"There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit." - President Ronald Reagan.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Japan Info: 3 Places to Find Samurai Ghosts In and Around Tokyo

Above, the statue of samurai Kusunoki Masashige near the Imperial Palace. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan Info posted an interesting article with a list of 3 places to "find" samurai ghosts in and around Tokyo.

They begin it with:
Planning to visit Tokyo? Wondering how you can make your visit truly memorable and unique? Why, by searching for samurai ghosts, of course. As it happens, stories about the lost souls of samurai have been a staple of traditional Kabuki and Noh theatre, for centuries, and are still popular in modern Japanese films, such as “Samurai Reincarnation” and “Izo.” So, the warrior ghost is a Japanese tradition and, with the help of this article, you’ll be able to find the best of samurai ghosts, in and around Tokyo.

To read more, go here

A Supreme Court Hero Has Died

A national tragedy happened today.

I received an email from American Action News:
Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of apparent natural causes Saturday on a luxury resort in West Texas, federal officials said.  
Scalia, 79, was a guest at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa.  
According to a report, Scalia arrived at the ranch on Friday and attended a private party with about 40 people. When he did not appear for breakfast, a person associated with the ranch went to his room and found a body. 
Scalia had been a dependable voice on the U. S. Supreme Court for protecting the Constitution and out civil liberties. His loss is indeed a national tragedy.

His passing now presents a problem. President Obama will nominate a radical left-wing jurist for confirmation by the U.S. Senate. If the Democrats in the Senate are joined by R.I.N.O.s, we  may end up with a justice who can and will vote in support for Obama's leftist agenda.

We need to block any confirmation votes until a new and (hopefully) conservative jurist is confirmed by the next president.

To read more, go here.

Friday, February 12, 2016

50 Years Ago

It was fifty years ago today that my grandfather, Merle Charleston, suddenly passed away. I was twelve at the time and I remember that early morning call from Viewpark Community Hospital in Baldwin Hills to notify my parents of his passing. We didn't know he was even hospitalized.

I had experienced other family deaths before, but up until then, none hit me as hard as this. My parents were also shocked over his passing.

My grandfather was a Seabee during World War II and stationed up in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. He was an avid camping, boating and fishing enthusiast. He also was a photographer and had set up his own darkroom to develop photographs.

Above, boating in Morro Bay in June 1963. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My last happy memory of him was only weeks before when he came over for dinner. During which, the new Batman television show came on and I remember his laughter when the cartoon Batman and Robin ran towards the camera during the show's opening. He liked the George Reeves Adventures of Superman show, but the campy nature of Batman took him by surprise.

He is buried on a slope at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. It is fitting that his final resting place overlooks the ocean that he enjoyed boating and fishing in.

Visit The Best In Japan In 7 Days

Above, Osaka Castle. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For those of you who plan to visit Japan but have only seven days available to you, AsiaOne Travel has an article on what you can see and do in those seven days.

They begin their article with:
This article first appeared in Skyscanner's Visit the best of Japan in 7 days
The land that is now known as Japan was first formed more than 40,000 years ago from volcanic action. The archipelago is made up of over 6000 islands, four of which - Kyushu, Shikoku, Hokkaido, and Honshu - make up the majority of Japan's land mass. Its long and varied history will fascinate both first-time visitors and seasoned travellers, and there is nothing like visiting and experiencing it all for yourself. 
Not sure where to start? We at Skyscanner have put together a guide for the best things to see in Japan if you only have 7 days for a great vacation. We've also covered the best times to visit, what to buy, and visa information.
To read more, go here

Titanic II Almost Ready To Set Sail

Above, the orignal RMS Titanic.

For those of you who are cruise fans and would love to have sailed aboard the RMS Titanic (minus the meeting with a huge iceberg) back in 1912, you're in luck.

According to Travel + Leisure, a replica RMS Titanic will set sail in 2018.

They wrote:
Gather round, cruise fans: 106 years after the original vessel sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, a new version of the RMS Titanic is set to launch in 2018. 
Australian billionaire Clive Palmer—who has apparently never seen the movie—came up with the idea for the Titanic II, along with his shipping company, Blue Star Line. Palmer announced the project in 2012 in hopes of launching in time for the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s fateful voyage, but the sail date was pushed back due to a series of delays. 
The boat promises to be fully functioning replica, looking virtually identical to the 1912 counterpart—save for the fact that it promises to stock enough lifeboats for all its passengers, along with modern marine evacuation systems. 
To read more, go here

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Retired Japanese Boomers Causing Camper Van Sales To Soar

Above, a Japanese camper van in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

For the past couple of years or so, the RV industry has been booming in the United States. Baby Boomers, who are now reaching retirement age have been buying recreational vehicles in droves.

