Tuesday, February 19, 2013

AKIRA TAKARADA HEADS TO CHILLER! Toho's Biggest Star Returns to the U.S. This April!

Akira Takarada signs a DVD slipcover during rehearsals for Me and My Girl in Tokyo. Lucky fans in the Northeast will also get the opportunity to get their items signed by the man himself!

Fans on the East Coast get a rare treat this spring as none other than the star of the original Godzilla (not to mention Godzilla vs. the Thing, Monster Zero, King Kong Escapes, etc.) will appear at the Chiller Theatre convention from April 26-28 in Parsippany, NJ.

Takarada-san may look stern in the photo above, but remember, folks, he's a great actor!

This marks Akira Takarada's first convention appearance on the East Coast, as well as his first public appearance in the U.S. outside the context of G-FEST. If you're a fan of tokusatsu, Chiller Theatre is the place to be this spring!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

TOKYO: The Weekend in Pictures

With Toho star Yosuke Natsuki in his office. I had the distinct honor of sitting in Natsuki-san's office for hours, listening to his memories of Toho Studios! Photo by Asako Kato.

February 8 through 11 was an exciting weekend for me. I met many friends and did many things. So here's a quick blog update with the highlights! 

Hanging with Kazuki Kato at English Avenue Daikanyama. When he's not too busy performing on the stage as a singer or on the screen as an actor, I enjoy getting to see the star of Monster X Strikes Back and Kamen Rider: The Next whenever possible. Photo by Asako Kato.

The Big Boss himself! On Saturday, February 9, I traveled to Mitaka, Tokyo, to watch Akira Takarada rehearse his new stage play, Me and My Girl, which will run exclusively in Toyama Prefecture.

Here he comes from the sky! After hanging out with Takarada-san, I had dinner with Bin Furuya, Ultraman himself! It was a great dinner, and I met many new friends. Thanks to Furuya-san for introducing them to me!

On Sunday, February 10, I was invited to attend a Kamen Rider Super-1 reunion in Nakano, Tokyo. Shunsuke Takasugi, who starred as Kamen Rider Super-1, appeared onstage to answer questions and sign autographs with some of his former co-stars!

Following the Kamen Rider event, I interviewed legendary Japanese actor Mickey Curtis, who was happy to share his memories of Toshiro Mifune, Kihachi Okamoto, and many others!

On Monday, February 11, I met with director Yoshimitsu Banno and screenwriters Wataru Mimura and Hitomi Shimizu as we talked about a myriad of subjects. Thanks to my friend Yasushi for snapping this photo!

Friday, February 1, 2013

RIP, Derrick Michael Holmes

Derrick Holmes, enjoying life in Shinjuku, Tokyo, November 2012. 

I am extremely saddened to learn of the passing of my friend Derrick Michael Holmes on November 25, 2012. At this point, I don't have any other details, but his passing strikes me especially hard. Derrick was easily one of the nicest people I've ever met, either in Japan or the U.S.

Derrick and I at a Starbucks in Shinjuku Station, November 2012.

Although Derrick worked mostly as an animal caretaker, he also had many acting credits to his name, including Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) as Biomajor spy Michael Low and Lady Battle Cop (1990).

Derrick meets Godzilla vs. Destroyah actor Jon Gallock at Shinjuku Station, November 2012.

Below is video I took of Derrick as he showed me around Roppongi in August 2011. Also below is a commercial for Parliament's Up for the Down Stroke in which Derrick appears as a teen riding a bicycle.

Rest in Peace, my friend.