"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.

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition

Buy The Amazon Kindle Store Ebook Edition
Get the ebook edition here! (Click image.)

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Herald Sun: "Tokyo's Colorful Frozen Tuna Auctions"

Above, the entry to the Tsukiji Fish Market.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the more interesting things I saw while in Tokyo two years ago was the Tsukiji Fish Market (officially, it is the Tsukiji Central Wholesale Market).

The Herald Sun (Australia) has a good article on the fish market (along with a video).

They begin it with:

Tsukiji is the biggest fish market in the world, and it's colourful frozen tuna auctions are fast becoming a pit stop on the Tokyo tourist trail.

The auctions are run in two shifts and registration starts at 5am at Kashidoki Bridge.

Only 120 people are allowed into the auctions each day, and there were already tourists waiting in line when news.com.au arrived at 4:30am.

Once inside, punters examine the catch, poking and prodding the giant tuna before lining up to make their bids.

The nearby restaurants served the freshest sushi I've ever tasted. It has been reported that people have to wait in line at the restaurants to get a seat. I must've really lucked out as I got seated immediately.

Above, fish packed in ice in styrofoam boxes.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

If you are planning a trip to Tokyo, by all means go to the Tsukiji Fish Market. Make sure you do so before next year as, per the article:

The Japanese Government is planning to move the markets to Koto in 2013 so it won’t be long before Tsukiji is shut down.

Above, the day's catch all set for sale.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

To read the full article and see the video, go here.

Something to keep in mind before voting in November...

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy collapses over loose fiscal policy … always followed by a dictatorship."
 —Alexis de Tocqueville

Kyoto International Manga Museum

Above, a view of Kyoto, Japan from Kiyomizu-dera.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

A few days ago, I blogged about visiting Kyoto, Japan to see the historical sites in the city along with landmarks that met a devastating fate by kaiju.

There's another attraction to lure people to Kyoto.

The Japan Times reported:

KYOTO — Kyoto, with its long history and ancient temples, has acquired an additional and contemporary attraction for tourists — a manga museum that has become a mecca for comic-book and animation fans around the world.

After opening in 2006 in Nakagyo Ward, the city's downtown area where both modern office buildings and traditional townhouses can be found, the Kyoto International Manga Museum is attracting 200,000 to 300,000 visitors a year, including some 30,000 from abroad.

What many of these visitors find irresistible is the "wall of manga," a 200-meter-long wall lined with shelves on which some 50,000 manga published between 1970 and 2005 are stacked up.

So, if you are in Kyoto to see the landmarks trashed by Godzilla and Gamera and happen to be a fan of manga, here's another reason to visit Kyoto.

That's one thing we in America don't have, a comic book museum (or do we?).

To read the full article, go here.

Kyoko Okazaki in KATA-NA [SWORD]

Above, Kyoko Okazaki, Armand and Masa Kanome at the press and kick-off party for "Utsutsu" in  November 2010.
My friend, actress Kyoko Okazaki will be appearing in a new play in Santa Monica titled KATA-NA [Sword].

Go here for the trailer.

A Japanese sword action play: the end of Edo period.

 At the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica.

Show Schedule:
Aug. 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 [in English]
Aug. 24, 25, 26 [in Japanese]

● For more info:

●For tickets:

NBC Gets Twitter To Suspend Reporter's Account

It appears that NBC (a.k.a. the National Barack Channel) has a thin skin when it comes to criticism of its coverage of the London Olympic games.

According to The Independent:

The US television broadcaster NBC was at the centre of controversy last night after it persuaded Twitter to suspend an Independent journalist who criticised its coverage of the Olympics.

Guy Adams, this newspaper's Los Angeles correspondent, was removed from the social networking site on the day that he wrote a news story detailing widespread public complaints about the network's coverage of the London Games.

Twitter says that the suspension of Adams's account was due to his posting of an NBC executive's corporate email address. This is a lame reason as the email address is easily obtainable via Google.

To read the full story, go here.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Corn Prices At Record High

Drought conditions may be bad in some areas, but price-wise, it can also be beneficial.

CNN Money reports:

Corn prices surged to a new record high Monday, as the worst drought in more than 50 years continues to plague more than half the country.

Almost 90% of the United States' corn crops are in drought ravaged areas, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and nearly 40% are situated in the hardest hit spots.

Corn prices have soared more than 50% during the past six weeks as the crops continue to shrivel in relentless dry heat throughout the Midwest. They jumped another 3% Monday to a record high of $8.17 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Fortunately, the corn crop on the Nebraska farm is doing great and we have a water well for irrigation. The well was dug in the late 1970s.