This is also apparently the case in Japan as well. Baby Boomers in that country have been buying up camper vans to travel around the country.

Last October, we were in the Asakusa section of Tokyo and I spotted a Japanese RV (or camper van) parked on the street. I took a few photos of it.

Above, another view of the Japanese camper van in Asakusa. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The Japan News (Yomiuri Shimbun) has a new article on how the camper van industry has been soaring in Japan.

They begin with:
Camper vans people can sleep in are becoming more popular in Japan, with industry organizations saying ownership of camper vans has doubled in the last 10 years. Another boom has arrived that has not been seen since the days of the bubble economy, with sales also increasing. 
Most camper van buyers are retired seniors, drawn by the freedom to travel throughout the country on a whim, unrestricted by time or place.
To read more, go here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tokyo Cheapo: Fastest and Cheapest Ways To Hiroshima From Tokyo

Above, the Atomic Bomb Dome. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Have you ever wanted to visit Hiroshima? But you have limited funds and it can be a big expense getting there from Tokyo.

Fortunately, Tokyo Cheapo took a look at all transportation options on getting to Hiroshima from Tokyo and has posted an article with them.

They begin with:
When your friend asks you to go to Hiroshima, at first you’re like “dude, I don’t wanna get radiation,” but after stepping up your knowledge of nuclear physics and realizing that there are actually people living there so it can’t be that bad, you start considering how much there is to do and see. Hiroshima, capital of the Hiroshima prefecture (pretty obvious, huh), and its surroundings have a lot to offer: the Shukkeien garden, the Hiroshima Castle, the Peace Park, Miyajima’s famous floating torii and Okunoshima (‘Bunny Island’) are just some of the must-visits in Japan’s far west. Here’s the problem for Cheapos, though: it’s far, and far means expensive. But that won’t kill our travel buzz, so let’s look at our Tokyo to Hiroshima options.
To read more, go here

Yokohama: Minato Mirai, The Port of the Future

Above, the Yokohama waterfront. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan Today continues their look at the port of Yokohama and the attractions that can be enjoyed there. A link to their first part can be found here.

They begin their article with:
YOKOHAMA —This article continues the exploration of Yokohama’s port area begun last month here
YES ‘89 (Yokohama Exotic Showcase), was an international exposition held in 1989, to commemorate the centenary of Yokohama’s opening as an international port city. The exposition was held on landfill around the site of former Mitsubishi shipyards at the top end of Yokohama harbor. The city had big plans for the site even after the exposition, including concert venues, exhibition halls, residential towers, wide tree-lined streets, multi-purpose office and shopping complexes, museums and amusement facilities.  
Today, nearly 20 years later, most of these plans have come to fruition and the development continues. The site is called Minato Mirai 21, the 21st century port of the future and it’s a great place to spend a family day out.
As mentioned in my January 30 blog post, the area was used as the battleground between Godzilla, Mothra and Battra in Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) and in Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack (2001).

Yokohama is covered in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan on pages 19-20.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

New Hampshire Primary: The Drudge Report Headline Says It All!

The headline posted tonight on The Drudge Report says it all on the Democratic and Republican New Hampshire Primary results:

A Birthday Gift

Recently, I had been looking for a backgammon set for The Beast.

I had mentioned it to my former roomie Jes and, lo and behold, she and her dad surprised me with a new backgammon set for my birthday! It was rather timely as I was planning to go out this weekend to find a set.

It had been years since I last played, and much of it I had forgotten. I am looking forward to playing it again during future camping trips.

Early-Stage Stomach Cancer Sidelines Actor Ken Watanabe

Above, Ken Watanabe.

Kyodo News reported that Godzilla (2014) actor Ken Watanabe has early-stage stomach cancer.

They wrote:
TOKYO, Feb. 9 - (Kyodo)Japanese actor Ken Watanabe was diagnosed with an early-stage stomach cancer, his agent said Tuesday, adding the actor, who starred in a Broadway musical in 2015, has already undergone endoscopic surgery to remove it.
Best wishes for a full recovery to Mr. Watanabe.

To read more, go here.

Dollar Briefly Falls Below ¥114.50 In Tokyo

Yikes! The dollar has slipped from Monday's ¥117.31 Tokyo price.

