"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.)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Free Library Picks Up Mad Monster Party News

The Free Library.com has picked up the news release on the Mad Monster Party convention that Haruo "Mr. Godzilla" Nakajima and I will be attending.  The convention runs March 22-24 at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

About The Free Library:

Since 2003, The Free Library has offered free, full-text versions of classic literary works from hundreds of celebrated authors, whose biographies, images, and famous quotations can also be found on the site. Recently, The Free Library has been expanded to include a massive collection of periodicals from hundreds of leading publications covering Business and Industry, Communications, Entertainment, Health, Humanities, Law, Government, Politics, Recreation and Leisure, Science and Technology, and Social Sciences. This collection includes millions of articles dating back to 1984 as well as newly-published articles that are added to the site daily. 
The Free Library is an invaluable research tool and the fastest, easiest way to locate useful information on virtually any topic. Explore the site through a keyword search, or simply browse the enormous collection of literary classics and up-to-date periodicals to find exactly what you need.

I will be moderating Mr. Nakajima's convention sessions as well as selling The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

To visit the website, go here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Last Batch of Nakajima Prints Completed

The last batch of photographs of Haruo Nakajima have been printed after being fixed and cleaned up by Grand Prints of North Hollywood for next month's Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The convention runs March 22-24 at the Blake Hotel.

To see the work done by Grand Prints, here's a "before & after" of one of the images:


Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.


Kevin James For Los Angeles Mayor

Los Angeles voters have the chance to vote for a new direction for the city on March 5.

None of the major candidates for Los Angeles Mayor has a credible record of fiscal responsibility, except one: Kevin James.

All the major candidates have been part of the corrupt governing class in Los Angeles who voted for the near-bankruptcy of the city in supporting outlandish union pensions and are tools of the union bosses, except one: Kevin James.

None of the major candidates has the support of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riodan, except one: Kevin James.

On March 5, vote to restore sanity to the City of Los Angeles by voting for Kevin James for Mayor.

To go to the official Kevin James campaign website, go here.

Haruo Nakajima

Above, Haruo Nakajima in 2008.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

When people think of the “Godfathers of Godzilla,” they usually think of three men: Tomoyuki Tanaka, Ishiro Honda and Eiji Tsuburaya. However, there is also a fourth Godfather: Haruo Nakajima. His importance in making Godzilla a fifty year-plus success story cannot be denied.

Nakajima, an actor and stuntman, first donned the Godzilla suit in Godzilla (1954) and continued to play Godzilla and other creatures, including King Kong in King Kong Escapes, Rodan in Rodan, Gaila in War of the Gargantuas, Varan, Moguerra, Mothra and many others. He played Godzilla in twelve features and monsters in twenty six movies, in addition to TV appearances. His skills as a suit actor became so important that he gained the additional responsibility of becoming the choreographer of titanic monster battles in Toho’s daikaiju eiga epics.

When Nakajima was offered the chance to work in Hollywood productions, Eiji Tsuburaya (angrily) asked him to turn down the offer because, as he said, they couldn’t make giant monster movies without Nakajima.

Above, Nakajima donning the Godzilla suit in
1954.  Note the miniature of the Wako Dept.
store in the background.  Photo courtesy of
Sonoe Nakajima.

Haruo Nakajima was born on New Year’s Day in 1929 in Yamagata, Japan. He began his career acting in samurai movies. “I was always the one who got killed in a sword fight,” Nakajima says. “One day, I played a pilot in Eagle of the Pacific by Ishiro Honda. In the Midway battle scene, my plane is hit by a bomb. I’m on fire and jump out.  Nowadays, stuntmen specialize in those things, but at the time I was the first Japanese actor to perform such a stunt. This role established my reputation. When they were looking for an actor for Godzilla, they felt I was ideal for it.”

He adds, “They probably thought, ‘He does anything without getting hurt.’” Not always. “When I played the monster Varan,” he said, “a squad of kamikaze planes approached me [to attack]. The explosion [from a special effects bomb] occurred under my thighs. I was burned all the way up to my tummy, but I couldn’t tell anybody during the shoot. Actors didn’t complain at the time (laughs).”

Efforts are now in progress to have Haruo Nakajima inducted into the Rondo Hatton Classic Monster Awards "Monster Kid Hall of Fame."

