"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.)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

S.W.A.T. Is At The Next Street Over

It's been an interesting morning here in Tarzana.

The next street over from me, the police S.W.A.T. team has a barricated man situation. It started last night when police were called over a fight between a woman and her boyfriend.

A woman was found shot and the suspect barricaded himself and fired on the police. The streets near my block have been blocked by the L.A.P.D. and I hear the constant noise from the police helicopter.

For more, go here.

Tokyo Sky Tree Under Construction

Above, an artist's conception of what the finished Tokyo Sky Tree Tower will look like.

by Armand Vaquer

A new tourist attraction is rising up in Tokyo, Japan.

The new Tokyo tower, dubbed recently as the Tokyo Sky Tree, is currently under construction in the Sumida Ward of Tokyo (below).

The new tower was made necessary due to the needs of digital broadcasting. The current Tokyo Tower just is too short to be sufficient for digital broadcasting.

The Sky Tree will be double the size of Tokyo Tower. Below, is a comparison of the sizes of the Sky Tree and Tokyo Tower. The Sky Tree will stand at 610 meters (2,013 feet) (some sources say 634 meters).

Over the past 49 years, starting with Mothra (1961), Tokyo Tower has been a favorite battleground for Japanese giant monsters. King Kong battled his mechanical counterpart atop it in King Kong Escapes, Gamera blasted it in Gamera, Guardian of the Universe (Gyaos built a nest on the Tower's ruins in the same movie) and Godzilla blasted it in Godzilla x Mothra x Mechagodzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.

The Tokyo Sky Tree Tower is due to be completed in 2012, just in time for the expected return of Godzilla in 2014 (Toho put Godzilla on a ten-year hiatus in 2004 due to slumping boxoffice receipts). We can probably expect Toho Co., Ltd. to make good use of the new tower in their next new Godzilla epic.

I visited Tokyo Tower in 2004 and the views from its observation deck were spectacular. I can just imagine the views from this even taller tower!

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has a feature article on the current Tokyo Tower.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Earthquakes: 2012 Starting Already?

First, we have the 6.9 (or 7.0) earthquake near Okinawa, Japan. Now we have (can you believe it?) an 8.8 shaker, with tsunamis threatening Hawaii and California coastlines, originating from Chile.

Seven-pointers are rare, but they do happen. But an eight-point-eight is unheard of! Estimates of the death toll in Chile are around 300.

Could 2012 be happening earlier than we thought?

You Can't Win Them All

Today was a rainy day in Los Angeles, so I spent much of it promoting online The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

I also was checking around for upcoming vacation and travel shows to possibly get a booth or table to sell The Guide. Unfortunately, most travel shows are held in the autumn months. There's slim pickings after that. We're now in the "slim pickings" season.

I found one in the not-so-distant future (and not too far, either) that looked promising. I completed their website's query form on getting a booth at the show and submitted it.

There must've been a reason the organizers didn't provide the booth prices on their website, I thought. Soon, I received a nice email response from the organizer and it contained a PDF file attachment.

After downloading the attachment, I looked through it and, lo and behold, the price for the smallest booth at the show was over $1,600 for the weekend! Ouch!

It would be nice if I could afford $1,600, but I'd have to sell over 100 books just to make up the booth expense. They claim they get over 30,000 attendees to their show. With an attendance like that, it may be conceivable that I could possibly sell over 100 books there. But with $1,600 to pay right out of the gate, it is not something I can afford to risk. And, that doesn't even count getting a room in the city where it's being held and the gasoline to get there. Oh, well.

Looks like I'll have to keep on looking.

To order The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan, go here.

Dealers! Make "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" A Big Seller For Your Store!

Dealers! If you want The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan a big-seller for your store, I am available for in-person book signings.

All I require is just the cost of lodging and transportation (airfare, etc.). I would be available for an entire weekend. If you wish, I can put on seminars on Japan travel.

Just order a batch of The Guide (make sure it's enough to more than make up for expenses) and we can arrange the dates.

Dealers/retailers, go to ComiXpress.com and set up a retailer account. It's fast and easy!

Just contact me via my profile on this blog.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Japan Earthquake: 7.0

The U.S. Geological Survey is reporting a major earthquake in Japan:

2010 February 26 20:31:27 UTC

The BBC News reports:

A tsunami alert has been issued in Japan after a powerful earthquake struck near the Okinawan coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency gave the strength as 6.9 while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.3.

It struck at 0531 (2031 GMT), 84km (52 miles) east of Naha, on the island of Okinawa, 29km (18 miles) below the seabed, Reuters news agency reports.

Gran Torino (2008)

From Yahoo! Movies:

Walt Kowalski is a widower, grumpy, tough-minded, borderline-hateful, unhappy old man who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1973 Gran Torino he keeps in cherry condition. When his neighbor Tao, a young Hmong teenager, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Drawn against his will into the life of Tao's family, Kowalski is soon taking steps to protect them form the gangs that foul their neighborhood.

There's very few actors I'd bother to walk across the street to see nowadays, and Clint Eastwood is one of them. I met him in 1980 at Ronald Reagan's presidential victory party and had him sign my ticket (gonna have to get that framed one of these days).

Gran Torino (2008) is supposedly Clint Eastwood's swan song as an actor. At least, that's what he says. But if a script should come along to spark his acting bug, he'd probably jump back in again. At 78, he manages to carry off with credibility being an "action star" despite his age.

I first saw this movie about a year ago and I was in a mood to watch it again last night. So, I shuffled off to the local CD/DVD store and picked it up (along with the DVD, Jimi Plays Berkeley).

After a year in-beteen viewings, I found myself enjoying Gran Torino all over again. I found it interesting to see the ex-DC Comics publisher Jenette Kahn's name listed as an executive producer during the end credits.

This movie was a bit of a family affair as two of Eastwood's sons were also involved. Eastwood, besides acting in the lead role, also directed.

There's a couple of nice featurettes on the American car culture. The Ford Gran Torino used in the move was a 1972 model. My family once had a 1975 Gran Torino (fire engine red with a black vinyl roof). That was a great car to drive and I was disappointed when my dad traded it in for a new 1980 Mercury Bobcat station wagon.

