Thursday, March 29, 2018

Toho Studios Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms bloom at Toho Studios. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I stopped by Toho Studios to see the cherry blossoms, which are now in full bloom in Japan. The sights were quite beautiful, as these photos will attest. Enjoy!

An Ultra-Good Afternoon!

Kiyoshi Suzuki. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I had a great afternoon with Kiyoshi Suzuki, who has seen and done just about everything there is to do behind the camera. Suzuki-san began working at Toho in the early 1960s as a part-time employee, working on the SFX shooting staff on such films as The Last War (1961). Suzuki-san joined Tsuburaya Productions from the very beginning. First, he worked as an assistant cameraman, but soon he worked his way up the ladder, ultimately becoming a movie producer in the 1990s. 

We had a wide-ranging chat that covered a number of topics. Suffice it to say, I learned a lot. Suzuki-san gave me a nice gift: a staff jacket from Superior 8 Ultraman Brothers (2008), which he produced. Many thanks, Suzuki-san!

GODZILLA VS. PACIFIC RIM? Now That's What I Call an Uprising!

In case you didn't know what it was all about, this Pacific Rim Uprising poster makes it perfectly clear. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I'm not so sure this is a crossover I'd ever care to see, but I thought this Pacific Rim Uprising poster was rather interesting. I'm sure you can see why.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Frankenstein Conquers the World

Toho scripter Keiko Hisamatsu remembers the making of Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965). Photo by Brett Homenick.

Earlier today, I attended a special event with former Toho scripter Keiko Hisamatsu (whose married name is Keiko Suzuki), the theme of which was the making of Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965). The event featured a detailed breakdown of the script featuring the notes Hisamatsu-san took during the production, as well as storyboard sketches of the SFX scenes.

Sadao Iizuka. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Sadao Iizuka was on hand as a surprise guest. He occasionally threw in his two cents during the proceedings, which was an unexpected bonus.

It was a fun event featuring two great luminaries from Toho Studios. And I certainly learned quite a bit about FCTW. Can't wait to attend the next one!

Friday, March 23, 2018

HIBIYA GODZILLA SQUARE! The New Shin Godzilla Statue Is Finally Unveiled!

Shin Godzilla seems to be crying to the heavens, "Why, oh, why did you replace the old statue?" Photo by Brett Homenick.

I stopped by the newly renovated (and renamed) Hibiya Godzilla Square today to take a look at the brand-new Shin Godzilla statue. All I can say is, I miss the old one (even if it's simply being relocated a short distance away). Also missing was the Walk of Fame-style area with the names (and hand casts) of various Toho stars. That's progress for you. Anyway, here are the pics.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

HENSHIN! Meeting Kamen Rider 2 Takeshi Sasaki!

 Takeshi Sasaki (a.k.a. Kamen Rider 2). Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Today, I attended a special event with Takeshi Sasaki, the man who replaced Hiroshi Fujioka on the original Kamen Rider (1971-73) series and then teamed up with him when Fujioka recovered from his on-set injury. While I'd seen Sasaki-san at Super Festival in the past, I'd never actually met him until today.

I'm not as well versed in all things Kamen Rider as others are, but I certainly enjoyed meeting Sasaki-san, who is an undisputed legend in tokusatsu. I just have to work on my Kamen Rider poses!

Seeing Fumio Ishimori's Latest Production

Yours truly with Fumio Ishimori (second from left) and friends.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail from screenwriter Fumio Ishimori (a.k.a. Shiro Ishimori), which came with a flyer for his latest stage production. The letter invited me to attend the performance on March 9 in Shibuya. Shortly thereafter, I reserved a ticket and made plans to attend after work.

I arrived a bit late to the show (due to my work schedule), but after the show, I caught up with Ishimori-san and his wife (whom I'd met for the first time). Ishimori-san invited me to dinner, so the three of us went to a nearby izakaya and ate some delicious food.

It was a great evening, and I certaily look foward to seeing Ishimori-san again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

GODZILLA GALLERY! Doing Urban Renewal the Right Way!

Leading the way to the Godzilla Gallery. Photo by Brett Homenick.

The Tokiwabashi District Redevelopment Project is a massive undertaking that is currently underway, but it won't be ready for about another 10 years. Not to worry. Godzilla will help keep us company while this urban renewal project, taking place in the Tokiwabashi District right outside Tokyo Station, makes its slow but steady progress. 

Let's face it: There's no better way to promote urban renewal than with Godzilla, and currently on display at one of the construction sites is the Godzilla Gallery, and let me tell you, it is long! It mostly consists of movie posters, but it is certainly something to see. I enjoyed taking it all in, and through these photos, you can, too!

Gone, Zilla, Gone

Construction continues in Hibiya Chanter. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

The Heisei-era Godzilla statue that stood in Hibiya Chanter since December 1995 will be moved to a new location at the end of the month, but it's still a bit jarring to see the area without the statue that stood on guard for more than 20 years. Earlier today, I checked to see how things were progressing, and here's what I saw.

Out and About in Ginza

The Yurkakucho Mullion Building. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

While walking around Ginza today, I took some photos of a couple of familiar locations. One was the Yurakucho Mullion Building (as seen in Godzilla 1985), and the other was the Hattori Clock Tower atop the Wako department store (as seen in Godzilla '54). Enjoy!

YOKO YAMAMOTO: Kaiju Eiga Star and Guinness World Record Holder!

Actress Yoko Yamamoto represents Yamamoto Noriten products. Photo by Brett Homenick.

It's not often that the star of a Japanese monster movie finds herself as the subject of a Guinness World Record, but in the case of actress Yoko Yamamoto, she can proudly boast that as one of her accomplishments.

Yoko Yamamoto (born in 1942) joined Nikkatsu Studios in 1963 (debuting in 1964) and went on to star in the studio's sole kaiju outing, Gappa the Triphibian Monster (a.k.a. Monster from a Prehistoric Planet, 1967). Also in 1967, Yamamoto signed a contract with Yamamoto Noriten, a company that specializes in seaweed products.

The Guinness World Records certificate om display in the store. Photo by Brett Homenick.

More than 50 years later, Yamamoto remains the face of the company. In November 2009, she was officially recognized by Guinness World Records as being the longest-serving house model for the same company. Almost 10 years later, she still is! 

Earlier today, I stopped by the Yamamoto Noriten shop in Nihombashi and took the photos accompanying this blog post. It's certainly a fascinating bit of trivia for those (like me) who enjoy Gappa.