The Mad Monster Party 2013 will mark the first time in two years that Nakajima-san has attended a North American fan convention. His previous appearance was at Monsterpalooza in Hollywood, California in 2011.

This year, he is accompanied by his daughter, Sonoe Nakajima.  Although Mr. Nakajima does not speak fluent English, fans have found him to be a warm and funny man ready to discuss his monster experiences. He is always happy to greet his public and sign autographs. Please take advantage of this opportunity to honor and meet the man who brought Godzilla and other monsters to life.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nakajima In Monster Kid HoF: Get Involved!

Above, Haruo Nakajima in Hollywood.  Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.

Well, the ball's started rolling about getting Haruo Nakajima inducted into the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards' "Monster Kid Hall of Fame."

I posted notices on this at some of the Godzilla-related forums as well as on Monster Island News and Godzilla 3D blogs (besides here).

I hope and ask that prominent kaiju experts who have their own websites or blogs (such as Sci Fi Japan, G-Fan, August Ragone, Stuart Galbraith IV, Steve Ryfle, Jeff Horne and others) post notices on getting Mr. Nakajima into the "Monster Kid Hall of Fame" and participate in the G.O.T.V. (Get Out The Vote) effort.

I have no interest in any sort of "ego thing" or credit on this, I just would like to see everyone band together in getting this accomplished for Mr. Nakajima.  Six slots are available, so this can be done if we get everyone involved in the voting.

All are welcome in this effort!  Pass the word!

Vote For Haruo Nakajima For Monster Kid Hall of Fame

The 2012 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards ballot is now up.

Now is the time to submit your votes.  I personally have nothing on the ballot, but you can place a write-in vote for the following:  Haruo Nakajima as an inductee into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame.

35. And finally, help us again: Who do you think should be this year's inductees into the Monster Kid Hall of Fame?

ALREADY INDUCTED ARE: Bob and Kathy Burns, Forrest J Ackerman and James Warren, Zacherley and Vampira, Ray Harryhausen, Ray Bradbury, Alex and Richard Gordon, William K. Everson, Rick Baker, Basil Gogos, Roger Corman, Dick Klemensen, Gary and Sue Svehla, James Bama and Bobby 'Boris' Pickett, Paul and Jackie Blaisdell, Joe Dante, Don Glut, Jack Davis, German Robles and Frank Frazetta; Bernie Wrightson, Ben Chapman, Cortlandt Hull and Dennis Vincent, Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, Archie Goodwin and Ghoulardi.Ken Kelly, Jim and Marian Clatterbaugh, Bob Wilkins, Calvin Beck, Paul Naschy, Lux Interior, Bob Lemon and Ray Meyers, Bill Warren, Dennis Druktenis, Sammy Terry and Frederick S. Clarke; Tim and Donna Lucas, William Stout, Ron Borst, George A. Romero, Tom Weaver and Verne Langdon. Last year: Julie Adams, David Skal, George Stover, Michael Stein, Morgus, Mark Frank. 
Who should join them? 
Tell us your suggestions. We'll pick six more.

This is your chance to vote for (as a write-in, of course) Haruo Nakajima.    To vote, go here and follow the directions.

Monday, February 25, 2013

BizWire Express Picks Up Mad Monster Party News

BizWire Express picked up the news release on the Mad Monster Party to be held March 22-24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Haruo "Mr. Godzilla" Nakajima will be participating in a panel moderated by yours truly.

BizWire Express is:

The aim of BizWire Express is to provide you with the latest information covering all aspects of your life. To achieve this we have tied up with a number of content partners from around the world, bringing you news in real time. 
With our list of content partners growing, BizWire Express is on track to becoming one of the leading news Web sites on the Internet.
To view the site, go here.

Best Travel Ideas Picks Up Mad Monster Party News

Above, Haruo Nakajima getting into the Godzilla suit
in 1954.  Note the miniature of the Wako Dept. Store in
the background.  Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.

Best Travel Ideas.net has picked up the news release on Haruo Nakajima and my attendance at the upcoming Mad Monster Party convention.

As the name implies, Best Travel Ideas is a website for those looking for ideas on world travel.

To view the site, go here.

"Skyfall" Wins Two Oscars

Above, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench.

Finally, at long last, a James Bond title song was awarded with an Oscar.

It was Skyfall for Best Original Song (music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth).  Skyfall also took an Oscar (in a tie with Zero Dark Thirty) for Best Sound Editing (Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers).

