"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.)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Krauthammer To GOP: "Walk Away"

Monster Japan Travel Guide Holiday Sale: 25 More Days Left

Several orders have come in for the print edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

They are taking advantage of the holiday discount sale that is currently in progress (for details on the sale, go here).

As of today, you have 25 more days to take advantage of the sale (it goes to Monday, December 24 (Christmas Eve).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roadside America Lists Godzilla Plaque

Above, LAUSD's Yonah Hong and Armand at the Godzilla plaque.  Photo courtesy of Richard Pusateri.

Godzilla fans have two things to see in Los Angeles while on vacation in the "City of The Angels."

First, is the Godzilla star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame that is located in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd.

The other is the Godzilla, King of the Monsters! plaque located at the entrance to the Frank del Olmo Elementary School at 100 N. New Hampshire Ave., Los Angeles.

The plaque marks the location of the studio where Raymond Burr's insert scenes were shot by director Terry Morse in 1956.

The plaque is now listed at RoadsideAmerica.com.  To view their listing, go here.

Eight Years Since Hollywood

Above, Godzilla "sanitizing" his Hollywood Walk of Fame star with his atomic breath.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Jay Grymyr, who posts his "Today In G-History" goodies here and there, noted today's highlight:

2004: Godzilla receives a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and "Godzilla: Final Wars" has its world premiere at Mann's Chinese Theater.

Actually, the name of the theater was reverted back to Grauman's Chinese Theater some time before.  But that's just a minor quibble.

It is hard to believe how fast eight years has passed since the events of that weekend in Hollywood.  They were set up to celebrate Godzilla's 50th anniversary and to promote Godzilla Final Wars.

The night before, the Hollywood Christmas Parade was held and Toho Co., Ltd. entered the Godzilla Final Wars float.  They asked me to write up the announcer's commentary as it passed by the reviewing stand.  The announcer: D.J. Rick Dees and it was broadcast worldwide.

Above, the late Johnny Grant officiates the Walk of Fame ceremony.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Toho had also asked me to pen the History of Godzilla for the Walk of Fame ceremony for the late Johnny Grant.  I threw in several names of various kaiju that Godzilla fought over his then-fifty-year history.  Grant botched the pronunciation of most of them, much to the amusement of the crowd of Godzilla fans in attendance (the numbers of fans there appeared to have been matched by the number of the Japanese media present).

Fan esteem of Godzilla Final Wars is still mixed.  Either they like the movie or detest it.  There doesn't seem to be much of a middle ground and the debate over the movie persists to this day.  (I happen to enjoy the movie.  It is flawed and a bit wacky, but I still was entertained by it.)

Above, Godzilla blasts the press at the Walk of Fame ceremony.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The premiere of Godzilla Final Wars was capped by an after-party hosted by Toho at the Hollywood Blvd. & Highland Ave. complex that housed the Kodak Theater.

At that time, I must point out, Toho announced that Godzilla would be put on a ten-year hiatus as box office receipts plummeted.  We're nearing ten years and the only Godzilla project in progress is the Legendary Pictures/Warner Brothers Godzilla, due to be released in 2014, Godzilla's 60th anniversary.

Thus far, Toho has not announced any plans to produce a Godzilla project of their own.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show Jan. 12-13, 2013

Travel show season is here.  The Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show is coming up in January at the Long Beach Convention Center.

The organizers say it is "California's Largest Travel Show" and it is in its 8th year.

According to their press release:

The 2013 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show(TM) will take place January 12-13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90802. Tickets are available online for $9 with Promo Code "LAPR" or at the door for $12. Children under 16 years old are free. For tickets and event information, visit www.LAtravelshow.com , email info @LAtravelshow.com, or call 203-878-2577. 

I am going to make an effort to attend the show next year (maybe do some networking while I'm there).  

Monster Japan Travel Guide Amazon Ad Pops Up At JREF

As I haven't seen the Amazon ad for the Kindle Store ebook edition of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan pop up anywhere for a few days, I thought that the ad campaign ran its course.