If you haven't seen Gran Torino, I highly recommend it. My grade: A.

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Carley, Bee Vang, Ahney Her, Geraldine Hughes, Dreama Walker, Brian Howe, John Carroll Lynch, Scott Reeves

Director: Clint Eastwood

UPDATE (2/27//10): My daughter Amber (age 23) said this about Gran Torino and Clint Eastwood:

I really liked Gran Torino. Clint Eastwood may be ancient, but he's still awesome.

Things Picking Up?

Things may be picking up. I've already had two new claim assignments this past week. Things have been virtually dead since about October.

Maybe insurers feel more confident now to start having independent adjusters do the legwork in investigating their claims. We'll see.

I'm not complaining, not by a stretch. The more work the better for me financially!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrew Koenig May Be Dead

Fox News is reporting that actor Andrew Koenig may be dead:

A body was discovered in Stanley Park by police in Vancouver, believed to be that of missing “Growing Pains” star Andrew Koenig who hasn't been seen since Feb. 14.

A news conference is scheduled to be held in minutes from now with Koenig's parents in attendance.

UPDATE: The body found was Andrew Koenig's. According to his father, actor Walter Koenig, he took his own life.

Getting Things Done

Yesterday, February 24 marked the 40th day since my mom's passing. How is that significant, you may ask? Well, in California, if a person doesn't name a beneficiary in their bank accounts, they are put on a 40-day hold. For some reason, my mom didn't name a beneficiary.

At 40 days, the executor or beneficiary (via the will) can to come in with a copy of the death certificate and file a notarized affidavit stating that the estate is under $100,000. Some banks may require a copy of the will, this one didn't.

It took a little time to get the paperwork processed and the bank management to approve everything, but it went smoother than I expected. In opening a new account, I made sure my daughter was named beneficiary. Besides her name and date of birth, they needed her social security number. I tried calling her but she was probably in class. Fortunately, she is on file with the bank for a student loan and they obtained the social security number from that. A lucky break!

I was able to draw out enough to pay off several of my mom's bills, including her credit cards, phone, newspaper and cable (it turns out I overpaid by $120, but they'll refund it). I think the only outstanding bill is probably the electric bill.

That out of the way, I did receive in the mail yesterday a breakdown of the Tarzana Medical Center hospital charges from Blue Shield and they exceeded $140,000. But, the notice indicated that at the time of the charges, my mom wasn't a member of Blue Shield. Huh?

Alarmed, I called them and they said not to worry, everything's been paid (Whew!) and I will expect to be billed or the co-pays for the hospitalization ($50/day) and paramedics ($100). That was a big relief!

Now, all I have to do is concentrate on getting the taxes done. I am concerned that I may not have all the documents to do a complete tax return for my mom. I guess if something turns up, I can always file an amended return. From the beginning, when we cleaned out her apartment, I kept all the important papers in one place.

I'll sure be glad when all this business stuff is settled and this emotional roller-coaster ends.

I am still having a hassle in getting my mom's rent deposit returned. But we're making progress there. The building management is worried that if they pay it, some bozo would come out of the woodwork making a claim. They are acting as if this involves thousands of dollars.

Today, I have to obtain the funds to reimburse my aunt for the loan for my mom's funeral and burial expenses.

It is a good feeling when things are actually getting done!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

June Fairchild

Above, June Fairchild in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1975). 

Back in th 1970s, there was an actress who had bit roles in several movies including Pretty Maids All In A Row (with Rock Hudson), Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (with Clint Eastwood) and Cheech and Chong's Up In Smoke

Her name is June Fairchild. Born in 1946 in Manhattan Beach, she had small roles in prominent features, but ended up in Los Angeles' skid row due to alcohol abuse. She surfaced in 2001 in a L.A. 

Times article about her plight. Right after the article appeared, she was arrested for a parole violation.  

Right, Fairchild during her skid row days. 

She is reportedly the person who came up with the name "Three Dog Night" for the early 1970s rock band. 

She surfaced at a theatrical screening of Pretty Maids All in a Row at the 2007 LA Grindhouse Fest and spoke about the movie before it was shown. 

Recent reports say that Fairchild is doing better and has her own apartment. 

An article in Starpulse in August 2007 said that Clint Eastwood heard about Fairchild's plight and wanted to get in touch with his former co-star to give her a helping hand. 

Although she had a few roles before alcohol got in the way, Fairchild seems to have a devoted fan following. Perhaps if she sees this, she can check in and let her fans know how she's doing. 

UPDATE (9/21/10): 

It is rumored that Pretty Maids All In A Row (1971) is to be released on DVD. I checked around and found no confirmation of this. If the movie is ever to be released on DVD, June would be great to do a commentary extra.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Action Comics No. 1 Sold For $1 Million

The news media is abuzz over the recent sale of the first issue of Action Comics (No. 1) for one million dollars. It was sold at auction at Comic Connect. The reason the comic book sold for that amount is due to the fact it contains first appearance of Superman and it was graded as "very fine" condition.

According to the New York Times:

Stephen Fishler, the founder of Comic Connect, said that this copy of Action No. 1 was in very fine condition. Only 100 copies of this issue of Action No. 1 are believed to be in existence. Of that batch, only two of them are in very fine condition or better. The sale breaks the previous record of $317,200 from last March when Comic Connect sold another copy of Action No. 1, but in a lower-grade condition.

It must be nice to have a million dollars to spend. But in this case, I'd say it is a good investment. The buyer is reportedly anonymous.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Original Music From Dark Shadows Volume 2

Above, Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins.

One of the great things about the old spook opera Dark Shadows was its music. Composer Robert (Bob) Cobert put together some great tracks for the show during its run on ABC-TV. I've spent some of this evening listening to this album (the first time in years) and it is enjoyable.

The music was also used in the two feature films, House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971).

The show starred veteran actress Joan Bennett as family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Jonathan Frid as vampire Barnabas Collins, Lara Parker as witch Angelique and David Selby, as Quentin Collins.

Three volumes of music has been released, but I am concentrating on Original Music From Dark Shadows Volume 2. Like Volume 1, Volume 2 starts with the opening theme of the show and then it takes the listener through the music from the early years (1966-1967) to the later years (1970-71) with some favorites during its peak years. The album can be found at Amazon.com.

