Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Trio of Great Guests!

Yoko Takahashi. Photo by Brett Homenick.

On Saturday night, I had the privilege of attending a fun dinner event with three very special guests, one of whom was a surprise. They were actresses Yoko Takahashi and Rie Yokoyama, as well as director Toru Murakawa.

I've met Takahashi-san several times over the years. She was a prolific actress in the 1970s, with her best-known work in the West being the Oscar-nominated Sandakan 8 (1974). She also can be seen in Kon Ichikawa's The Devil's Ballad (1977).

Rie Yokoyama. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Yokoyama-san appears in Nagisa Oshima's Diary of a Shinjuku Burglar (1969), Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972), episode 10 of Horror Theater Unbalance (1973), Zatoichi's Conspiracy (1973), and Kinji Fukasaku's New Battles without Honor and Humanity: Last Days of the Boss (1976).

I briefly met Yokoyama-san earlier this year, but this time I had a bit more time to spend in her company, which naturally I was happy to do.

Toru Murakawa is a director best known for his many collaborations with actor Yusaku Matsuda. Murakawa-san directed the films The Resurrection of the Golden Wolf (1979) and The Beast to Die (1980), both of which star Matsuda.

On the small screen, he directed episodes of Daitsuiseki (1978) and Tantei Monogatari (1979-80). However, I know Murakawa-san best as the chief assistant director of the Japanese scenes of Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970).

And there you have it! The guests were great, and I had a wonderful time. Let's do it again soon!

Attending a Live Performance!

Hiroyasu Yamaura. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I took in a small play (more like a dramatic reading) written by Hiroyasu Yamaura. The performance featured a narrator and two actors, both of whom mostly read from their scripts. A pianist performed a live soundtrack for the show, which was an added bonus.

Afterward, I took some obligatory photos. I even met a few new folks, including Yamaura-san's son and his family. It was certainly a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Another Jazzy Evening in Asakusa!

Shinichi Yanagisawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight was another night at the HUB in Asakusa, listening to some live jazz as performed by Shinichi Yanagisawa and His Swing All-Stars. Suffice it to say, it was another great evening of entertainment.

At this point, I really hope I don't have to explain who Yanagisawa-san is. I blog about him all the time, and I've attended his performances for nearly five years. But yes, he was Miyamto in The X from Outer Space (1967), though there's much, much more to his career.

Best of all, I get to spend a bit of time in the company of such a wonderful gentleman. His fellow band members are great, too. I always look forward to attending these shows. I hope there will be many more to come in the future.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Happy Birthday, Chumei Watanabe!

Chumei Watanabe. Photo by Brett Homenick.

August 19 marks the 94th birthday of film and television composer Chumei Watanabe. If you're not familiar with Watanabe-san or his work, here is a good place to start.

Chumei Watanabe plays with a Daitetsujin 17 toy. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

I was privileged to attend a special celebration of Watanabe-san last night. I was pleased to see that Watanabe-san hadn't lost a step and is still going strong.

Most of all, I was just happy to see him again and personally wish him a happy birthday. I know that Watanabe-san is an inspiration to me, and I can only hope to be in such good health if and when I reach his age.

Happy birthday, Watanabe-san!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Ultraman Festival 2019!

Today, I attended Ultraman Festival in Ikebukuro. Here's a look at what I saw. Enjoy!

Back to 1966 ... Again!

Bin Furuya. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight, I attended a special event with Bin Furuya (the original Ultraman suit actor) and Tsuburaya Productions cameraman Masao Nakabori. I attended a similar event about two months ago. As before, the focus was on the making of the original Ultraman (1966-67).

I arrived fashionably late (I'm always on the move, you know), but shortly after I arrived, I was treated to an interesting sight. Nakabori-san pulled out a model VTOL and demonstrated how the staff of Ultraman would manipulate them with piano wire.

Masao Nakabori. Photo by Brett Homenick.

During the demonstration, Furuya-san took the model and held it in his hand, as if he had just rescued it from a monster attack. Naturally, just about everyone in attendance pulled out his or her camera for that scene!

Overall, it was another great evening, although I came home completely drained after all the running around I did today.

Furuya-san rescues a damaged VTOL. Photo by Brett Homenick.

And that's a wrap! See you next time.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

THE HUMAN BULLET! An Evening in the Company of Minori Terada!

Minori Terada. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today, I had the distinct privilege of meeting actor Minori Terada. Terada-san stars in Kihachi Okamoto's The Human Bullet (1968), but he is also known for his supporting parts in such films as Okamoto's Red Lion (1969), Station (1981), Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky (1986), Akio Jissoji's Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis (1988), and Ultra Q: The Movie (1990). On TV, he guest-starred in Ultraman (1966-67) episode 14 as the assistant truck driver.

Terada-san was a lot of fun to talk to. We spoke about Akira Kurosawa movies and Japanese movies in general. Suffice it to say, his acting resume is extremely impressive, so there was no shortage of topics to discuss.