Monday, October 28, 2019

A Godzilla/Gamera Tour of Tokyo!

Jacob at the Godzilla statue in Toho Cinemas in Hibiya. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

My friend Jacob is currently visiting Japan, and on Sunday, I had a great time showing him around some familiar locations, such as Toho Studios, Kadokawa Daiei Studios, Godzilla and Ultraman statues, and beyond. A few highlights are below, but they don't really do justice to the fun we had just hanging out and gabbing about monster movies. Anyway, on to the photos.

Halloween Comes to the Godzilla Store!

Now that's one scary witch! Photo by Brett Homenick 

Halloween is right around the corner, and even the Toho kaiju are getting in on the act. On Sunday, I stopped by the Godzilla Store in Shinjuku and saw some familiar faces all dressed up for the big day. Take a look for yourself.

No, that's not a Toho monster above; that's the real Batman, who couldn't believe what he was seeing, either. He later told me he hadn't smiled so much since he met Arthur Fleck in his backyard as a kid.

Japanese Actress Kaoru Yachigusa Passes Away at 88

Actress Kaoru Yachigusa died of pancreatic cancer on October 24 at 7:45 a.m. She was 88. Ms. Yachigusa began her acting career in 1947 and remained in demand as a performer the rest of her life. She married Toho director Senkichi (The Killing Bottle) Taniguchi in 1957, and the couple remained married until his death in 2007.

Ms. Yachigusa is best known among genre fans for her leading role in The Human Vapor (1960), as the object of Yoshio Tsuchiya’s affection, the ethereal dancer Fujichiyo. She would return to the science fiction genre in the late 1970s under the direction of Kihachi Okamoto in Toho’s Blue Christmas (1978) as the wife of Eiji Okada’s scientist character. This, of course, only scratches the surface of her celebrated acting career.

Rest in peace, Ms. Yachigusa.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Hiroshi Sagae Passes Away at 52

Hiroshi Sagae at Super Festival in January 2016 with one of his creations. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Noted figure sculptor and miniature maker Hiroshi Sagae passed away at 7:15 a.m. on October 26 after a long battle with colon cancer, his widow Yumiko announced on social media. He was 52.

Hiroshi Sagae with his Gotouchi Kaiju collaborator Sojiro Uchino in September 2014. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I had the privilege of meeting Sagae-san at several events and gatherings in Tokyo, beginning in 2011. He was always a joy to be around, and I'll always appreciate his introducing me to his friend and former child actor Sojiro Uchino in 2014. 

Rest in peace, Sagae-san.

Friday, October 25, 2019

"Happy" Days Are Here Again!

Yasuhiko Saijo. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Earlier tonight, I attended a special event with actor Yasuhiko Saijo, who is best known for playing Ippei Togawa (a.k.a "Happy") in Tsuburaya Productions' Ultra Q (1966). Saijo-san got his start as a Toho actor, appearing in such tokusatsu classics as The Secret of the Telegian (1960), Gorath (1962), Son of Godzilla (1967), and Destroy All Monsters (1968).

Yasuhiko Saijo in a replica Ippei jacket and cap. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I had a very fun chat with Saijo-san. When I mentioned the "We Are Space Pilots" song from Gorath (which Saijo-san has sung at recent events in Tokyo), he almost doubled over in laughter. The conversation covered a variety of topics, including Toho directors and his Ultra Q memories.

A fun time was had by all. I've met Saijo-san several times before, and this time was certainly among the most fun. Even though I was completely exhausted after work, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Let's do it again soon!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Ghostbusters in the Park!

Ghostbusters in the Park. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Here's something I discovered quite by accident. Ginza Sony Park is hosting a special exhibition related to the Ghostbusters franchise that runs until December 8. The most interesting display was that of a few screen-used props from the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot (the photos of which are below). The power of Patty compels you to look at them.

Dude, it's Holtzmann's glasses! Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Watch Out for Godzilla at Wako!

As part of the King of the Monsters' 65th anniversary (as well as the 20th anniversary of the creation of its Spring Drive technology), Grand Seiko has recently announced its Godzilla 65th anniversary limited-edition watch. It's certainly a nice-looking watch, but at a reported 1.3 million yen, I'll have to take a pass. The watch is set for release on November 9 in Japan.

What's really cool, however, is this promotional Godzilla head in the storefront of Wako. Best of all, it's totally free to see. Take a look.

Lupin III's Crime Against Godzilla!

Uh-oh! Lupin III is up to his old tricks again! Photo by Brett Homenick.

While in Hibiya last night, I spotted an amusing promotional tie-in for the upcoming Lupin III: The First movie (co-directed by Takashi Yamazaki) that will hit theaters in Japan on December 6. It seems no one is safe from the master thief -- not even Godzilla!

Out and About in Hibiya and Ginza

Last night, I was out and about in Hibiya and Ginza, and while I was there, I took some shots of sights that ought to be familiar to readers of this blog. It's all pretty self-explanatory by this point, so I'll let the photos do the talking. Enjoy!