The tracks include:

Dark Shadows (main theme)
Victoria Winters
Laura: The Phoenix
Quentin's Theme
Curse of the Full Moon
Josette's Room
Dr. Julia Hoffman
Roxanne Drew
The Dream Curse
Ode To Angelique
Elizabeth Collins Stoddard
Willie Loomis
Gerard's Carousel
Head of Judah Zachery
Barnabas & Angelique
I Wanna Dance With You
(Pansy's Theme)
Hand of Count Petofi
I Ching Trance
Goodbye, Collinwood

The show lives on today in DVD sets and occasional syndication as well as the annual Dark Shadows Festival. In fact, I picked up my copy at the Dark Shadows Festival in 1989.

Actor Andrew Koenig Missing In Vancouver

(Vancouver police handout.)

Actor Andrew Koenig, who played "Boner" on the television show Growing Pains, has been reported missing in Vancouver, British Columbia.

According to USA Today:

Koenig, 41, known for his role on the television series Growing Pains, was scheduled to return to his home in Venice, Calif., Feb. 16. But police Constable Tim Fanning said Koenig never boarded the airplane at Vancouver International Airport.

Investigators believe Koenig still is in the Vancouver area where he once lived and "doesn't want to be found," Fanning says.

Fanning said friends and relatives said Koenig was feeling "despondent" before he went missing while visiting friends. Fanning said the actor's trip to Vancouver was not related to the Olympics.

Koenig is the son of actor Walter Koenig, who played Chekov in the Star Trek television series.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rondo Ballot Is Up!

The ballot for the 2009 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards is now up and ready for your votes!

I noted that The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan received a nomination in the "Best Book" category. Unfortunately, while I am honored to have it nominated, it did not come out in 2009 and was only made available on January 13. The Guide is only now hitting mailboxes everywhere (I've yet to receive my orders).

While it is nice to be nominated (and the nominating committee wanted to give it some publicity), I've asked David Colton (head honcho for the Rondo Awards) to remove it so that votes can properly go to those deserving books that did actually come out in 2009.

If it is deemed worthy for a nomination for this year (the voting will take place next year), I would gladly accept a nomination then. At least by then, people will have been able to read it and make a sound judgement.

I can make one recommendation, Peter H. Brothers's Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda was also nominated.

To go to the ballot, go here: THE BALLOT IS HERE!

Let Loose The Dogs of War!

Let Loose The Dogs of War!

An incident at work a few nights ago occurred and I am finding that the matter is being blown out of proportion and a scam is being perpetrated.

I found that a person who was a close friend appears to be trying to game the system with false statements, over-the-top acting, fraud and untrue allegations. Some people must think that I just fell off the turnip truck and don't know what's going on.

I have some advice for them: Drop it or you're in for the fight of your life!

As my background is as an insurance claims examiner, I can smell fraud. I've obtained many convictions for insurance fraud and reward money to prove it!

As Clint Eastwood said in Gran Torino:

"Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn't have messed with? That's me."

"The Wolfman" (2010)

Above, Benicio Del Toro in the title role.

A "guys' night out" was held last night (most of the guys I was with are married) at Universal City Walk for dinner at Tony Roma's and a screening of the new version of The Wolfman with Benicio Del Toro as Lawrence Talbot and Anthony Hopkins as John Talbot.

From IMDB:

Universal Studios resurrects the classic lycanthrope with this tale of an American who experiences an unsettling transformation after returning to his ancestral home in Victorian-era Great Britain and being attacked by a rampaging werewolf. His brother having recently vanished without a trace, haunted nobleman Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to his family estate to investigate. What he discovers upon reuniting with his estranged father (Anthony Hopkins), however, is a destiny far darker than his blackest nightmares. As a young boy, the untimely death of his mother caused Talbot to grow up before his time. Though Talbot would attempt to bury his pain in the past by leaving the quiet Victorian hamlet of Blackmoor behind, the past returns with a vengeance when his brother's fiancée, Gwen Conliffe (Emily Blunt), convinces him to return home and aid the search for his missing brother. But something monstrous has been stalking the residents of Blackmoor from the nighttime shadows, something not quite human. Not even recently arrived Scotland Yard inspector Aberline (Hugo Weaving) can dream up a rational explanation for the gruesome spell that has been cast over Blackmoor, yet rumors of an ancient curse persist to this very day. According to legend, the afflicted will experience a horrific transformation by the light of the full moon, their animal rage becoming far too powerful for their human bodies to contain. Now, the woman Talbot loves is in mortal danger, and in order to protect her he must venture into the moonlit woods and destroy the beast before it destroys her. But this isn't your typical hunt, because before the beast can be slain, a simple man will uncover a primal side of himself that he never knew existed. Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker pens a film directed by Joe Johnston and featuring creature effects by special-effects makeup legend Rick Baker.

The movie was very atmospheric and the effects were good. My main gripe with The Wolfman is the editing and script. The editing was too frenetic for my taste. The character development was lacking and casting a Hispanic (Del Toro) as an Englishman did not bring any believability to me. The producers may have tried to address this in the flashback sequences involving Lawrence Talbot's mother. They seem to indicate that she was either Hispanic, Eastern European (or even with gypsy blood) or middle-Eastern. Her background was unclear.

The town already had a werewolf problem at the time of Lawrence's arrival to investigate his brother's death. They were also well-versed in lycanthropy (werewolfism). It also strained credibility to have Lawrence captured in human form to undergo torture. The torture employed seemed pointless.

Those niggling things aside, I was still entertained by the movie. Although it had many faults, I found it more satisfying than the recent thrill-ride The Mummy and Van Helsing movies. The script, at least, took its subject matter seriously. It was based on the 1941 screenplay by Curt Siodmak (who also received credit in this movie).

Although I think Del Toro was miscast (hard to believe he is the same guy in the Timothy Dalton License To Kill James Bond movie), his acting was good and he seemed to "channel" Lon Chaney, Jr.

Rick Baker's make-up was excellent and his make-up of Del Toro did pay a nod to Jack Pierce's 1941 original make-up.

My grade: B+.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Al Haig Dies

Above, Al Haig in the White House press room after the assassination attempt on President Reagan.

Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig has died today due to complications from an infection. He was 85.

Haig served as White House Chief of Staff under President Richard Nixon and basically ran the country as Nixon was in the midst of Watergate. Haig later served as Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan.

Haig famously declared in the White House on March 30, 1981, "I'm in control here" in the aftermath of the assassination attempt on Reagan. Although his statement was clumsy, it was his intention to reassure the tense country.

Haig resigned as Secretary of State in 1982. This I remember well as I was in Washington, D.C. at the time for a White House reception for the California Reagan Delegation to the 1980 GOP National Convention.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fan Receives "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan"

I've received the first confirmation that The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan has been sent out and received.

Loren Portillo sent me this note:

I received it a few days ago. Great Job. I think you should make a Vol # 2...

What I may do (a few years from now) is to do updates and revisions. Other travel guides issue revised editions on an annual basis.

To order, go here.

Clark Howat, R.I.P.

The Los Angeles Times reported today that actor Clark Howat passed away on October 30:

Howat, Clark

January 22, 1918 - October 30, 2009

Clark passed away October in Arroyo Grande, in the Central Coast of California, where he had been living with his wife Muriel for the last several years of his 91 year life. He was known for his warm heart, sense of humor, and devotion to his wife and children.

Clark was an actor, who worked in Hollywood for more than 40 years. Clark acted in numerous television programs, commercials and films from the late 1940's through the 1980's.

He was best known for his recurring role in Jack Webb's Dragnet, as a police captain, appearing in more than 20 episodes during the 1960's.

He appeared in many other television series, spanning the history of television.
Although Clark played many different kinds of roles during his career, he was frequently chosen to portray law enforcement officials during his life.

He also appeared in films including the Giant Claw, the Hitchhhiker, Suddenly, the Glass Webb, Airport, Billy Jack and Running Hot.

Howat's only role in the Adventures of Superman was as an assistant astronomer in the classic 1953 episode, "Panic In The Sky." His character did not seem to get much respect from senior astronomer Prof. Roberts (Jonathan Hale). In one scene, Howat's character joked about an asteroid Superman (George Reeves) collided with, "Do you think they'll call it 'Superman's moon'?" Prof. Roberts responded, "Don't be stupid!"

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Orders Are Being Shipped

Several people have asked me about the status on their orders for The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Accordingly, I sent ComiXpress a query on this and this is their reply:

I apologize for not getting back to you on this. Production assures me that orders for your book have been shipping out, although they have been taking longer to fill that is typical. All orders should be caught up this week, including your own.

All things being equal, I am also still waiting for my orders. So I have to be patient as well.

Rondo Awards Voting Starts Sunday Night!

Rondo Awards Voting Starts Sunday Night!

The eighth annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards voting will begin this coming Sunday, February 21.

According to the Rondo Award website:





Nominations are still being accepted. Also, voters are allowed to write-in their choice(s) on the ballot.

Generally, a voter will need to copy and paste the ballot and email it to the tabulators. Directions on voting will be provided on the ballot website.

Remember, vote early and often!

Note: The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan was mentioned as a possible nominee by David Colton, one of the Rondo Award execs. But I pointed out to him that The Guide wasn't going live until 2010. It is their decision to include it (or just the cover, since it was revealed last year) on the ballot or not. But I think it would be more appropriate to be on next year's ballot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hayworth Challenges McCain For GOP Senate Nomination In Arizona

J. D. Hayworth, former congressman and currently a conservative talk show host, is challenging Sen. John McCain for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Arizona.

Hayworth's campaign website says this about him:

J.D. Hayworth has been a radio and television personality, business management consultant, and public policy advocate. Still, most of Arizona knows J.D. from his time spent in Congress, to which he was elected as part of the Republican Revolution in 1994. While in the House, he built a stellar record as a Consistent Conservative. He maintained an “A” rating from the NRA and a 100% Pro-Life voting record. J.D. also compiled a lifetime rating of 89 from Citizens Against Government Waste and a lifetime rating of 98 from the American Conservative Union.

During his twelve years in the House, J.D. became the first Arizonan to serve on the Ways and Means Committee where he helped write the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001 and 2003. He also was the lead sponsor of the new Education Land Grant Act, which instituted a uniform way for rural school districts to obtain non-environmentally sensitive federal land for school construction, and he helped expand the boundaries of the Walnut Canyon National Monument.

In 2003, J.D. accepted an invitation from residents of Southern Arizona to visit the border and see first hand how illegal immigration and the flow of drugs and violence north across the U.S. border impacted their lives. This eye-opening experience encouraged J.D. to get more involved in the fight against illegal immigration, and within a short while he was a national leader in the effort. He even authored a book, Whatever It Takes, that is widely considered the definitive source on how to combat illegal immigration and improve border security.

Hayworth is a true conservative, unlike the RINO McCain who cozies up to Democrats and attacks conservatives behind-the-scenes. Currently, McCain's re-election campaign is conducting a sleazy campaign against Hayworth with money from political action committees (PACs).

Read Hayworth's campaign website and see if you agree with him on the major issues.

To see Hayworth's website, go here.

Beware of Axminster Medical Group!

In the weeks and months prior to my mom's passing, I was growing concerned over her care by her medical group, Axminster Medical Group.

This isn't the first time I've had a beef with Axminster. Another doctor with them, Stanley Golden, dithered while my dad's lymphoma flared up resulting in his death in December 1999. I wanted to pursue them then, but my mom said not to.

For years, she suffered hypertension (high blood pressure) and a weak kidney. She endured her ailments without complaint. She kept a positive attitude about things.

During the past year, her doctor, Max Shapiro, would have her in for regular check-ups. Early last year, a protein was detected in her system that seemed to indicate the beginning stages of myeloma, a blood cancer originating in the bone marrow. Shapiro had her go to different specialists for tests, some had differing conclusions. She underwent a colonoscopy earlier in the year. After this, she had what she described as gas pains. Shapiro told her to take Mylanta Gas pills. They'd provide temporary relief, but nothing would completely eliminate the pains. I mentioned the alleged myeloma to Tarzana Medical Center, and their response was, "Where'd they get that idea?"