Several Bond themes and scores deserved Oscars (Goldfinger immediately comes to mind along with many scores by John Barry), but were passed over.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Article On Tsukiji Fish Market Submitted To JapanTourist

Above, fish for sale near the Tsukiji Fish Market.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The first non-kaiju travel article has been submitted to JapanTourist this morning.  It is on the Tsukiji Central Wholesale Fish Market (commonly known as the Tsukiji Fish Market) that is located in the Chuo Ward of Tokyo, Japan.

I paid an early-morning visit to the fish market in December 2010 and found it quite interesting and the meal I had at a nearby restaurant ranked as the best sushi meal I ever had.

I will post a notice once the article is posted.

Mad Monster Party News Picked Up By AAA Anime

Above, Godzilla (Haruo Nakajima) approches Nagoya Castle.

AAA Anime picked up the Anime News Network posting of the press release on the Mad Monster Party.  The press release is on the attendance of Haruo Nakajima and I at the March 22-24 convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

AAA Anime is "the premiere North American distributor for pop culture products."

To see AAA Anime's posting, go here.

King Kong Turns 80 This Year

Ken Hulsey at Monster Island News posted a story on the 80th anniversary of RKO's King Kong.

I was going to do my own write-up, but I really can't add much to the narrative.

However, it did jog a memory of Kong's 50th anniversary in 1983.  My late mother was grousing about the media attention of  King Kong's 50th anniversary.  She said at the time, "All it does is remind me of my age!"  She, like Kong, came into the world in 1933.  I didn't really appreciate what she said about it until 2004, when Godzilla's 50th anniversary was celebrated.

Godzilla was produced and released in 1954.  I was born in 1954.  I said to my mom at the time, "Now I know how you felt in 1983 with King Kong's 50th anniversary!"

To read the Monster Island News article, go here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rondo Awards Voting Starts Monday

It has been announced at the Classic Horror Film Board that the 2012 Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards voting (by fans) will begin this coming Monday.

The Rondo Awards are for the best in classic horror such as movies, books, magazines, articles, model kits, magazine covers, etc.

I placed in nomination Haruo Nakajima for the Hall of Fame category and Stan Lee's Comikaze Expo 2012 for the Best Convention category.  We'll see if either (or both) made it to the ballot.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Grand Prints

One of the things I had to do in preparation for Haruo "Mr. Godzilla" Nakajima's appearance at the Mad Monster Party convention next month (March 22-24) in Charlotte, North Carolina was to get photo prints made for autograph-seekers.

I checked around and found that some photo service companies either could not handle a bulk order at reasonable cost or just don't do black & white photography, amongst other things.

Persistence usually pays off and it did again when I found Grand Prints out of North Hollywood, California.

Grand Prints were able to handle a bulk order of black & white prints and, most importantly, at a reasonable price.

They have experience in photo restoration, enlargements and celebrity headshots (they showed me some recent Star Trek celebrity photos they completed).

Since they have experience in handling celebrity photographs, were reasonably-priced and able to handle bulk black & white orders, I enlisted them to make Mr. Nakajima's photos from some that Sonoe Nakajima sent.

Below is one of the images that Sonoe Nakajima sent.  The top one is before image restoration and the second is after Grand Prints worked their photo magic in restoring it.



The image was greatly improved with various scratches and other blemishes removed.

Grand Prints can handle photographic needs for customers from anywhere.  They can take orders through their website and work with images sent via email.

I recommend Grand Prints.  Their website is: http://www.grandprints.com/

Are Student Loans Worth It?

Talk show host Dennis Prager had an interesting topic two days ago.  He asked if student tuition loans are really worth it.

He mentioned one woman working in a law office as a receptionist.  She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree, is making $35,000 per year, but has $100,000 in student loan debt.  How is she going to pay that off?  If she is resentful over this, who can blame her? 

How often have you sat at your office after going through college to earn your degree(s) and felt underpaid and under-employed and asked, "My degrees got me this?!"

Liberals have damaged the higher education system by taking control of student loans and touting that "everyone should get a college education and we'll help you get a student loan to do it." 

As Prager pointed out, one can basically sleep in class for four years and still get a B.A. Degree today. 

The problem is, once someone does go to a college or university and incurs enormous debt, they end up with a job (if they're lucky enough to find a job in this Obama economy) that doesn't pay enough for them to both live on and pay off their student loans.