Well, as I was perusing the Japan Reference (JREF) website, it popped up as the screen shot below shows:

Looks like the ad campaign continues!

"Pacific Rim": Breaking News Kaiju Attack Teaser Trailer

The marketing campaign for next year's Pacific Rim has started by Legendary Pictures.  The image above is from the "breaking news" teaser trailer that has gone viral today over the Internet.  Something obviously huge rests on an aircraft carrier.

The full video is below:

Looks like people outside of Godzilla fandom will know the word kaiju and what it means after this movie.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Back in the early 1960s, there was a product called "Fizz-Nik."  I had a couple of them.

My memory of these was jogged earlier and did a little search and found them.

I used to go the "ice cream route."

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Scheduled To Arrive December 3

United Parcel Service just sent me a message stating that the shipment of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan from ComiXpress is en route and is scheduled to arrive next Monday (December 3).

This will replenish the stock of hard copies of the travel guide to cover the current holiday sale and the Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina this coming March 21-23, 2013.

So, get 'em while they're hot!

Best Time To Visit Japan?

Above, springtime on Nakamise Street in Asakusa, Tokyo.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Q: When's the best time to visit Japan?

A: It depends.

Tofugu.com has an article posted on just this subject.

They start it with:

Well, that’s a tough question. For me, if someone put a gun to my head and asked me: “When’s the best time to visit Japan?” I’d easily say “winter” (and not because I hoped this psychopathic traveler / Tofugu reader holding a gun to my head would freeze to death). No, I truly think winter’s the best time to visit Japan, but that’s because I like winter a lot. But, there are many things to take into account for when you visit Japan, and everyone has their own priorities. I’m hoping this post will help you to choose the best time to visit Japan for you depending on what you like (or don’t like).
Above, although it was springtime, it still snowed at Mt. Aso Volcano National Park.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

I have visited Japan during three of the four seasons: Fall/Autumn, Spring and Summer.  I don't mind heat, as long as it is dry heat, but Japan's summers are very humid.  To be outdoors in the summer is almost like being in a sauna fully dressed.  My preference is during Spring, around April.  The temperatures are mild and the cherry blossoms are generally in bloom at that time.

My second preference is during Fall/Autumn.  The temperatures are mild and one can enjoy the Fall colors.  My 2010 trip was in early December, which is in the late-Fall period.  It was fine, but a little on the cold side.  Late October to early November are the best, in my opinion.

It has rained in Japan during all my visits, no matter the season.  But I don't mind rain.  I don't pack an umbrella as they are inexpensive to buy in Japan (about ¥500).

To read the full article, go here.

Monster Japan Travel Guide News Picked Up By X10Press

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

X10Press.com posted the news on the holiday sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

The news appears under the category of Travel & Hospitality.  It appears to be a promo site for WordPress.

To view the site, go here.

Karlos Borloff's Monster Hats Now Available

Remember this hat I'm wearing?

This was a prototype, but you can now get one of these!

Karlos Borloff  of MONSTER MADHOUSE is now taking orders for the MONSTER HATS! 

 $25 will get you one that is hand made..each one unique, numbered & signed by the creator!

PAYPAL $25 (plus $3 shipping) to:  BORLOFF@MONSTERMADHOUSE.COM

As these are all custom hand-made hats (not made in a factory), and depending upon the number of orders, the sooner you order the faster you will get one.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Obama: "Communist"

Here's what has been written about President Barack Obama recently:

Well, any normal individual understands that as true but liberalism is a psychosis. O'bomber even keeps the war going along the Mexican border with projects like "fast and furious" and there is still no sign of ending it. He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so. How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama's fools and Stalin's fools share the same drink of illusion.

Was this from Fox News?  Was it from National Review?  Was it from The Weekly Standard?  Was it from the Republican National Committee?

The answer is no to all of the above.

It was published November 19, 2012 in Pravda from Russia.  Don't believe me?  Here's the link to the full article.

If anyone should know a communist when they see one, they should.

