Destroy All Planets 2010

Destroy All Planets 2010
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

MEETING ACTRESS MIWA TAKADA! The Daimajin Star Was Live and in Person!

A framed picture of Miwa Takada during her Daimajin days. Photo by Brett Homenick

On Sunday, August 21, I had the opportunity to take in a screening of Daimajin (1966) with the film's leading lady, Miwa Takada, in attendance. Miwa-san is also the star of the yokai classic 100 Monsters (1968), and public appearances by her are rather rare.

DVD sleeves for Daimajin and 100 Monsters, signed by Miwa Takada. Photo by Brett Homenick.

There was a major difference between this event and pretty much every other one I've attended. Absolutely no photos of Takada-san were allowed to be taken. At the end of her signing session, however, attendees were allowed to pose for photos with her in groups of five (!) while a staff member took the picture on his smartphone. (I'm still awaiting the picture that the staff member took.)

This was most unusual, but given the general difference in attitude between Toho stars and stars from other studios (especially Daiei and Toei), this was not too surprising. (There are exceptions, of course.) Still, it was a great experience to meet Takada-san, and I enjoyed seeing Daimajin in 35mm.

HANGING WITH KAMEN RIDER DELTA! Paying Another Visit to Actor Atsushi Harada!

Tonight, I returned to the bar owned by actor Atsushi Harada. Harada-san is best known for his roles in the TV show GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka (1998), Kyukyu Sentai GoGoFive (1999-2000) as GoGreen, and Kamen Rider 555 (2003-04) as Kamen Rider Delta.

It was great to catch up on things. While there, Harada-san was reading the script for his current acting job. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to check it out. Thanks again for a fun evening, Harada-san!

SHOJI MORI SPEAKS! Meeting the Daiei Studios Actor Again!

On Saturday, August 20, I had another opporunity to attend a talk hosted by actor Shoji Mori. Mori-san has acted in the celebrated Zatoichi series, Daiei's Woman Gambler series, and episodes of the long-running Mito Komon TV series.

Mori-san gave a lively talk and was a lot of fun to talk to. I'm looking forward to attending the next talk.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

THE ALL-STARS ARE BACK! Shinichi Yanagisawa Returns to the Stage!

Shinichi Yanagisawa in concert. Photo by Brett Homenick.

I just returned from another jazz concert in Asakusa with Shinichi Yanagisawa. As always, it was an excellent show with many great renditions of jazz classics. Yanagisawa-san was great playing the drums and singing the tunes.

Monster movie fans may recognize Yanagisawa-san as Miyamoto from Shochiku's The X from Outer Space (1967), which has long been a favorite of mine.

I've been going to Asakusa to see Yanagisawa-san's live performances for almost two years straight, without missing a show. In October, it will have been exactly two years. And, yes, I plan to be there!

HANGING WITH SHIGEO KATO! A Cool Way to Spend a Hot August Day!

Today I went to Kamakura to visit Toho actor Shigeo Kato, whose acting career runs the gamut of decades. He's a great guy who remains spry and in good health into his 90s. I talked about Godzilla Resurgence, which Kato-san still has not seen. I gave him my opinion of it, which naturally isn't a very high one.

After coffee, we usually go for a walk, but given the blistering heat of August, we decided to postpone the walk until next time. I can't wait for it!

Monday, August 15, 2016

THE STAY PUFT MARSHMALLOW MAN STOMPS YOKOHAMA! Bill Bryan Talks Shop in Godzilla's Homeland!

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit builder and actor Bill Bryan recalls his work on the 1984 comedy classic Ghostbusters. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

Living in Japan, I'm afforded many opportunities to meet actors and directors associated with the Japanese film industries. (Makes sense, doesn't it?) Rarely do I get the chance to meet an icon from the American film industry. But, on Sunday, August 14, such an opportunity suddenly arose.

In the wake of the recent remake of Ghostbusters, Japanese fan and promoter Dr. Abbey brought Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit builder/actor Bill Bryan to Japan on a tour of various events and gatherings in the Tokyo area. I attended the event at the JH Cafe in Yokohama, which is home to all kinds of impressive movie memorabilia.

Thanks to Dr. Abbey, I was fortunate enough to sit and discuss a variety of topics with Bill. He shared many interesting bits of trivia from the film. For instance, he built the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man suit from a variety of concept sketches that had already been prepared. As an in-joke, when the Marshmallow Man is first seen walking behind various buildings and billboards, you can see the creature actually wearing a Michelin Man T-shirt. (In all the times I've seen the film, I've never spotted this.) Bill played the Marshmallow Man in all the shots, except for when the suit was on fire.

Bill told numerous other stories, such as the experience he had finally meeting Bill Murray backstage at The Jimmy Kimmel Show. We also gabbed about numerous other movies and actors. Despite his iconic status, he hasn't done that many personal appearances at conventions. He certainly has the personality for it, and I think many fans would be excited to meet him. We'll see what happens in the future.

I had a blast meeting Bill, and so did his Japanese fans. It's not his first time to Japan, as he has done SFX work here in the previous years. He certainly knew a lot more Japanese than most Americans do when they step off the plane.

It was a memorable evening, and it was one I never expected to happen. At least something quite cool came from the misguided remake. As a lifelong Ghostbusters fan, I'll always remember hanging out with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Yokohama.

Many thanks to Dr. Abbey for making this happen. A big thanks to Bill Bryan for being such an awesome guest. Hope to meet you again someday!

WITH THE ULF-MAN! Visiting the Godzilla Seris Actor!

Ulf Otsuki at his favorite Indian restaurant. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Today I paid another visit to the home of actor Ulf Otsuki (Godzilla vs. Megalon, Zone Fighter). Ulf was in the mood to watch the Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life (1946), and I have to admit it was my first time to see the film. I enjoyed it, despite the Christmas season still being a long way off!

After watching the movie, we went out for another delicious Indian supper. It's always cool to see Ulf, and with him around there's never a dull moment!