To read more, go here.

Japan's Worst Tourist Draws

Above, Hibiya's Godzilla statue.  Is it on the list of "worst" tourist draws?  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

CNN Go has posted an article on what are (in the writer's opinion) the worst tourist draws in Japan.

Some of them I can agree with, while others I would have to disagree with him (C. B. Liddell) on. I enjoyed seeing the Imperial Palace (been there twice) and Tokyo Tower (at least Tokyo Tower has some kaiju history connected with it).

Liddell starts his article with:

It’s no secret that Japan is trying hard to attract tourists. How can it not be, of course, after the industry fell to its knees in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami?

Sure, the country has much to offer, but mixed in with the interesting stuff there’s also plenty of dross that means first-time visitors can easily end up having a very disappointing time.

Especially if they blindly follow the guidebooks ...

These often recommend extremely boring activities simply because all previous guidebooks have done so.

They also routinely misinterpret key Japanese concepts, like “wabi-sabi,” which Western travel-guide writers think denotes an aesthetic of rarified beauty.

By contrast, most Japanese know that it tends to signify the most soporific elements of their culture.

For these reasons, rather than recommending what to enjoy, it may be more useful to point out what to avoid when visiting Japan.

Thank goodness I didn't fall into the "conventional travel guide" trap of blindly regurgitating the tourist draws they repeatedly list.  The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan focuses on the locations/landmarks shown in the movies that Godzilla and "friends" trashed.

Some of the places on the list are worth seeing at least once (especially for first-time visitors).

To see the list, go here.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

August 4 Comic Book Yard Sale Ad On Craigslist

The Saturday, August 4 Comic Book Yard Sale has been posted on Craigslist.

To see the posting, go here.

Comic Book Yard Sale Went Great!

Above, yours truly during today's set-up.

Today's yard sale of comic books went so well (one guy bought $85 worth of books in the first hour) that I decided to have additional sales. Today's sale barely scratched the surface on the number of books available.  I didn't have out all the boxes of comics I have. The four hours of the sale went by fast!

One customer found out about my sale through Tony Isabella's blog.

I will be holding more comic book sales on the following days:

Saturday, August 4 (9:00 AM to 1:00 PM)

Saturday, August 11 (9:00 AM to 1:00 PM)

Additional dates will likely be added. The location will be the same at 18618 Collins Street, Tarzana, California (cross streets: U.S. 101 Freeway and Reseda Blvd.).

I have Silver Age (1960s), Bronze Age (1970s) and Modern Age (1980s - 2000s). Most of the Silver Age/Bronze Age books are priced at $5.00 each and the Modern Age books are priced at 2 for $5.00. Most are bagged and boarded.

Above, with a 1960s Silver Age issue of Batman.

I have mostly DCs, but I also have Marvel, Valiant, Image and Dark Horse comics.  I also will have copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan available.

C'mon down!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Travel To Kyoto, Japan

Above, a view of Kyoto, Japan from a bullet train's window.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the highlights of my trip to Japan in 2004 was a visit to Kyoto, Japan.

Bay of Plenty Times, a New Zealand website, has an interesting article posted about Japan's former capital city.

It begins with:

Gardens, temples, shrines, palaces, a geisha quarter - Kyoto is one of Japan's treasure chests of culture and, fortunately for visitors, is easy to get around and relatively compact.

Tokyo, the city that took the status of capital away from Kyoto, is a sprawling mass of 35 million residents. Kyoto, capital from the 8th century until 1868, has a population of only 1.5 million and is a more manageable size.

The bulk of the city's temples and shrines are in the surrounding hills but all are easy to access by taxi or public transport.

Above, Kinkaku-ji "Golden Pavilion."  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

One of the places I wanted to see in Kyoto was the Kinkaku-ji "Golden Pavilion." I was not disappointed when I got there.

Besides the historical sites to see, Kyoto is also a place for kaiju enthusiasts to visit. Godzilla menaced Kiyomizu-dera in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II (1993) and blasted Kyoto Tower in the same movie. And, Gamera had his final battle against Irys inside Kyoto Station in Gamera 3 (1999). These are covered in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To view the full article, go here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Comic Book Garage/ Yard Sales

The idea for a yard/garage sale of comic books came from comics writer Tony Isabella.

Along with my yard sale this Saturday in Tarzana, California, Tony is also having a garage sale (I don't have a garage) this weekend in Medina, Ohio. For information on his sale, go here.

My comics yard sale starts at 9:00 in the morning (it ends at 1:00 PM). I am pricing them to go. It is best to arrive early as I have also notified local comic shops. They may send buyers early and might grab quite a number of them.

