Monday, January 30, 2017
The Hattori Clock Tower (atop the Wako department store) was featured prominently in Godzilla (1954). Photo by Brett Homenick.
While walking around Ginza, I couldn't resist the urge to photograph some familiar locations. It was a beautiful day, which made any resistance nearly impossible. It truly was perfect weather for photography. Anyhow, here are some shots of the Hattori Clock Tower (as seen in the original Godzilla) and the Yurakucho Mullion Building (as seen in Godzilla 1985). Enjoy!
Yours truly with Ultraman Ace actress Keiko Nishi.
While on a break from work, I traveled to Ginza to spend some time at Keiko Nishi's cafe. Nishi-san, of course, played TAC member Noriko Mikawa in Ultraman Ace (1972-73). As expected, she was at the cafe when I arrived, and we had a nice chat.
Despite being a rather busy day at the cafe, she set aside some time to take these photos. Nishi-san is always extremely friendly whenever I see her. Thank you very much!
Sunday, January 29, 2017
Teruyoshi Nakano and Takashi Naganuma share memories of their SFX careers. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Tonight was another fun evening spent in the company of two tokusatsu titans from Toho Studios, namely Teruyoshi Nakano and Takashi Naganuma.
Teruyoshi Nakano answers questions about tokusatsu techniques. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Nakano-san and Naganuma-san are two of the nicest gents you could ever meet. (I know I say that about a number of people, but if the shoe fits...) I brought a DVD sleeve of The Imperial Navy (1981) and a booklet for Submersion of Japan (1973) for Nakano-san to sign, and both items look great with his autograph.
Getting ready for dinner with Teruyoshi Nakano.
As always, we all shared many laughs, and a great time was had by all. I make it a point to attend as many of these shindigs as I can. After all, stuff like this is why I came to Japan in the first place!
A double thumbs-up from Takashi Naganuma and yours truly!
And so the weekend officially comes to a close. Gotta get ready for work tomorrow. But what an incredible weekend it was!
Saturday, January 28, 2017
From left to right: Kazuki Hayashitani, Makoto Kamiya, yours truly, Hurricane Ryu, and Kazuki Omori are all smiles.
I just returned from a fun dinner with several alumni from Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), which included director Kazuki Omori, suit actor Hurricane Ryu, assistant director of SFX Makoto Kamiya, and SFX crew member Kazuki Hayashitani.
Suit actor Hurricane Ryu poses for a picture. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Hurricane Ryu is a versatile individual whose talent as an illustrator is second to none. But most Godzilla fans would know Hurricane Ryu as the Godzilla series suit actor who played King Ghidorah in Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, Battra in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992), Baby Godzilla in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993), and Godzilla Junior in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995). Other suit-acting roles include Kumasogami in Orochi the Eight-Headed Dragon (1994) and Guilala in Monster X Strikes Back: Attack the G8 Summit (2008).
I last saw Hurricane Ryu almost a year ago at another event. It was nice to catch up with him again. I signed my King Ghidorah poster (also signed by Omori-san and Ueda-san), as well as my Godzilla vs. Mothra booklet.
SFX director Makoto Kamiya. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Makoto Kamiya was assistant director of SFX from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) through Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, then served in the same capacity on Gamera: Guardian of the Universe (1995) through Gamera 3 (1999). After that, he became SFX director on GMK and Shinji Higuchi's Sinking of Japan (2006).
To say that Kamiya-san enjoyed the evening would be a massive understatement. He enthusiastically chatted with just about everybody, and he especially seemed to have great chemistry with Hurricane Ryu.
And that's a wrap! It was a great evening, but more will be coming soon. Stay tuned!
Sunday, January 22, 2017
Writer-director Kazuki Omori (left) and actor Koichi Ueda (right) reminisce about making Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Today, I attended a great screening of Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991) in 35mm. Attending the screening were writer-director Kazuki Omori and actor Koichi Ueda.
Director Kazuki Omori describes filming Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah. Photo by Brett Homenick.
The film print was showing some wear and tear, but overall it looked very good. I hadn't seen the film in its entirety for a long time, so there were a few things I'd forgotten. Overall, despite some glaring SFX flaws, I think the film holds up well.
Actor Koichi Ueda recalls his many Godzilla films. Photo by Brett Homenick.
This was my second time meeting Koichi Ueda. I first met him two years ago at the memorial event for Koichi Kawakita at Toho Studios. I found him to be a kind, soft-spoken gentleman at the time, and that impression was only reinforced at this event.
Yours truly in between Kazuki Omori and Koichi Ueda.
Godzilla fans may know Koichi Ueda from his various supporting roles in the Godzilla series (he appears in every Godzilla film between Godzilla vs. Biollante and Godzilla: Final Wars), and general audiences may recognize him from his turns in prestige pictures like Shall We Dance? (1996), but Ueda-san actually got his start in acting by apprearing in tokusatsu TV programs. With appearances in series like Kaiju Booska (1966-67), Ultra Seven (1967-68), Ultraman Taro (1973-74), Jumborg Ace (1973), and even Barom-1 (1972), among others, it's interesting to note that Ueda-san's tokusatsu career isn't more appreciated in the West.
Ueda-san had to leave a bit early, but I was able to spend a bit of time in his company. He's a very soft-spoken gentleman, much different from his onscreen role in King Ghidorah as the Lagos Island veteran who yells about the existence of dinosaurs through a loudspeaker.
Over the past couple of days, I've been able to spend quite a bit of time in Kazuki Omori's company, and even though I've met him twice before, I've never seen him in a better mood. Of course, I last met him at Koichi Kawakita's memorial event at Toho Studios, and it's easy to see why a person might not be in the best of spirits at such an occasion. So it's a very positive difference. It certainly made for an incredible weekend!