Today's JapanTourist Daily

JapanTourist.jp also puts out The JapanTourist Daily, an online "newspaper" featuring the latest articles and photos from their main website.  They send out notices via Twitter.

Today's edition of The JapanTourist Daily includes my latest article on "Ginza-Hibiya's Monster Connection."  I included a red box to where my article is featured in the above screen capture.

To view it, go here.

Tofugu.com: "The Grave Matter of Japanese Cemeteries"

Above, a Niigata cemetery.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

During my trips to Japan, I've noticed Japanese graves from small sections at rice paddies to cemeteries sprinkled in urban areas.  One is even below Tokyo Tower.

An article has been posted on the subject of Japanese cemeteries and burial customs at Tofugu.com, "The Grave Matter of Japanese Cemeteries." It is an interesting read.

It begins with:

Japanese graves and cemeteries are a bit different from what most westerners are used to. Japanese gravestones are just big blocks in a cemetery, sometimes with additional blocks, or like holders for things, and a bunch of other strange stuff that I never really understood or took the time to look into. 
I always wondered – what does all of this signify? Is there something buried underneath them? Do they channel psychic energy to allow one to communicate with the dead? Well in today’s post, we’re going to figure that all out. So pack your bags, kids – we’re going on an adventure.

To view the article, go here.

Note: The article mentions the movie, Departures (2008).  Checking into it, it seemed interesting.  I ordered a copy.  Here's the trailer.

JapanTourist: Ginza-Hibiya

Above, Ginza's Wako Department Store.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The latest contribution to JapanTourist.jp is on the monster connection with the Tokyo districts of Ginza and Hibiya.

It is now posted to spread the joys of kaijudom to the world.

To view it, go here.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Noel Neill!

Above, Noel Neill and George Reeves.

Noel Neill, the "original Lois Lane" and, currently, the "First Lady of Metropolis, Illinois," turned 92 today.

She was born November 25, 1920 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Her mother was a stage dancer and her father was a Minneapolis journalist.

Above, Noel Neill and Armand at the TV Land Convention in Burbank, California.

Besides being an actress, Neill was also a professional singer and dancer.  She worked for several years with crooner Bing Crosby.

She first played reporter Lois Lane in the 1948 Columbia serial, Superman.  She repeated the role in 1950 in  a second serial, Atom Man vs. Superman.  Both serials featured Kirk Alyn as the Man of Steel.

She was called back to the Lois Lane role in 1950 for television's Adventures of Superman when Phyllis Coates opted to do another television series.  She remained in the role of Lois Lane until the series ended in 1957.

Above, Jack Larson joins Noel to celebrate her 85th birthday in Studio City, California.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

In June, 2010, a statue was erected in her honor in Metropolis, Illinois.

Happy Birthday, Noel!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Monster Japan Travel Guide News Picked Up By NewsBlaze

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

NewsBlaze.com picked up the news on the holiday discount sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

What is NewsBlaze?  Here's what it's about:

In February 2005, the introduction of Newsblaze.com provided Internet news seekers the outlet they had been searching for. An independent news source, Newsblaze was founded with the goal of providing attention to the news that the mainstream media gives little or no attention to. 
"We try to show the news as-is, without spin," said Newsblaze founder Alan Gray. "Opinions writers are not allowed all-out attacks on their opponents - anger and displeasure can be shown without resorting to that." 
In its effort to provide a variety of news stories from a wide array of sources, Newsblaze draws from articles and press releases from the United Nations, NATO, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Iraqi government, environmental groups and other organizations 
Newsblaze offers a large amount of visual news as well, using pictures whenever possible and carrying video news releases from Eworldwire. This added media, combined with hyperlinks and background information, gives readers a more complete understanding of the news stories of the day. "We feel that NewsBlaze has been able to help get the word out on a lot of things that otherwise would have had little or no coverage," Gray said 
Newsblaze visitors are quickly making it one of the Internet's most sought-after news sources.

To view the page, go here.

OrGreenic Pots & Pans

Yesterday, we picked up a new pot and pan set.  My old Teflon pans were shot (some were older than my daughter) and need replacing.