I have Silver Age (1960s) and Bronze Age (1970s) DCs.  I have a few Modern Age books (1990s).

Also, lest I forget, I will have copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan available for $12.00 each. That's $3.00 off the cover price!

For information on the yard sale, go here.

The Daily Yomiuri: Setting The Stage

Above, Yokohama harbor, featured in two Godzilla movies.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

An interesting article caught my attention, especially so since I have long been advocating similar things for kaiju fans.

The Daily Yomiuri posted:

OSAKA--Some local towns are turning to a new attraction as they seek to energize their communities and bring in visitors--anime and manga.

Towns across Japan are holding unique anime events and offering tours to locations that provided the settings--"sacred sites" to diehard fans--for popular manga in the hope that they can entice more tourists and give their local economy a shot in the arm.

One prime example is "ufotable CINEMA," which opened in Tokushima in March as a theater for anime fans. The cinema is operated by Tokyo-based anime production firm, ufotable Inc.

The Japanese tourism industry should organize "kaiju events" based on science-fiction and fantasy movies of the past 58 years similar to the ones described for manga and anime fans. They can be staged in localities that were featured in the films.

Fans can still organize their own tours by using The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To read the full article, go here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Monster Japan Travel Guide Ad In Craigslist

Above, Ai with "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan."  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After a hiatus of several months (mostly because I keep forgetting to renew the ad), my Craigslist ad for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is now back up.

To view it, go here.

Silver Age Comic Book Yard Sale Saturday, July 28

Silver Age Comic Book Yard Sale
Saturday, July 28, 2012

Location: 18618 Collins Street, Tarzana, CA (cross streets: Reseda Blvd. and U.S. 101 Freeway).

9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Silver Age DC's including Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others.

Thanks to the "Garage Sale Guru" Tony Isabella for the idea!

See ad in Craigslist.

Monday, July 23, 2012

BloggerNews.net Picks Up Monster Japan Travel Guide News

Above, Yuu Asakura with "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan."  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My blog post on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Margaret Herrick Library was picked up by BloggerNews.net.

They cover technology, entertainment, sports, humor, business, lifestyle and what's hot.

To read their post, go here.

Nagasaki Peace Park

Above, the Nagasaki Peace Statue.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Next month marks 67 years since the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

Although Nagasaki has not been featured in a kaiju movie, its influence of the Godzilla series is undeniable. The nuclear metaphor of Godzilla originated from the a-bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. It is because of the influences of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Godzilla, they both are featured in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

In April 2007, I was touring around the island of Kyushu on vacation.  First, I went to Mt. Aso Volcano National Park (featured in Rodan in 1956), from there to Nagasaki, then to Sasebo City (also featured in Rodan), and then on to Fukuoka (featured in Rodan, Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla in 1994 and Gamera, Guardian of the Universe in 1995).

Above, a Nagasaki streetcar pulls into a station.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I found Nagasaki to be a nice little city.  It has a beautiful harbor, clean and wide streets and, reminding me of pre-1963 Los Angeles, streetcars.  There's plenty of things to see and do, but this article will focus on Nagasaki's Peace Park and Hypocenter Park.

The Peace Park is a big area with monuments honoring those killed in the a-bomb attack of August 9, 1945.  It also houses a museum of artifacts from the bombing.  It is not quite as big or extensive as the Peace Museum in Hiroshima, but it has plenty of exhibits.

The grounds of Peace Park was occupied by a prison in 1945.  When the atomic bomb detonated, it wiped out the prison and the surrounding area.  All that remains of the prison are the foundations of the buildings (photo above), which visitors can see as they walk through the park.  The park also features the "Fountain of Peace."

Above, the Fountain of Peace.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The tall Peace statue symbolizes the atomic bomb (pointing up to the sky) with its right hand and peace with its left hand.

Nearby, is Hypocenter Park where, at 11:02 a.m., on August 9th, 1945, the U.S. B-29 Superfortress Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb.  The bomb exploded at a height of roughly 500 meters.  The spot where the bomb exploded is marked with a black monument (photos above and below).  A portion of the Urakami Catholic Cathedral was moved to the park.

The Hypocenter Park is part of the Nagasaki Peace Park, but many consider it a separate park.

I recommend a visit to Nagasaki's Peace Park to anyone interested in Japanese or World War II history.

For more on the Nagasaki Peace Park, go here.  For information of other things to see and do in Nagasaki, go here.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Foreign Visitors To Japan In June Top 2010's Numbers

News On Japan has some great news on June's tourist numbers:

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in June totaled 686,600, up 1.4 percent from June 2010 and surpassing for the first time the level for the same month from before the Great East Japan Earthquake in March last year, according to the latest statistics.