Then she started dropping weight. She blamed a lot of her problems on the colonoscopy. Since then, I have read that there have been problems or side-effects caused by this procedure.

She was prescribed medicines to combat the proteins and bolster her kidneys. Her most recent check-up of her kidneys showed "nothing remarkable." She was sent to an oncologist for regular check-ups. Her last was on January 5. More on that in a moment.

More tests were run, but nothing definitive was found. During the summer, Shapiro went on a long vacation. Her next appointment was scheduled for September or October.

She would have an appetite, but found it more difficult to eat. Some foods agreed with her better than others. More and more weight was lost as the weeks went on. Shapiro was aware of this and allegedly was trying to find out the cause.

The day after Christmas, my mom made us turkey dinner. As she was finishing, she noted that her blood pressure was up and took her blood pressure medicine. This, she said, caused her to feel dizzy and weak. I had to finish making the dinner. She had to sit.

This went on for days thereafter. She thought the blood pressure pill was causing her weakness and dizziness. She barely was able to eat Cream of Wheat or Malt-O-Meal cereals.

My gut feelings were that these tests weren't coming up with anything, while my mom was getting weaker and weaker. And, getting thinner and thinner. I told her in early January that she should be admitted to a hospital to build her up and see what is going on with her digestive system. I started calling Shapiro at Axminister and left messages requesting action. Those calls were not returned.

On January 5, I took her to the oncologist, Lasika Seneviratne, located at the Good Samaritan Medical Center (where Robert F. Kennedy died in 1968). He examined her. During the examination, she told him that she has abdominal pains and was losing weight. He was alarmed over this. He contacted Shapiro and requested an urgent CAT scan. By "urgent," he meant as soon as possible. Shapiro said he would arrange for it. I told the oncologist that I have been having difficulty in getting a hold of Shapiro. I told him during the exam that I had left urgent messages and was not getting any return calls from Shapiro or anyone from his staff.

A day or two passed and we heard nothing from Shapiro's office concerning the CAT scan. I called the message service and left a message. This time, I did get a call back and the nurse said that the CAT scan was set for January 13 and that the authorization form was sent to us in the mail.

January 13?! The oncologist requested an urgent CAT scan on January 5. Eight days would pass before she would be getting the scan. Some urgency!

She was getting weaker and I was becoming more alarmed. Shapiro wasn't calling back. My cousin Maria and aunt Gloria came over to visit my mom January 9. My aunt was shocked at my mom's appearance. She was just skin and bones. I had left a message with Shapiro's office describing her appearance as someone from a Nazi concentration camp. That didn't generate a return call either.

My cousin Maria works for a medical company who has several hospitals. She knows the ins and outs of the medical industry. She asked me if I'd like to have her call Shapiro/Axminster (to see if she can get a response out of Shapiro). I told her that it may come to that. We were looking forward to the CAT scan set for Wednesday.

On Wednesday, January 13, the day of the CAT scan, I called my mom to ask her what time should we go for the CAT scan. She said she didn't feel up to going and that we'd need to re-schedule it. This set off a major alarm bell.

I went to my mom's to change her parakeet. She was very weak. I got a hold of Maria and told her that I think we should call paramedics. I asked her to try Shapiro. She did and reached his nurse. She said the nurse told her that we should go ahead to either ambulance her to Tarzana Medical Center or bring her to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance or another hospital in Marina del Rey where Shapiro practices.

My mom was too weak to be taken by car. I opted for the paramedics taking her to Tarzana Medical Center instead.

The exploratory surgery on the night of January 13 found 16 feet of dead intestine and a dead gall bladder. No wonder she never gained weight and became weaker. The intestine was dead and unable to absorb food's nutrients into her system. It was virtually like sending down food through a plastic tube.

The rest is history.

To this date, I have not heard from either Max Shapiro or from Axminster medical group.

At this point, Amber, aunt and cousin want to pursue a malpractice action against Shapiro and Axminster. Maria feels we have a strong case. I am currently waiting for my cousin to prepare the form requesting my mother's medical records. An attorney friend recommended a medical malpractice attorney to me. As soon as the medical records are obtained, I will get them to the attorney for review for possible action.

The main question on this is: Had Shapiro and Axminster responded in a more timely and effective manner, would my mother still be alive? We discussed this and we unanimously agreed that the answer would be "yes." All the dithering by Shapiro and Axminster and the non-responses caused her death. She suffered due to their incompetence. They did not jump on the request by Dr. Seneviratne for an urgent CAT scan. Had she gotten the CAT scan within a day or two, the problem likely would have been found and treated. She could have a fighting chance and the sepsis could have been overcome. Days would have made the difference.

If anyone in the Los Angeles area goes to Axminster Medical Group, I would strongly suggest finding another medical group.

Beware of Axminster Medical Group!

Monday, February 15, 2010

One Month Later...

After my mom's passing on January 15, I was told by Superman/George Reeves historian Chuck Harter that after the initial shock, funeral preparations, estate dealings and when everyone settles back into their normal routines, it will be a sadder time for me to undergo.

In a way, that's true. The two weeks after my mom died, I had to deal with clearing out her apartment and take care of the items listed above, so I was kept busy doing that. It is a lot quieter now and not hectic. It has provided me with time to deal with my own business, which includes promoting The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Her apartment is about ready to be occupied by a new tenant. New carpeting has been installed (the one that was in there was ruined by a pipe leak that occurred after most of my mom's belongings were removed), new paint applied, etc.

There are some things that my mindset hasn't readjusted to. Normally, on weekends, I would go to her apartment for dinner at 5:30. My mindset tells me to keep track of time on Saturdays and Sundays. Then I catch myself and realize that those days of "mom's home-cooked meals" are over. Also, I went grocery-shopping with her on Sunday mornings at 10:30. Yesterday, I went an hour earlier and found myself imagining that I would see her in the store, particularly in the meat or vegetable sections. This was particularly weird since I've been in the market several times since January 15 and this didn't happen before.

A week ago today, I did some grocery-shopping there and the checker lady (who knows us) asked me why I was there on Monday instead of Sunday. I gave her the sad news and she reactively grabbed my hand. I almost lost it at that point. Otherwise, the trip to the store was uneventful.