I've been checking around for a new set for a while. We spotted an ad for an OrGreenic pots and pan set at CVS.  It was on sale for $69.99.  Here's the set we got (this is an ad from somewhere else).

We went and got it (the last one there) along with an extra fry pan (separate at $19.99).  I took the above photo with my cell phone.

I tried the fry pan out this morning for cooking sausage and scrambled eggs.  It worked like a dream!  Nothing stuck to it and it was easy to clean (just a soapy sponge and rinse is all that's needed).

I saw these advertised on television ("As Seen On TV") and was impressed.  These actually worked as advertised!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Larry Hagman Dies At 81

Television has lost one of its biggest stars.

The Hollywood Reporter posted:

Larry Hagman, who played the evil oilman J.R. Ewing for 14 seasons on the hit primetime soap Dallas, has died, sources close to the actor told The Dallas Morning News. He was 81. 
Hagman, who starred with Barbara Eden on another TV hit, the 1960s comedy I Dream of Jeannie, died Friday afternoon in a Dallas hospital. Dallas co-stars Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy were reportedly with him when he died.

Back in 1980, the end of the 1979-80 season was the cliffhanger of the shooting of J. R. Ewing.  This started the "Who Shot J.R.?" craze.

At the 1980 Republican National Convention in Detroit, Michigan, "A Democrat Shot J.R." buttons were big sellers.

To read the full article, go here.

Superman's Japanese Voice

David Stewart posted this at The Adventures Continue Facebook page:

JUL 19 1959 Toru Ohira, the Japanese voice of "Superman," watches the late George Reeves as he supplies the Japanese dialogue. Credit: AP Newsfeatures Photo.

The Adventures of Superman was said to be the number one television show in Japan at the time.  Emperor Hirohito was a fan and sent George Reeves a fan letter.

Kudos to David Stewart for the find!

News From Donald F. Glut

Above, Donald Glut in front of a poster of one of the movies to be presented in 3D.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.
Writer, director and dinosaur expert Donald F. Glut announced:

It's official. Cinema Epoch will next year release 3D-conversions of all six of our (Frontline Entertainment) movies, probably as "double bills" -- "SCARLET COUNTESS" + "COUNTESS DRACULA'S ORGY OF BLOOD," "THE MUMMY'S KISS" + "THE MUMMY'S KISS: 2ND DYNASTY" and "DINOSAUR VALLEY GIRLS" + "BLOOD SCARAB." Our 2D "5 Star" versions of these movies will remain in print and available, however, with our "MUMMY'S KISS" 2-disc reissue out probably before the end of 2012.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mrev Picks Up News On Monster Japan Travel Guide

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

Mrev, Movies At A Glimpse has posted the news on the holiday discount sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

They also expanded the news with snippets from past news releases and other sources including Prof. Craig Norris's comments and from MSM Fright Site.

To view the article, go here.

Michelin Guide To Focus On Hiroshima

Above, the famous torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine
on Miyajima Island.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Travelers to Hiroshima, Japan will have a new guide to use next spring.

Kyodo News reports:

The publisher of the Michelin Guide said Thursday it will publish a new guidebook next spring giving ratings to restaurants and hotels specifically in Hiroshima Prefecture, western Japan. 
At a press conference in the city of Hiroshima, Bernard Delmas, the president of Nihon Michelin Tire Co., said Hiroshima is an excellent target for the new book because it attracts many tourists -- such as to Miyajima, a UNESCO world heritage site -- and restaurants there provide an array of delicious dishes from both the sea and the mountains.

To read the full story, go here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Deborah Raffin Dies At 59

The Los Angeles Times has reported:

Deborah Raffin, a film actress, veteran of television miniseries and entrepreneur whose company, Dove Books-on-Tape, became a major force in the audio book industry, died Wednesday of leukemia at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. She was 59. 
She was diagnosed with the blood cancer about a year ago, said her brother, William.
The blond, California-born actress first came to attention in the mid-1970s playing "pretty girl" roles in movies such as "Forty Carats" with Liv Ullman and "Once Is Not Enough," based on the salacious novel by Jacqueline Susann.
59 is much too young of an age to die at.

