to see Grace again.
I first became aware of Grace when I saw her co-star in a play with Bin Furuya in Asakusa. Seeing her performances is always a treat!
Monday, August 29, 2016
In a rare joint appearance, legendary actors Akira Takarada and Kumi Mizuno greet their fans at the Godzilla Tokusatsu exhibit in Yokohama. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Sunday, August 28, was a special day. It saw two of Toho's biggest names, Akira Takarada and Kumi Mizuno, reunite in a rare joint appearance. The two co-starred in Monster Zero (1965) and Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), but since Mizuno-san makes only a few personal appearances, they are rarely seen together. This day was a major exception.
Takarada-san essentially took over as host, asking many questions of Mizuno-san himself. It certainly made for an entertaining chat. Naturally, many Nick Adams stories were shared. At one point, Takarada-san asked me from the stage about the cause of Nick Adams' death.
As the talk was winding down, the staff handed the two actos props from Monster Zero. The pair enjoyed posing for pictures with the items. I know it was a lot of fun watching these two legends relive a classic movie that is now more than 50 years old.
Everything went smoothly, but no pictures with the guests were allowed. At one point, Takarada-san suggested that we take a picture together, but it was refused by the organizer who was standing nearby. That's the way it goes at events like these.
Overall, it was tremendous fun to see Mizuno-san and Takarada-san again. Both were in high spirits, and their energy excited the audience. It was great to be a part of it.
At least I did get a photo with Millennium series director Masaaki Tezuka, who was there in an official capacity.
All in all, it was a great day!
SFX masters Teruyoshi Nakano and Takashi Naganuma hold court in Yokohama. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Following the Godzilla Tokusatsu exhibit, I attended a talk hosted by Teruyoshi Nakano and Takashi Naganuma. Bith gentlemen spoke extensively about the Daiei Studios Daimajin series and their thoughts on it.
After the talk was finished, it was dinnertime! Nakano-san, as usual, shared many stories, including his memory of meeting director Robert Wise on the set of Matango (1963).
It was a lot of fun, as usual, and a great way to cap off the evening. See you all next time!
The Godzilla Tokusatsu exhibit that came to Ikebukuro two years ago has come to Yokohama. While it isn't as elaborate as the one from two years ago, it's still impressive. But a picture's worth a thousand words, so I'll let them do the talking.
Riki Hashimoto talks about his career in Yokohama. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I was fortunate to attend a special dinner with Daimajin suit actor Riki Hashimoto on Saturday, August 27. I shared a lot of laughs with Hashimoto-san, thanks in large part to a very patient attendee who helped translate.
It's always great to see Hashimoto-san, and I hope to see him again very soon.
Thursday, August 25, 2016
A framed picture of Miwa Takada during her Daimajin days. Photo by Brett Homenick
On Sunday, August 21, I had the opportunity to take in a screening of Daimajin (1966) with the film's leading lady, Miwa Takada, in attendance. Miwa-san is also the star of the yokai classic 100 Monsters (1968), and public appearances by her are rather rare.
DVD sleeves for Daimajin and 100 Monsters, signed by Miwa Takada. Photo by Brett Homenick.
There was a major difference between this event and pretty much every other one I've attended. Absolutely no photos of Takada-san were allowed to be taken. At the end of her signing session, however, attendees were allowed to pose for photos with her in groups of five (!) while a staff member took the picture on his smartphone. (I'm still awaiting the picture that the staff member took.)
This was most unusual, but given the general difference in attitude between Toho stars and stars from other studios (especially Daiei and Toei), this was not too surprising. (There are exceptions, of course.) Still, it was a great experience to meet Takada-san, and I enjoyed seeing Daimajin in 35mm.