Monday, April 28, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAKARADA-SAMA! The Celebrated Toho Star Turns the Big 8-0!

Yours truly with Akira Takarada at his office, April 2013.

It's April 29 in Japan, and that means it's the great Akira Takarada's 80th birthday. While we are disappointed that his cameo was cut out of the new Godzilla film (supposedly to make it "better"), let's put aside those thoughts and reflect on what a tremendous acting career he's led. Congrats, Takarada-sama! Here's to many more!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

TIME FOR REFLECTION: A Sunday to Remember

Sunday, April 27, turned out to be a very busy day for me, and was quite an emotional rollercoaster. I started the day by attending the funeral of William Ross. Although I figured I'd only be a spectator, I actually served as a pallbearer. Suffice it to say, it was a true honor. I was moved by the ceremony, and it made me reflect on the important things in life. Rest in peace, Mr. Ross.

Following the funeral, I made my way over to Super Festival. Akira Takarada was joined by Koichi Kawakita (who was an unbilled guest) onstage for his talk show. I joined the session with only about two minutes remaining, so I missed the announcement that Takarada-san's cameo has been left on the cutting room floor.

While the interview was wrapping up, I met Kikaider star Daisuke Ban while he was getting ready to begin his interview. We shook hands, and he seemed to remember me from our meeting in Los Angeles four years ago. Still, with all the autograph signings sold out, there wasn't much else for me to do at the show, except look at some overpriced toys.

I did get to meet Kawakita-san again and get his autograph. Kawakita-san, of course, will be a guest at this summer's G-FEST. I also got to meet Takarada-san just before he sat down for his signing. I handed him a birthday card and told him about my new digs. He was very happy to hear about it.

After that, I returned home. What a day it was, full of ups and downs. Other things are in the works, so stay tuned.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

William Ross, 1923-2014

Source: Tsutomu Suzuki of Frontier Enterprises, Inc.

Noted voice actor and Frontier Enterprises founder William Ross died on April 19, 2014, in Tokyo. He was 90 years old. Mr. Ross worked on the "international" releases of Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Son of Godzilla, and many other titles. He appears onscreen in The War in Space (1977) as Dr. Schmidt, among other film apperances.

Funeral services will be held in Tokyo on April 27.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

BUSY TIMES IN THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN! Updates on Various Comings and Goings

The cherry blossoms are always a sight to see, especially along Meguro River!

Having just moved to Tokyo from Gifu Prefecture, I've been busy. So I haven't blogged as much as I could have. Plus, not having Internet installed at home yet makes things that much more difficult. So I'm going to do a quick update on some of the things I've done since moving to Tokyo at the very end of March. Enjoy!

One highlight was attending an elaborate Eiji Tsuburaya/Ultraman exhibit in the Shinjuku Takashimaya department store. Plenty of artifacts, props, and even suits were on display. Japan remains the only place to see such cool stuff.

I also visited the brand-new Kaiju Sakaba bar in Kawasaki. After waiting in line for nearly two hours (!), I finally was able to sit down and order food and drinks. Was it worth a two-hour wait? Not really. It lacks the heart of the now-closed Kaiju-ya in Shibuya. Still, once the lines become shorter over time, Ultraman fans will want to check it out.

The biggest highlight so far was visiting Godzilla series composer Riichiro Manabe again. I brought him some Japanese sweets, which he enjoyed. We had a nice chat about things, and he's doing well. I look forward to visiting him again.

Although I didn't go inside, I got to see Atami Castle for the very first time. I'm saving the trek inside for a future visit. Definitely look forward to it!