Many graduates with degrees are finding themselves mired in debt and trying to pay their loans off and not being able to buy the things or do the things they want.  Many are also putting off starting families as they can't afford to start one (raising kids ain't cheap).

Luckily, when I was in college age in the 1970s, I went to a two-year community college and earned my Associate In Arts Degree and then transferred to California State University, Long Beach.   At that time, the cost of a college education was relatively cheap (only a few dollars per unit) along with associated fees.  My parents paid for the bulk of it while I worked part-time to pay for my books.  This worked out great for me. 

My daughter got a lot of scholarships and grants for her tuition at Cal Lutheran University.  But she still has some student loans she has to pay off.

By the time I graduated from Cal State, I had no student loan debt to worry about.  By trying to make college or university more accessible to everyone, the demand went up and so did the costs.  The law of supply & demand coupled with government meddling is rearing its ugly head.

Prager also said that if someone goes to a college or university as a biology major (or anything else in the natural sciences), make sure you get your money's worth.  Speaking of money's worth, he feels that the social sciences are a big waste of money and they are only seminaries of leftist teachings.

Some people are better off by going to a trade school or pursuing one's interests and become an entrepreneur in their passion.   These options may better suit them and also won't saddle them with enormous student loan debt.

It might just be a good idea to think twice before heading into an educational path that will saddle you with student loan debt.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Anime News Network Picks Up Mad Monster Party News

Above, Haruo Nakajima suiting up.  Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.

Good news!

The Anime News Network (ANN) has picked up the press release on Haruo Nakajima's and my appearance at next month's (March 22-24) Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

ANN is possibly the biggest news source in the world of anime, but they also post news on other Japan-related genres on occasion.  Thankfully, this is one of those occasions.

Their website has a lot of reach on the Internet and their feeds are picked up by many other websites.

To view the article, go here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Hot Water (and Other Stuff)

One negative in apartment living is that you're at the mercy of the building owners when something goes wrong.

We have been out of hot water since Monday morning.  The water heater sprung a leak and it needed to be replaced.  It is a little complicated process as it is on the roof and a crane has to be brought in to remove the old water heater and lift up the new one.

Finally, the new water heater was brought in and installed and this evening, I was able to take a hot shower and shave (I looked stylishly unshaven with three days of growth).  But that shave felt good!

One plus in apartment living is that the cost of all this is borne by the building owner.

It is amazing how time flies.  It seems only yesterday that I last went to the optometrist and got some new prescription glasses.  It turns out that I last went in 2008.
Above, with the old pair of eyeglasses.
Well, due to a minor mishap, I had to get a new prescription as the old pair expired.  This was accomplished  this morning.  My roomie wanted me to get some "smaller" frames.  I really don't like the skinny frames that are in "fashion" these days.  Wait 'til she sees what I ordered.

This time, I am getting Transitions lenses so I don't have to change from regular eyeglasses to sunglasses.

Things are moving along great the next month's trek to the Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have plenty of copies of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan to bring along.

Speaking of which, this is the second month in a row that the hard copy sales have exceeded the ebook sales on Amazon's Kindle Store.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Birthday Don Glut!

Above, Don Glut at home in front of the poster of
"The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty."  Photo by
Armand Vaquer.

Today, writer, producer, movie director, screenwriter, amateur paleontologist, musician and actor Donald F. "Dinosaur Don" Glut celebrates his 30th anniversary of his 39th birthday.

Glut is one of the movers and shakers at Frontline Entertainment, producers of The Mummy's Kiss and The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty (featuring actress/model Christine Nguyen).  He is currently working on a werewolf movie.

Happy Birthday, Don!

Osaka Launching Tourism Bureau

Above, Osaka Castle.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.
The city of Osaka is now opening a tourism bureau to promote tourism to the city.

Kyodo News reported:

Local governmental officials in Osaka decided Monday to launch a bureau in April to boost tourism. 
The new office is designed to handle the overall tourism strategy of the Osaka city and prefectural governments and will be headed by Kunio Kano, a former Hong Kong Tourism Board official. 
The local governments in western Japan aim to attract 6.5 million tourists from overseas annually by 2020. 
In 2011, 1.58 million foreign tourists visited Osaka Prefecture, declining from 2.35 million in 2010 due mostly to the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan, according to the prefectural government.