It is amazing at how fast time passes after a loved one dies. My mom and I noticed this after my dad died ten years ago. It is happening again. It is hard to believe that a month had already passed.

It is stil a vivid, and painful memory, of how I learned of the results of the surgery my mom underwent at Tarzana Medical Center. It was a little after 8:30 on the evening of January 13 when the surgeon called me. I was at the Hall of Justice in downtown L.A. with our security officer Rebeca when my cell phone rang. I am the type that can't hang around in hospital waiting rooms (my mom was the same way) and had to keep busy. So I went to work (plus I had rent to pay), thinking that the surgery would be uneventful. Amber was at the hospital. Earlier, the doctor told me that they thought my mom had either an intestinal blockage or a hole in either her intestinal or stomach walls. That shouldn't be too difficult to fix, I thought. What they found was shocking, to say the least. She went into surgery at around 6:00 PM and was out of surgery about two hours later.

The surgeons found that sixteen feet of intestine and her gall bladder were "dead." They had to remove both. The poisons from the dead tissue got into her bloodstream and were causing problems with her kidneys (which were weak anyway) and other vital organs. The doctor told me that her prognosis was "not good" and they did not expect her to survive the night.

After ending the call, I went to another area of the Hall of Justice property to call my cousin Maria. I came close to a total breakdown and collapse during this call. It was the most profound shock I've ever had.

I had to get my wits about me again for the drive to the hospital. After a few minutes on the phone, I settled down a little. I returned to where my vehicle was parked (next to Rebeca's). She saw that I was in obvious distress and talked me into waiting a while before attempting to drive. She later told me that she never saw such a look before (I must've looked like hell at that point) and became worried.

After a few minutes, and more calming, I called my supervisor and told him that I'll have to leave. He agreed and told me to go ahead and go. First, I had to turn in my paperwork and vehicle to the office. Fortunately, he had the foresight to meet me in the parking garage and I gave him everything there, including the keys and I left for the hospital.

I have no recollection of the drive to the hospital. I don't remember if I had the radio on or not. But I did get there. Somehow. I do remember where I parked.

I met Amber and her boyfriend Darrel in a waiting room just outside of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). After a few minutes, I used the phone at the ICU door to call the nurse to let Amber and me in. Once inside, we didn't have to go far as my mom's room was the first one after entering. She was hooked up to all kinds of life-support machines and monitors. The nurse (right now I can't even remember her name, but she was my favorite of my mom's nurses and knew her job well) told me that "it doesn't look good" and the first 24 hours after surgery was the most critical. The toxins (sepsis) in my mom's blood was causing problems, despite the anti-biotics the ICU was pumping in. My mom was unconscious. Thankfully, she was not in any pain.

Amber stayed until 1:30 in the morning and I left about 45 minutes later. I was emotionally exhausted.

The next day, my mom was in an awake, but comatose state. Her eyes were open. My cousin Lydia drove in from Las Vegas to be with us. Vanessa, my mom's neighbor friend, also joined us in the afternoon. My mom seemed to respond to our voices, although it was hard to exactly tell for sure. I had a glimmer of hope that she might be able to rally that afternoon.

Unfortunately, her vital signs were beginning to weaken that evening. Her heart rhythms were not normal. The nurse explained that there are three rhythms to a heartbeat. The major one was weaker than it should be and the secondary one was trying to compensate for it. She also said that her organs were showing signs of failing.

It was just a matter of time.

She passed away around 2:00 am January 15. Shortly before, I went down to my car (which was parked on Burbank Blvd.) with Darrel to jumpstart my car as I was having battery trouble. I was trying to decide whether to go back up to the ICU or just go home. Right after getting the car started, Amber called and said my mom just died. I told her I will be right back up.

After parking the car in the hospital's parking structure, Darrel and I got back up to the ICU. Inside Mom's room, the ventilator machine was still going as Lydia and Amber watched. Amber told me that she was watching the heart monitor when it suddenly flatlined and the heart rate indicator dropped to zero.

I just told them that we should just say a prayer and leave. We gathered around my mom and Lydia said the "Hail Mary" prayer. We then bid my mom goodbye and left.

Exhausted as I was, I could not go to sleep when I got home. I called Maria with the news and proceeded to post on this blog my mom's death announcement and emailed it to family and friends at 2:50. Maria also called the rest of the family.

The first email response came in at 5:29 am from actress/model Christine Nguyen. Many more came in that day and the following days. Those messages were a big help to me. I needed them for the strength to make the arrangements with the mortuary (I decided days before to use Lorenzen Mortuary, should the need arise, as I was familiar with the Lorenzens from my days in political activism) and other matters of my mom's estate.

Today, the shock has worn off, but there is a definite sadness. I expected this and know that it's normal. Things will get better as time goes on. I've written before on how the shock affected me. Decisions on mundane things was difficult and I had some memory difficulties.

Little by little, things are getting done. I found that my best outlet was to just write. It has a cathartic, healing effect. It also allows me to document how things went for future reference. It is funny how I was able to write from the start, but doing other things was difficult.

Life will go on. There will be that void of loss. All we can do at these points in life is to, as Chief Dan George said in The Outlaw Josey Wales, "Endeavor to persevere."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Top Ten Mad Scientists of All-Time

Carolyn Friedman has come up with the top ten mad scientists of all time in her blog, Becoming A Radiologist Technician.

To see who she came up with, go here.

Remembering The S.S. Catalina

Above, the S.S. Catalina at anchor in Long Beach Harbor as our boat approached.

Early last year, it was announced that the S.S. Catalina ("The Great White Steamer") would be dismantled and sold for scrap. It had partially sunken into the mud of Ensenada Harbor, Mexico.

By now, the old ship is gone. However, I was going through my photo albums today and found a couple of photos of the ship that I took in 1982. The ship was at anchor in Long Beach Harbor at the time. I had completely forgotten that I had taken these photos.

A business associate invited several of us for a lunch cruise on his yacht and we passed by the Catalina during the cruise. The photo above was taken as we closed in.

Two friends and I took the S.S. Catalina to Catalina Island back in July 1974. I remember it being a fun trip and the ship had entertainment and, most importantly, a full bar.

Kenneth Strickfaden's Frankenstein Machines

Above, the creation of the Monster in "Frankenstein" (1931).