Jiji Press reported:
Tokyo, Feb. 9 (Jiji Press)--The dollar briefly dived below 114.50 yen for the first time in about 15 months in Tokyo Tuesday, dragged down by a plunge in stock prices at home and abroad amid intensified risk aversion.
Fortunately, it bounced back up to ¥115.29-30 at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

To read more, go here.

ANA and JAL Dropping Fuel Surcharges In April

Above, an All Nippon Airways jet at Narita International Airport. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

There's some good news for international travelers who fly on All Nippon Airways or Japan Airlines.

According to the Asahi Shimbun:
All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. will scrap fuel surcharges for their international flights from April to reflect the plummeting cost of jet fuel. 
The last time the two airlines removed surcharges was in September 2009. 
Travel agencies welcome the move as the number of Japanese traveling overseas has been shrinking.
To read more, go here.


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Monday, February 8, 2016

Tokyo Disney Amusement Park Admission Prices To Be Raised

Above, Tokyo DisneySea. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

It has been said there are two certainties in life: death and taxes.

You may as well add a third: higher amusement park admission prices.

For those who want to visit Tokyo Disneyland or Tokyo DisneySea, prices for the parks will be raised starting April 1.

Kyodo News reported:
The operator of the Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea amusement parks said Monday that ticket prices will be raised from April 1. 
Oriental Land Co. said the price of a one-day adult admission ticket for both parks, located in Urayasu in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, will be raised by 500 yen to 7,400 yen ($63). 
One-day ticket prices will also be raised for those aged 4 to 11 by 300 yen to 4,800 yen, as well as for junior and senior high school students by 400 yen to 6,400 yen.
We visited Tokyo DisneySea last October.

To read more, go here

Frankenstein's Bicentennial

Above, Boris Karloff in The Bride of Frankenstein. Universal Picttures.

Noted dino expert, director, producer, writer and Godzilla fan Donald F. Glut posted something interesting:

This year is the bicentennial of Mary W. Shelley (then Godwin) writing her classic novel FRANKENSTEIN; OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. No surprise, there have been, are and will be a number of Frankenstein-related movie projects in the works. This includes my own in-progress TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN, an anthology based upon five short stories included in my book of the same title (included in the upcoming THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FRANKENSTEIN COLLECTION, VOLUME TWO, from Bill Cunningham’s Pulp 2.0 Press). The movie, a "traditional" Frankenstein film written, directed and executive-produced by me, is being made via my new company Pecosborn Productions, LLC. We have already filmed the first story, “My Creation, My Beloved,” plus a framing “wrap-around” (featuring the original Monster) that links all five stories together (photos). 
As I am financing Pecosborn’s movies myself (no longer looking for investors, while crowd-funding has never worked for me satisfactorily), the TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN film is, understandably, going rather slowly. I’d like to speed things up and get the entire movie “in the can” this year to capitalize on the novel-writing’s 200th anniversary. And so, I’ve devised a plan to raise additional capital – without investors or crowd-funding – but involving getting a CO-PRODUCER credit in a motion picture (important for some peoples’ résumés) or, if you bring someone to the table who becomes a co-producer, a standard FINDER’S FEE, personal-message me for more information. But please, ONLY if you are seriously interested. 
Thank you.

Nakano Broadway Turns 50 This Year

Above, the entrance to Nakano Broadway. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A special place in Tokyo marks 50 years this year.

It is the mecca for otaku shopping: Nakano Broadway.

The Japan Times reported:
Nakano Broadway turns 50 this year. The shopping complex in Tokyo’s busy Nakano district remains popular with enthusiasts of pop culture, boasting dozens of manga, anime and collectors’ shops. 
The scruffy but vibrant building, housing some 300 shops and restaurants across its five floors, sits at the end of the Nakano Sun Mall shopping street, which is adjacent the north exit of JR Nakano Station. 
Since the opening of Mandarake Inc. stores at the center in 1980, Nakano Broadway has evolved into a center for enthusiasts of pop subculture, offering everything from cosplay items and old movie posters to figurines, plastic models, toys and used books. There is, of course, a good dosing also of manga publications and anime goods.
Along with the various Mandarake stores, Nakano Broadway has other, but smaller, stores who cater to your "inner fanboy" (or "inner fangirl") such as Robot Robot.

It is a must-visit place in Tokyo.

To read more, go here.

For an "ultra-short" history of Nakano Broadway, go here.

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