Tag Archives: star wars

Star Wars director pays respect to Tokyo

18 Dec

Today is 2015 December 18th…the day that the latest Star Wars movie premieres in Japan.

Poster in a train station in Tokyo advertising the new Star Wars movie.

Poster in a train station in Tokyo advertising the new Star Wars movie.

Star Wars has a lot of inspirations from Japanese movies and Japanese culture.
For instance, click here to see some photos my daughter took of Darth Vader, Stormtroopers and lightsabers done up to more closely resemble the samurai and katana swords that they were modeled after.

Well, members of the cast and crew of the latest Star Wars movie were recently in Tokyo to promote the movie.
Actor John Boyega (who plays the new character “Finn“) expressed how excited he was to visit and shop in Tokyo:

Tweet by actor John Boyega on his last day in Tokyo.

Tweet by actor John Boyega on his last day in Tokyo.

And, it turns out, that there is a planet in the new Star Wars movie named in honor of Tokyo.

Tokyo is director J.J. Abrams “favorite city” and he named a planet in Star WarsTakodana” after the 高田馬場 (Takadanobaba) college-town area of Tokyo.

He was quoted in an interview about it:

“There’s a planet in this movie called Takodana and I named (it) after the first time I came to Tokyo (and) we stayed in a hostel in Takadanobaba. So it was a nod to my favorite city.”

— J.J. Abrams

Near Tokyo's 高田馬場駅 (Takadanobaba train station)

Near Tokyo’s 高田馬場駅 (Takadanobaba train station)

Samurai Star Wars

10 Dec

As the new Star Wars will hit theaters soon, advertisements and tie-ins can be seen in many places in Japan now.

But one of daughters saw a unique, “only-in-Japan” tie-in yesterday … Star Wars characters dressed as the samurai that they were likely inspired by in the first place.

My daughter took these photos for me:

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Greenery Day or Star Wars Day

4 May

It is now “Golden Week” in Japan.

April 29th was “Showa Day”. It’s called that because it was the late Showa-era Emperor’s birthday, and celebrated as such until he died 26 years ago.

May 3rd (yesterday) was “Constitution Day”. The day Japan’s post-WWII constitution was adapted.

Today, May 4th is “Greenery Day”. The day to appreciate nature.

Originally after the Showa Emperor died,  April 29th was Greenery Day because that Emperor loved nature, and May 4th was “Residents Holiday”… but it was changed about twelve years ago.

Tomorrow, May 5th is “Children’s Day”.

This year, because today is a Sunday and therefore today’s holiday is kinda ‘lost’ since it’s already a day off for most people… Tuesday, May 6th is also a day off. It’s “Greenery Day observed”.

Collectively, this holiday period is known as “Golden Week”.

Also, the new upcoming Star Wars movie (Episode VII), with the most famous faces from the first three Star Wars movies returning in their 60s or 70s will be in theaters in Japan and other countries in December 2015.

It seems that Star Wars fans around the world call May 4th (today) “Star Wars Day” because the date, May the Fourth, sounds like the well-known quote from Star Wars, “May The Force (Be With You)”.

Fellow KISS fan here in Japan, “Naokiss “, found an ad in today’s newspaper for the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII that explained that today is 「スターウォーズの日」(Star Wars Day):

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Pepsi…Vader or pirates?

4 Dec

Once again, Pepsi Japan is offering special collectors’ edition bottles and cans.

Starting last October 23rd (2012), Pepsi Japan started selling 「エナジーコーラ」 (“Energy Cola”) for a limited time in cans with an image of fire and Darth Vader from the Star Wars movies.

Energy Cola contains five ingredients that are meant to boost energy:
Royal jelly, argenine, asian ginseng, guarana extract and caffeine.

pepsi-vader

And in late November (2012), they began offering their NEX cola in bottles with images from the Japanese マンガ (manga comics) called “One Piece“.

pepsi-piece

Which would you choose?

New Pepsi Star Wars collectables

4 Mar

A little over three years ago Pepsi Japan, in collaboration with Be@rbrick, gave away Star Wars toys with purchase of Pepsi NEX.
I wrote a post about that campaign…click here to read it.

That campaign was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars movie in Japan.

Well, in about two weeks the new Star Wars 3-D movie will be in theaters in Japan.
In honor of that, Pepsi Japan is once again giving away Star Wars character toys with the purchase of Pepsi NEX.
This time the toys are made by Panson Works.

I like monsters

25 Aug

KISS has announced that they will release an album of all new songs sometime next year (2012) titled “Monster“.

KISS...still the hottest band in the world!

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always liked monsters.