As kaiju fans are aware, Osaka was the setting for the big battle between Godzilla and Anguirus in the first sequel to Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again (1955) (known here as the butchered Gigantis The Fire Monster).  The battle took place at Osaka Castle.

Above, Osaka Business Park, used in "Godzilla vs. Biollante."
 Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Osaka was also one of the locations used in 1989's Godzilla vs. Biollante.

To read the full article, go here.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting Prepared

Above, Haruo Nakajima takes a break during filming of "Mothra vs. Godzilla" (1964).
Photo courtesy of Sonoe Nakajima.

Things are proceeding nicely for Haruo Nakajima's appearance at the Mad Monster Party.

Photographic prints for autographs are now being made (I saw the proofs and they look damn good, if I say so myself).  Prices for Mr. Nakajima's autographed photos hasn't been set as yet.  I am checking with Sonoe Nakajima about having his autobiography available (be forewarned, it is in Japanese, but at least the photos in it are in English).

As for myself, I am already prepared as I ordered a new shipment of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan months ago.

For more information on the Mad Monster Party, go here.

More News Sites Picking Up Mad Monster Party News

Above, Haruo Nakajima and Armand in 2008.

The websites picking up the news release on the Mad Monster Party are mounting.

USA Today.com is one of those picking up the news on Haruo Nakajima and my attendance at the convention set for March 22-24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The release is in their Charlotte Topics page.

Another one is American Banking & Market News.  According to their "About" page:
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.

 Silobreaker.com also picked up the news release.  To view it, go here.

Merrily We Roll Along

Things are moving along quite nicely.

The news release on the Mad Monster Party is popping up at different sites, including City Travel Guide, Silobreaker, Seikouen Bonsai Japanese Directory, Best Traveller, Otaku Culture and elsewhere.

One big Godzilla fan is comic book writer and columnist Tony Isabella.  I will see about getting him an autographed photo of Haruo Nakajima as a "thank-you" for last year's article in the late, great Comics Buyer's Guide on The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan. (Someone at the convention please remind me, in case I forget!)

For more information on Mad Monster Party, go here.

City Travel Guide Picks Up Mad Monster Party News

City Travel Guide.com has picked up the news release on The Mad Monster Party that will take place on March 22-24 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The site is run by Leroy Daniau of Colwich, Kansas.

To view the site, go here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Best Traveller Picks Up Mad Monster Party News

Travel-oriented and other websites are starting to pick up new on Haruo Nakajima's and my attendance at the upcoming Mad Monster Party convention on March 22-24 at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The latest is Best Traveller.net.  The site apparently goes through some sort of odd translation before it is posted in English.  For some reason, the word great got changed into "good gathering guest" amongst other things.

To view the site, go here.

Mad Monster Party Publicity Machine Kicking In

Above, besides donning the full-sized Rodan suit in "Rodan" (1956), Haruo Nakajima (second from left, standing
behind) also appeared as himself in several kaiju movies.  These will be explored during his sessions at
the Mad Monster Party next month in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Photo: Toho Co., Ltd.

The news release on Haruo Nakajima and my attendance at the Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, North Carolina was distributed right on schedule (midnight, Pacific Time).

We are already expecting about (if memory serves, from what I was told) 4,000 to 5,000.  Once the ol' publicity machine really kicks in, the final numbers should exceed that.

For more information on the Mad Monster Party, go here.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

"One Giant Leap" of "Mr. Godzilla" For Mad Monster Party

Above, Haruo Nakajima.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The appearance of Haruo "Mr. Godzilla" Nakajima at the 2013 Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, North Carolina made another "one giant leap" today.

The organizers for the convention just obtained airline tickets for Mr. Nakajima and his daughter Sonoe.

For additional information on the Mad Monster Party, go here.

Zombies and Osama bin Laden

I managed to see a couple of movies today from 2012.  They could not be any more different.

The first was Cabin In The Woods.  This movie is a horror-comedy spoofing the slasher and zombie movies that are so much in vogue these days.

Cabin in the Woods was directed and co-written by Drew Goddard and co-written and produced by Joss Whedon (of Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angel fame).

It had some good laughs in the typical Whedon way.  My grade: B+.


The second movie is one that is under consideration for the Academy Awards (in fact, we saw it on an award screener DVD).  It is Zero Dark Thirty.