Kenneth Strickfaden's Frankenstein Machines

Text and photos by Armand Vaquer

On November 13, 1981, I went to the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills to see the laboratory machines of Kenneth Strickfaden.

These machines were used in Universal Pictures' Frankenstein series beginning with the 1931 Frankenstein starring Colin Clive and Boris Karloff.

Over the years, these machines turned up in other productions including Mel Brooks' spoof, Young Frankenstein.

When I arrived at the Motion Picture Academy, they had just completed a demonstration of the machines, which still worked. An electrical odor still permeated the air inside the building. While I was disappointed in missing the demonstration, I still enjoyed seeing Strickfaden's machines.

Here's some photos that I took during my visit:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gamera DVD Set Coming May 18!

Kaiju fandom is abuzz over the news that Shout! Factory is going to release a Gamera DVD May 18th.

Shout! Factory's news release is as follows:

From Japan – the country that brought us such mythical movie monsters as Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah – storms Gamera, the titanic terrapin feared by adults and loved by children. On May 18, 2010, Shout! Factory will unleash Gamera, The Giant Monster – Special Edition on DVD for the first time in its unedited original version, with English subtitles — in anamorphic widescreen from an all-new HD master. The DVD includes a 12-page booklet with an essay by director Noriaki Yuasa, a photo gallery, trailers and more. The collectible Gamera, The Giant Monster Special Edition DVD is priced to own at $19.93.

Like all classic monster movies, it is the folly of man that unleashes a ginormous beast upon the world. This time it is literal fallout from the Cold War — a Soviet bomber is shot down over U.S. airspace in the Arctic Ocean, with the massive radiation from the resultant atomic explosion awakening the ancient, gargantuan Gamera. A long-forgotten legend of the lost continent of Atlantis, the 200-foot-long, fire-eating turtle isn't in a good mood, and proving impervious to all manmade weapons, the colossal chelonian smashes a cataclysmic swath across the globe. But when he arrives in Tokyo, a small boy forms an odd connection with him, allowing authorities to unleash “Plan Z.”

The classic Gamera was directed Noriaki Yuasa, who helmed all seven of the original Gamera entries in the Showa era series between 1965 and 1971, and stars Eiji Funakoshi (Fires On The Plain), Harumi Kiritachi, Junichiro Yamashiko and Jutaro Hojo (Wrath of Daimajin). The subsequent franchise was more kid-friendly (yet ironically bloodier) than Godzilla, who became less menacing and more cuddly himself during the Sixties. The Gamera series was creative in the monstrous nemeses that it pitted against the towering turtle, the most famous being the flying, pointy-headed Gyaos, who was resurrected for the successful trio of movies in the Heisei-era series between 1995 and 1999.

Created by the same company who brought Zatoichi to the screen, Daiei Studios’ titanic terrapin is the only true rival to Toho’s King Of The Monsters, able to hold his own at the box office and secure a place in the hearts of kaiju eiga (Japanese monster movie) fans around the world. The original films have woefully been underrepresented on DVD, a especially release featuring the authentic Japanese versions.

About Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is a diversified entertainment company devoted to producing, uncovering and revitalizing the very best of pop culture. Founders Richard Foos, Bob Emmer and Garson Foos have spent their careers sharing their music, television and film faves with discerning consumers the world over. Shout! Factory’s DVD offerings serve up classic, contemporary and cult TV series, riveting sports programs, live music, animation and documentaries in lavish packages crammed with extras. The company’s audio catalogue boasts GRAMMY®-nominated boxed sets, new releases from storied artists, lovingly assembled album reissues and indispensable “best of” compilations. These riches are the result of a creative acquisitions mandate that has established the company as a hotbed of cultural preservation and commercial reinvention. With its fingers on the pulse of pop culture, Shout! Factory continues to impact the entertainment media landscape through acquisition of top quality programming for home entertainment releases. Shout! Factory is based in Santa Monica, California. For more on Shout! Factory, visit shoutfactory.com

Above, Gamera director Noriaki Yuasa (1933-2004) (left) at G-FEST in 2003. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

August Ragone, author of Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, is the Special Features Producer for Shout! Factory's Gamera series.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Table of Contents

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide to Japan is divided into four sections: General Information, Hokkaido, Honshu and Kyushu. The locations used in the movies are placed at the Japanese island where they can be found. For example: Sapporo was used in Gamera 2 and is located on the island of Hokkaido. The same goes for kaiju-related or attractions of interest to the monster fan traveler.

Each location or attraction will indicate what movie it was used, how to get there and, if available, where to stay. Recommendations on where to stay will be included after a history of the location and how to get there. Source(s) for finding a hotel or ryokan are provided. If I had stayed at a hotel or ryokan at any of these places, I will indicate such and make a recommendation.

The Table of Contents (below) shows which island each location or attaction is located.

To order, go here. The retail price is $15.00 US. Keep in mind that The Guide is printed to order, so it may take a little bit longer for your order to be filled.

Dealers/retailers, go to ComiXpress.com and set up a retailer account. It's fast and easy!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Planning Your Monster Japan Vacation

Many Japanese monster fans discovered the culture of Japan by watching monster movies when they were kids. As adults, many have continued to enjoy these movies but have also become more fascinated with Japan itself.

In a way, these movies served as travel advertisements for Japan. Mt. Fuji has been featured in several Godzilla and Gamera movies. Tokyo, of course, has been featured countless times. Other locations such as Osaka (Godzilla Raids Again), Fukuoka (Rodan), Sendai (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, Gamera 2: Advent of Legion), Tokyo Tower (Mothra, King Kong Escapes) and Atami (King Kong vs. Godzilla) sparked interest in visiting these places with fans.

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan will assist fans in showing them what locations were used and how to go see them. Tour operators and travel industry professionals can also use The Guide to tailor tours to these locations. They can also obtain copies of The Guide at wholesale and provide them to their clients, and make a profit while doing so. All they have to do is to set up a retailer account at ComiXpress, which is fast and easy!

Many people who are interested in Japanese culture will travel there to soak it all in. If they are also Japanese monster (kaiju) fans, they will also be able to see where their favorite monsters stomped or engaged in titanic battles.