When I watched the Disney cartoon “Peter Pan” as a child, for example, I didn’t care for Peter Pan or any of his friends. They were too “regular”.
Unlike Peter Pan with his pansy outfit and little knife, Captain Hook had a sword and a sharp hook instead of a hand.
(Admittedly though, Peter Pan could fly, which would be fun and Hook didn’t dress much better than Peter Pan.)
Captain Hook was the first movie character that frightened me…and even at that young age I enjoyed being frightened a bit.

Who cares about a practical prosthetic when you can have one that puts the fear of god in people?!

When I was a bit older, I saw Star Wars for the first time.  I was only seven years old when the first movie in the series was released, so I was a bit too young to fully understand the story.  But I still  enjoyed it a lot.  Especially when “Darth Vader” made his entrance!
Luke Skywalker was the hero…but Darth Vader stole every scene in was in.

The "Dark Side"

And of course I’ve always like the “traditional” monsters…Frankenstein’s Monster, The Werewolf, and Dracula.

And when I came to Japan, I learned about 妖怪 (Japanese monsters).

"Ge-ge-ge Kitaro" is Japanese cartoon inspired by traditional Japanese monster and ghost stories.

Even my favorite superhero character has always been “The Incredible Hulk“. He’s anger-incarnate. A huge pissed-off monster! The coolest of the superheroes.

Hulk will smash even Superman

Even the music I listen to reflects my interest in monsters.
I like heavy metal music. There’s a reason that the soundtracks to many horror movies are full of heavy metal music…heavy metal is to music as horror is to movies.

If you’re not interested in heavy metal, you may not know that that genre of music is further divided into sub-genres.
The sub-genre of metal music that I like the most is “Shock Rock“. It’s just as visual as it is musical. Shock Rock artist—such as KISS, W.A.S.P., Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Lordi—often look like monsters.

Alice Cooper

Anyways, as I mentioned at the top of this post, KISS will be releasing a new album soon.  The last time they they released a new album was about two years ago…it was titled “Sonic Boom“.

As I mentioned, KISS‘s new album will be titled “Monster“.  It’s an excellent album title…I can’t believe they haven’t used it before!

So far only five song titles have been confirmed by the band.  They are: “Hell Or Hallelujah”, “Born To Be A Sinner”, “Out Of This World”, “Are You Ready?”, and “Wall Of Sound”.

I’m looking forward to getting this album.

Famous fathers in pop culture

19 Jun

Today is 「父の日」 (Fathers Day).

My wife and daughters made a delicious Mexican dinner and gave me some new clothes for a Fathers Day present.
Wonderful gifts!

For my Fathers Day blog post, I thought I’d mention the first five famous fathers in pop culture that I thought of, whether they are fictional or “real”.

So, here’s my list (in no particular order):

Homer Simpson

The cartoon father figure of the American TV series “The Simpsons” is a selfish, clumsy, overweight, accident-prone father of three.
He works in a nuclear power plant but treats his responsibilities with the same importance as he does with everything else in his life…not much.

Despite all of his flaws, his family always supports him.

Archie Bunker

If you lived in America during the ’70s, then you surely know who Archie Bunker is.
He was the father figure on the popular (during the ’70s) American TV sit-com series.

On the surface, he seemed obnoxious, impatient and un-accepting of anyone different from himself. But, as much as he tried to hide it, he actually had a good heart and would stand up and help others.

Ozzy Osbourne

This is the only person on my list who isn’t a fictional character…but in many ways Ozzy Osbourne’s life has been “stranger than fiction”.

He was the original lead vocalist of the English heavy metal band “Black Sabbath” but had even more success as a solo artist after he was fired from the band he helped form.
He was infamous during the early years of his solo career for such antics as biting the heads off of a dove and a bat (on two separate occasions) and urinating on “The Alamo”, a landmark in the U.S. state of Texas (which got him banned from that state for over a decade).

In the early 2000’s, he (and most of his family) became more famous for their reality show on MTV titled “The Osbournes” about their unconventional family life.

Baka-bon-no-papa

The Japanese cartoon 「天才バカボン」 (“Tensai-Bakabon“) is actually named after the son, who is a foolish boy…but his father, simply called “Bakabon’s papa” is even dumber than his son and has become the most famous character in the Japanese comic book and TV cartoon series.

Darth Vader

The scene where Darth Vader revealed that he was Luke Skywalker's father.

Darth Vader has always been my favorite Star Wars character. He made a big impression when I was seven years old and saw him for the first time.
It was also quite a shock when I was ten and Darth Vader said “Luke, I am your father!”.

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What famous pop culture fathers can you think of?

(And, to my own father…Happy fathers day.)