It is the story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden by the Central Intelligence Agency and his ultimate execution in Pakistan.  Thank goodness it didn't have Barack Obama parading around with bin Laden's corpse a la Weekend At Bernie's.

Zero Dark Thirty was typically Hollywoodized, but it was entertaining.  My grade: A.

Colorado Gun Control Package May Cost Jobs

The Looney Left Report

Democrats in Colorado are pushing a gun control package that may cost the state several hundred jobs.

Fox News reports:

A package of gun control measures that won initial approval in Colorado's Democratic-controlled House Friday night could result in several hundred jobs lost at the state's largest manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines. 
Erie-based Magpul Industries has threatened to leave the state if lawmakers are successful in passing the sweeping gun-control package, which limits the number of rounds a magazine can hold, according to The Denver Post.

Naturally, Leftist Democrats are hell-bent on advancing their agenda in shoving gun control down people's throats, no matter the cost to law-abiding citizens or that it is an infringement of their Second Amendment rights.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/16/colorado-gun-bill-could-cost-state-hundreds-jobs/#ixzz2L4v3AN3w

Presser To Hit At Midnight

Above, Armand with the Godzilla statue at Toho Studios.

Word has been received that my news release on the Mad Monster Party convention (March 22-24) will be distributed at midnight tonight (Pacific Time) or at 3:00 AM (Eastern Time).

I will be attending to moderate the original Godzilla suit-actor Haruo Nakajima's sessions and will be selling The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

As my table will be next to Mr. Nakajima's, I will be assisting him and his daughter Sonoe with their autograph sales.

The Mad Monster Party will be at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina.

For more information on the Mad Monster Party, go here.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Mad Monster Party Press Release

The following news release has been sent out:

Armand Vaquer, author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan," will be attending the Mad Monster Party convention March 22-24 at the Blake Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
Vaquer will be selling "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" in the vendors room. He will also moderate panels featuring the original Godzilla suit-actor, Haruo Nakajima. 
Nakajima played the "King of the Monsters" from the original movie in 1954 to 1972's "Godzilla vs. Gigan." 
"Haruo Nakajima has been a great convention guest in past years. He began his career as an actor and stuntman in samurai and war movies and the producers of Godzilla movies took note of his stamina when they were looking for someone to don the heavy rubber monster suits," said Vaquer. "He and I will have adjoining tables in the vendors room where fans can obtain autographed photos from him and get "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan."" 
"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" is the world's first and only Japan travel guide to monster movie locations and landmarks. 
For additional information on the Mad Monster Party convention, go to the official website at TheMadMonsterParty.com.

Today's "Panic In The Sky"

Above, the meteor over Russia.

Astronomical news is making a big "splash" in the media today.

First, the story of a 150-foot asteroid passing within 17,000 from Earth this morning.  This is closer than some satellites.  Thankfully, the big rock won't strike out planet.

NBC News Cosmic Log has some streaming video.  To view it, go here.

Above, the asteroid from the 1953 "Adventures of Superman" episode, "Panic In The Sky."

Next, even more spectacularly, is the explosion of a 10-ton meteor over Russia's Ural Mountains.  About 1,000 people in Russia were injured when a meteor exploded with the power of an atomic bomb.  The explosion's shock waves (sonic boom) sent glass shards and debris flying, causing injuries to people who ran to their windows to see what the bright flash the meteor gave off was.

Fox News has a full report with photos and videos here.

ANA's "Is Japan Cool?" Campaign

Above, the Godzilla statue in Hibiya wasn't included.  Not "cool" enough?  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) has started a campaign, "Is Japan Cool?" to entice American travelers to visit Japan.

According to the New York Business Journal:

The folks at All Nippon Airways sure hope we Americans think Japan is cool. The Japanese airline, which flies daily nonstop from New York's JFK to Tokyo, is launching a concerted push in the United States this month to entice Americans to visit the carrier’s home country. 
To help generate interest in Japan and its culture, ANA has developed a colorful Website, www.ana-cooljapan.com, filled with short videos that introduce viewers to different parts of the country and to unusual aspects of the Japanese lifestyle.
I perused ANA's site and there's some interesting "cool" subjects to look at.  Unfortunately, no kaiju-related items (aren't those cool?) but giant robots were.  Perhaps they'll add some kaiju later.

To read the full article, go here.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

All Nippon Airways Named "Airline of the Year"

Above, ANA at the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show in  Long Beach.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA) has garnered an award for "Best Airline of the Year" for 2013, according to an article in Japan Today.