Dollar Above 82 Yen: First Time In Over 7 Months

The U.S. dollar climbed above ¥82 for the first time in more than seven months today.

According to Jiji Press, this is due to a larger-than-expected Japanese trade deficit in October and opposition leader Shinzo Abe's call for aggressive monetary easing by the Bank of Japan.

The high yen makes Japanese exports more expensive in American markets and American tourists in Japan get fewer yen per dollar when they exchange their money in Japan.

I received ¥116 per dollar exchanged when I visited Japan in April 2007.

Today's news is good news, but the foreign exchange rate between the dollar and yen has a long way to go to reach the ¥100 threshold.

New Submission To JapanTourist

Above, the Wako Department store at Ginza Crossing in Tokyo.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Now that the election is over and other stuff has been taken care of, I can again concentrate on contributing more articles to JapanTourist.

I just submitted my latest one.  Once it is posted, I will post a notice and a link to it.

The above photo is a clue as to what it is about.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monster Japan Travel Guide News Picked Up By Mobile & Apps

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

The website Mobile & Apps picked up the news on the holiday sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Mobile & Apps specializes in smartphones, tablets, laptops, personal computers, gadgets, social media, software and other items for the technology-minded.

According to their website:

Mobile & Apps is one of the fastest growing online news site dedicated to covering the latest news on technology, innovation, and popular trends. Mobile & Apps´ mission is to empower the people by delivering the latest news on consumer technology, gadgets and infotainment and offering the full global picture of how they have shaped and are continuing to shape our lives. Mobile & Apps is headquartered in New York and its growing team of dedicated and passionate writers can be found across the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia.

To view their site, go here.

"Skyfall" Tokyo Premiere

The latest 007 thriller, Skyfall had its Japan premiere Monday night in Tokyo.

The movie opens in Japan on December 1.

The premiere was held at a place dear to Godzilla fans.  The photo above is the clue to where it was held.

To read about the premiere, go here.

The Blame Bush B.S.

Talk show host Rush Limbaugh mentioned some exit polling taken during the election that show people still blaming President George W. Bush for this economy, despite the fact the President Obama has been in office for nearly four years and whose policies made economic matters worse.

Limbaugh correctly pointed out that for most of Bush's tenure, the economy was robust with 4% unemployment on average, which is considered full employment by economists.

It was only during the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008 when things went sour due to the mortgage meltdown caused by the sub-prime loan policies of lenders, led by Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae.  Bush had nothing to do with those and his administration sounded a warning of potential trouble as far back as 2002.

I sent the following email to Limbaugh today:

One problem I've noticed during the campaign is that Romney and none of the other GOP candidates offered any kind of rebuttal to Obama's/Democrats' charges of "Bush's policies got us into this mess." Romney just sat and said nothing during a debate when Obama stated this. 
We know it was the Democrats' policies of extending mortgage loans to people who had no business in taking them out and who had no means of repaying them back.

The Bush Administration sounded the alarm as far back as 2002 on problems with this, but they were met with charges or racism by Maxine Waters, et al.

This will keep on as long as the GOP doesn't "go for the throat" in rebutting their charges. They keep allowing the "blame Bush" stuff to stand.

Joetsu Shinkansen Celebrated 30th Anniversary

Above, a view from the Joetsu Shinkansen.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The East Japan Railway Co. (JR East) celebrated the 30th anniversary of its Joetsu Shinkansen Line that runs between Tokyo and Niigata this past week.

According to Kyodo News:

The Joetsu section of the bullet train network opened Nov. 15, 1982, on a 303.6 kilometer stretch between Omiya and Niigata. For the 30.3 km sector between Omiya and Tokyo, it now shares the tracks with the Tohoku line. It links Tokyo and Niigata in slightly less than 100 minutes on its fastest service. 
The services on the Joetsu line run through one of the most heavily snow-covered regions in the country. In areas north of the Echigo-Yuzawa station, its tracks are equipped with hot water sprinklers, while trains are mounted with snow plow gear.