This shows that Japan's tourism industry is on the right track to a full recovery.  It is remarkable that June's tourist numbers even exceeded June 2010's numbers.

To read the full article, go here

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New Computer and Eclipse Pictures

My 6-year-old Acer laptop seems to be crapping out. Rather than put more money into it (I can do it later, as it still works, uh, somewhat) now, I decided to just buy a new one. Six years seems to have flown by rather quickly!

Luckily, I have a Radio Shack business account and was able to get a good deal on a Toshiba laptop. I am really enjoying it. It cost about half of what the Acer did but has a lot more bells and whistles.


Remember that eclipse we had a month or so ago? Thanks to the new computer, I was able to download some photos I took during it. I couldn't transfer photos from my camera for some reason with the Acer anymore (another reason to get a new computer) that I need to do for my claims adjusting work.

Anyway, here's a couple of photos taken during the eclipse.  The sunlight was projected through gaps in the tree foliage from across the street onto nearby walls.  As you can see, the images of the near-total eclipse can be seen on the walls.


In other matters, I've had to contend with a cyberstalker for the past several years.  Finally, I've gotten tired of it and have reported the matter to law enforcement.

Friday, July 20, 2012

14 Killed, 50 Injured In Theater Shooting

Fox News is reporting that a gunman opened fire at an Aurora Colorado theater tonight:

At least 14 people have been killed and up to 50 injured after a mass shooting at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a suburban Denver movie theater, police

The violent and chaotic scene erupted about 12:30 a.m. MDT as a gunman stood at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters at the Aurora Mall where the  movie "The was playing, police said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/07/20/several-reportedly-dead-injured-after-shooting-at-colorado-movie-theater/#ixzz219rLG1ZW

News From CD Japan

4 movie discount offers are newly added! Eligible items includes Takeshi Kitano's works, movies with English subtitles, and more. Don't miss this opportunity! (by haru)
Movie News
Sunset on Third Street '64 (English Sub.) out on July 20!

"ALWAYS Sanchome no Yuhi '64 (Sunset on Third Street '64)," which is the third film from "Sunset on Third Street" series directed by Takashi Yamazaki, comes out on DVD and Blu-ray . Its first film was the 2006 Japanese Academy Award-winning film depicting the everyday lives of town people at the height of Japan's post-war reconstruction period. The film f eatures English subtitles and comes with an original folding fan!

Featured Items
http://mag.cdjapan.co.jp/?4_818713_458_8 Making-of DVD release of the mystery film "Ougon wo Daite Tobe (Fly With The Gold)" starring Satoshi Tsumabuki. Also appears Tadanobu Asano, Junpei Mizobata, Changmin (Dong Bang Shin Ki), Toshiyuki Nishida, and more...
DVD | Release:2012/10/02 | Price:2500yen (US$ 31.34)

http://mag.cdjapan.co.jp/?4_818713_458_10 Second live action film "Nana to Kaoru" comes out on DVD. It is based on the hit comic of the same name about SM and youthful pure love written by Ryuta Amazume...
DVD | Release:2012/09/28 | Price:3800yen (US$ 47.64)

http://mag.cdjapan.co.jp/?4_818713_458_12 First DVD release from sci-fi/live action series "Battle Fever J" includes episodes 1 through 11. A mysterious organization has left a trail of strange crimes and the only one that can stop them are the Battle Fever team! Using their battle suits, this team of five young men and women can put a stop to the crimes!
DVD | Release:2012/09/21 | Price:9800yen (US$ 122.87)

Preorder Items

New Releases
http://mag.cdjapan.co.jp/?4_818713_458_49 Blu-ray set of three films from "ALWAYS Sanchome no Yuhi (Sunset on Third Street)" series.
Blu-ray | Release:2012/07/20 | Price:14400yen (US$ 180.54)
2012/07/25 | 3000yen (US$ 37.61)
http://mag.cdjapan.co.jp/?4_818713_458_53 http://mag.cdjapan.co.jp/?4_818713_458_55
2012/07/21 | 9800yen (US$ 122.87)
2012/07/25 | 15000yen (US$ 188.06)
2012/07/20 | 3800yen (US$ 47.64)
2012/07/21 | 3800yen (US$ 47.64)
2012/07/21 | 3800yen (US$ 47.64)
2012/07/21 | 3800yen (US$ 47.64)
2012/07/20 | 4700yen (US$ 58.93)
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2012/07/20 | 2800yen (US$ 35.11)

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