They wrote:
TOKYO —ANA, Japan’s largest airline group, has been named 2013 Airline of the Year by Air Transport World (ATW), the leading monthly magazine covering the global airline industry. 
ATW Editor-in-Chief, Karen Walker, commended ANA for “its exceptional financial performance, fiscal management, customer service and technology leadership that set the bar for the entire global airline industry”. She also added that “when you put in the kind of financial reports that ANA consistently posted through 2012 and provide excellent customer service despite a challenging market, that’s the signature of a first-rate airline.”

While I have not flown to Japan on ANA (I did take a commuter flight with them from Osaka to Tokyo), I have to agree that they are a first-class operation.

Above, Armand trying out ANA's Business Class seats at the Long Beach Travel & Adventure Show.

I was very much impressed at the display they set up at the Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show last month in Long Beach.  They went far beyond any other airline at the show with their exhibits of their new Business Class and Economy Class seating.  I tried them both out.

To read the full article, go here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On The Scoreboard

JapanTourist has a program in which contributors earn points for contributing to the site with articles that can be redeemed for "real stuff" from their commercial partners.

Rankings are listed in their Contributor Banzuke page.  In sumo wrestling, the rankings of wrestlers are posted in a notice called a "banzuke."

Commercial partners include Delta Airlines, Solare Hotels and Resorts, Adidas, Loisir Hotel,  148 Hiroo and others.

Now that I have exceeded 3,000 points, I am now listed in the Contributor Banzuke.

JapanTourist: Tokyo Tower, The Monster Magnet

Above, Tokyo Tower in the distance from the Sumida River.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Before the Tokyo Sky Tree, there was (and is) Tokyo Tower.

Tokyo Tower has been featured in a number of kaiju movies over the years, the last being in Godzilla Final Wars (and in an imaginary sequence of a CGI Godzilla blasting it at the beginning of Always: Sunset On Third Street 2).

My latest JapanTourist article, "Tokyo Tower, The Monster Magnet" is now posted.

To see it, go here.

Tokyo Tower Article Submitted

Above, the Moon and Tokyo Tower.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The sixth monster-oriented article for JapanTourist has been completed and submitted to the administrators.

It is on Tokyo Tower, the location of several monster movies including Mothra (1961), King Kong Escapes (1967) and several others.

Tokyo Tower is also featured on page 30 of The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

JapanTourist is a new travel website database for those in visiting the "Land of the Rising Sun."

Once the article is approved and posted, I will post a notice with a link on this blog.

Japan: To Go Or Not To Go?

Above, Osaka Castle.  Photo by Armand Vaquer.

Fox News's website has an article on different international destinations, and for each the question is posed: To go or not to go?

Japan is included and here's what the article says:

2012 saw an increase of 30 percent in tourism to Japan over the preceding year, according to the Japan National Tourist Organization. It's no wonder people stayed away in 2011: In March of that year the nation was rocked by the largest earthquake in its history, a magnitude 9 quake that destroyed buildings and triggered a tsunami on the island's northeast coast, causing the deaths of thousands and a meltdown at a major nuclear-power plant, including a release of dangerous radiation. But millions have returned to Japan in the past year, buoyed by the nation's swift recovery efforts. Today, major destinations such as Tokyo are completely safe and 2013 may even set a record for visitors.

To go or not to go?  Well, go to the link below and find out!

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/02/12/to-go-or-not-to-go-2013/#ixzz2Ko1qO3aj

"Skyfall" Blu-ray

The newly-released Skyfall Blu-ray made it to my collection yesterday and it is one that fans of the 50-year-old franchise must get.

Besides the Blu-ray disc, the package also includes a second disc that includes DVD version of the movie along with software and instructions for streaming/downloading for portable media players.

The Blu-ray picture quality and sound are fantastic.  I already posted at how gorgeous the night scenes of Shanghai, China are, but the Blu-ray really makes them stand out (other night shots of London and Macau are equally as impressive).

There are plenty of extras, including the theatrical trailer, making of Skyfall documentaries (locations, music, M, Judi Dench, the Aston Martin and many others) and commentaries.  Great stuff!

The folks at Eon Productions, MGM and Columbia Pictures really made Bond's 50th Anniversary something very special. Skyfall is one great 50th Anniversary movie.

My grade: A+.

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