I rode the Joetsu Shinkansen in December 2010 when I visited Niigata, which is on the Sea of Japan side of Honshu.  It is a very scenic ride as the train's route goes through some mountain passes.

To read the full article, go here.

Monster Japan Travel Guide News Picked Up By StreetIQ.com

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

StreetIQ.com has picked up the news on the holiday sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

What is StreetIQ.com?  It is:

The mission of StreetIQ.com is to create a marketplace of compelling audio content that empowers investors and businesspeople. 
Visitors to StreetIQ.com will discover an enormous range of audio content produced by both large media companies and independent podcasters that includes everything from the latest business news to stock talk and from CEO interviews to earnings calls. The audio programs are organized into channels, updated frequently, and tagged for categories, sectors, and stock ticker symbols. Users can listen to the audio programs online or download them to media players as podcasts. 
For original content publishers, StreetIQ.com represent access to the thousands of unique users that visit StreetIQ.com every day. Each audio channel is branded and can be set up to be freely accessible by the general public. The website is also the gateway to a significant distribution network of more than 700 online financial channels across the Internet. 
StreetIQ.com is a wholly-owned subsidiary of FinancialContent, a publicly-traded company traded on the over-the-counter market under the ticker symbol FCON.

To view the site, go here

American Banking & Market News Picks Up News On Monster Japan Travel Guide Holiday Sale

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

American Banking & Market News has picked up the news release on the holiday sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

What is American Banking & Market News?  It is:

American Banking & Market News is a financial web-zine with up to the minute coverage of U.S. financial markets. American Banking News is part of the American Consumer News, LLC Network.

 To view the site, go here.

Monster Japan Travel Guide News Picked Up By IBTimes

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

The International Business Times and other websites have picked up the news release on the holiday sale of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

International Business Times is:

International Business Times (IBTimes) is a growing digital global news publication that delivers international business news to an audience of over 7 million in the U.S. and 13 million people worldwide every month through its network of digital publishing platforms. IBTimes provides comprehensive content around the most important business, economic and political stories from around the world, while also adhering to other niche areas that interest global readers. It is produced in 10 country editions in 7 different languages, offering in-depth coverage that is relevant and specific to each global market. IBTimes is currently the main business unit of IBT Media.
To view the site, go here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" Holiday Discount Sale

The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is now available at a holiday discount of 20% off the cover price.  The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan is the world's first and only Japan travel guide tailored to fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy films.

This holiday special offer is being offered directly from author Armand Vaquer and not from ComiXpress, the publisher.

"Additionally, to even make holiday dollars go even further, the $12.00 price also includes shipping & handling. How's that for getting into the Santa spirit?" said Vaquer.

Orders postmarked now through Monday, December 24 (Christmas Eve) are entitled to the discount.

Vaquer added, "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan makes the perfect stocking stuffer for that Japanese monster fan in your life or for yourself!"

Make check/money order payable to:

Armand Vaquer
18618 Collins Street, #105
Tarzana, CA 91356 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Have Passport, Will Travel

After a little over two weeks, my new U.S. Passport arrived in the mail.

As passports go, this one is a lot more attractive than my old one.  In the new one, there are quotes by noted Americans (Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, etc.) and scenes of Americana.  Scenes include saguaro cacti in the southwestern desert, the Grand Tetons, Independence Hall, American bison and bald eagles, Mount Rushmore, a riverboat, farmland, steam locomotive, a Kodiak bear and totem pole and the Statue of Liberty.

I didn't pay for expedited service, so I am impressed at how fast the State Department got the new one to me.

For information on getting a passport or renewing, go here.

Tokyo Tower In The Skytree Era

Above, Tokyo Tower from below.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since the Tokyo Skytree tower opened, Tokyo Tower has been pushed to "the back of the bus" as a popular tourist attraction.