The Guide is an important tool for people in planning their Japan vacation. Articles on Immigration, Customs, currency, transportation, weather and other topics will give them the information they need for their Japan vacation.

There are other features in The Guide as well. Articles on Ultraman exhibits are also included.

Go to ComiXpress.com and set up a retailer account. It's fast and easy!

To order, go here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Peter H. Brothers's Godzilla My Dreams

At long last, writer Peter H. Brothers has just set up a new website called Godzilla My Dreams. He's the author of the new book, Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda.

Included is a guestbook, gallery and store. Eventually, he will have exhibitions of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films.

To check out Pete's site, go here.

Chris Nolan To Oversee Batman and Superman Movies

Above, George Reeves as television's first Superman.

Big Hollywood is reporting that Chris Nolan is readying the third Batman movie (a follow-up to The Dark Knight) and will oversee a re-boot of the Superman franchise.

They report:

Warner Bros is trying to ready its DC Comics stalwart Superman to soar again on the Big Screen, and the studio has turned to Chris Nolan to mentor development of the movie. Our insiders say that the brains behind rebooted Batman has been asked to play a “godfather” role and ensure The Man Of Steel gets off the ground after a 3 1/2-year hiatus.

The last two Batman movies were critically acclaimed while Superman Returns bombed. The script for the Batman movie is now being written.

Let's hope under Nolan's leadership the two super-heroes will soar with the critics and at the boxoffice.

To read the full article, go here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" For Travel Industry Professionals

Finally, I got around to promoting The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan by emailing travel agents, tour operators and travel bureaus (in Japan and out). This was something that had to wait due to the events in January.

The Guide would be a useful tool for travel industry professionals to promote and tailor tours in Japan with monster fans in mind. Would they know where Godzilla, Gamera or others stomped if asked? With The Guide, they would!

They can use The Guide for the above and, if they desire, can provide copies to their clients. The wholesale price would be available to travel industry professionals along with magazine and comic book dealers.

All they have to do is to go to ComiXpress.com and set up a retailer account. It's fast and easy!

To order, go here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Relaxing Weekend

Above, The Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon in Lake Elsinore.

A Relaxing Weekend

After weeks of stress from my mom’s final illness and passing in December-January, I was able to kick back and relax this weekend at my cousin Maria’s in Wildomar (near Lake Elsinore). Amber couldn't get the weekend off from work to also come down.

The order of the weekend was just to relax and do nothing. The drive from the San Fernando Valley to Wildomar was generally easy, if you want to call driving in a rainstorm “easy.” For the most part it was a good drive with only one snarl in the Pomona area where a few people collectively had a fender-bender. I took eastbound California Route 60 for the majority of the drive. There were several accidents on the westbound side of the freeway, proving once again that Southern California drivers can’t seem to master driving in the rain. As I always caution my daughter, watch your speed and distance between vehicles and all will be okay.

Once getting into Wildomar, the skies cleared a little, although occasional cloudbursts would still pass through.

I spent most of the day talking, reading and napping. That night, I was treated to a birthday dinner with my cousin, her husband Fred and my aunt Gloria at The Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon (above) in Lake Elsinore. I had the best steak in ages there. The Lone Star is a fun place to eat. Every hour, the waitresses and waiters would stop what they’re doing and put on a Texas-style dance show for the customers.

Above, Maria and me.

I was wondering if there’s a Lone Star Steakhouse in the San Fernando Valley, but there isn’t. The nearest one is in Long Beach.

Speaking of birthdays, Maria’s birthday is today (she’s only three days younger than me). When possible, we try to celebrate our birthdays together in some fashion.

Above, one of my mom's gnomes at his new home in Wildomar.

After dinner, we headed back to Maria’s house and watched the L.A. Lakers beat Portland. After the game, we watched a DVD of the relatively new 2012 end-of-the-world disaster flick by the director of Independence Day. It was entertaining, although I liked ID4’s characters much better. The special effects were spectacular, which were primarily computer-generated. I would have preferred miniatures. CGI can look good if used sparingly, but still seems too phony or cartoony to me after a while.

Of the Roland Emmerich movies I’ve seen, I would list Independence Day as the best, with 2012 a close second and Godzilla at the bottom.

Above, as I am an early riser, my cousin's four cats volunteered me into feeding them. Here's three of them.

Today, we all had a big breakfast at a local Wildomar eatery, Big Jim's.

Above, Maria's daughter Ashley and her daughter Crista at Big Jim's.

Before heading for home, I stopped at Ashley's house to see my mom's parakeet "Baby" (below) to see how he's doing at his new home. He is doing very well and Ashley's husband Tony has already trained him to sit on his finger, and he's only been there two weeks. Mom would be very pleased.

After this, I had to head back home. I’ve two hungry kitties to feed.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Japan Travel Guide For Monster Fans

A Japan Travel Guide For Monster Fans

by Armand Vaquer

Now available at ComiXpress.com, The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is a travel guide tailored to fans of Japanese giant monsters (kaiju).

The description at ComiXpress:

Fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies can now travel to Japan to find the movie locations used in their favorite movies. From Hokkaido to Kyushu, many locations were used in actuality and blended in with detailed miniatures. This guide will tell the traveler where the location is, how to get there, what other nearby attractions to see and where to stay (when available). This is the first travel guide aimed at fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies.

The guide provides the nuts & bolts of traveling to Japan including immigration and customs procedures, Shinkansen (bullet train) travel, JR Rail Pass, currency exchange, weather and other topics.

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan retails for $15.00 US, but wholesales rates are available to dealers, travel agents and tour operators.

The Guide will also be a useful tool for Japan travel agents and tour operators when planning group, or individual, tours of Japan.

Above, the Wako Dept. store in Ginza was demolished in "Godzilla" (1954).

Above, Osaka Castle was the battleground between Godzilla and Anguirus in "Godzilla Raids Again" (1955).

Above, Tokyo Tower has been featured in "Mothra" (1961), "Gamera, Guardian of the Universe" (1995) and many other Japanese giant monster movies.

Above, Fukuoka Tower played a prominent role in "Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla" (1994).

Above, the Saikai Bridge was blown down in "Rodan" (1956).

These and may other locations are covered in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To order, go here.

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