News On Japan reports:

Tokyo Tower, long a symbol of Japan's period of high-speed economic growth, will turn 54 years old next month, and is trying out new strategies to remain competitive with the shiny new pillar across town. 
To deal with a dip in popularity since the opening of Tokyo Skytree in Sumida Ward, the operators of the aging tower in Minato Ward are trying to wipe out its nostalgic postwar image.
The operators of Tokyo Tower are trying to reach out to local neighborhoods and holding events.

Above, a view of Tokyo from Tokyo Tower.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Since Tokyo Tower has been the site of several kaiju battles over the years, perhaps a film festival of movies featuring Tokyo Tower is in order?  Tokyo Tower is spotlighted in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan on page 30.

To read the full article, go here.

Monsterpalooza 2013

The dates for the next Monsterpalooza have been announced:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bakers Union Wanted More Dough, But Kills Hostess Instead

The 82-year-old snack food company Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes, Ding Dongs, Hostess Fruit Pies, Donettes, Dolly Madison cakes and Wonder Bread, is going out of business due to a nationwide strike by members of the bakers union.  The Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union went on strike last week.

Hostess said they don't have the resources to weather a nationwide strike.

This will cause 18,500 Hostess employees to lose their jobs.

Hostess filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January.  They settled their labor dispute with the Teamsters Union under federal bankruptcy court supervision, but the bakers union refused to go along with the settlement and went on strike.

Hostess cited union wages and pensions for the closure as they made the company unprofitable.

Now they don't have jobs.  Nice going, guys!

Hopefully, Hostess products will be sold to other companies.  We can thank the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union for killing Hostess.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Japan Location In "Skyfall"

Above, tour boats at Nagasaki Wharf.  Do these take visitors to Hashima Island?  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

While watching the end credits for Skyfall, I noticed that Japan was listed as a location used in the movie.  I didn't remember any Japan locations in the movie, so I was puzzled by this.

Today, however, I saw an article at News On Japan and the "mystery" has been solved.  The location used was...

Hashima Island, also known as Gunkanjima (meaning "Battleship Island" for its silhouette that resembles a warship) is a 60,000-square-meter cluster of concrete ruins in the sea off Nagasaki, Japan.

This was the place where the villain Raoul Silva (played by Javier Bardem) set up his headquarters.  The place did have an interesting look to it, but I would never have associated it with Japan.  I visited Nagasaki in 2007, but I saw nothing there about Hashima Island.

One place in Skyfall that did leave a big impression on me was Shanghai, China.  The aerial shots of the city at night were beautiful.  I was thinking at the time that a visit to Shanghai would be interesting.

For more on Hashima Island, go here.

UPDATE:  Here's a link to a tour boat line that will take visitors to Hashima Island: http://www.gunkan-jima.net/.  Thanks to Thomas Patrick for the information.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Skyfall": Bond Comes Full Circle

Skyfall, the 50th anniversary film in the James Bond movie franchise, is one hell of a great movie.  In it, M's past comes back to haunt her and it is up to agent 007 to protect her.  (Sorry, if you were expecting spoilers.)

Many have written that Skyfall is the best James Bond movie.  I don't agree.  I think Goldfinger is the greatest Bond movie of them all.  But Skyfall comes very close.

For a fifty-year-old franchise, Skyfall is the perfect "anniversary movie."  James Bond of the movies (and, to an extent, of the books) comes full circle.  We have a new 'Q', we also have a new 'Miss Moneypenny' (although they have her first name wrong).  Also, we see the return of M's original office set (with the upholstered door) and Miss Moneypenny's outer office.   Those are great reminders of the Bernard Lee days as 'M.'

The story delves into James Bond's childhood and it plays a big part in the final eighth of the movie.

Daniel Craig does a great job (again) as 007.  Next to Sean Connery, I think he is the best Bond.

The movie is probably the longest (if not the longest) in running time at about two hours, twenty-three minutes.  The running time is hardly noticeable as it moves at a brisk pace.

My grade: A+.

Final Election Results For Kansas Senate District 21

The Johnson County Election Office has posted the final election results.

In the 21st State Senate race, Republican Greg Smith beat Democrat Juanita Roy for a newly-created senate seat:

For other results, go here.

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