Memories and Moments


Good and the Bad

Today is the 12th anniversary of 3/11 Japan and the great earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown. Over 15,000 lives were taken and 31,000 still remain displaced from their homes. My experience has been well documented here on The earthquake occurred three days after my birthday while I was living and teaching in Karuizawa. It’s a day I will never forget. And it’s one reason why I planned to return to Japan at this time. My trip is about reliving memories and moments, both good and difficult.

Last night, the Jet Jaguar & Megalon Birthday Festival『ジェットジャガー&メガロ誕生祭』was held at my favorite theater Humax Cinema in Ikebukuro 『池袋HUMAXシネマズ』. The event included a viewing of the film and talk show with Katsuhiko Sasaki (Inventor Goro Ibuki) and Hiroyuki Kawase (Rokuro ‘Roku-chan’ Ibuki). Awesome Cast figurines were available also. I will look for these on my trip. I really wanted to be there in person. I stayed in Ikebukuro on my first trip to Japan in 1994, where I saw Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla where the Humax is today. Later in 2003, I saw Godzilla Against MechaGodzilla there and Shin Godzilla (2016). There will be another event in Osaka on the 18th. Lastly, the earthquake at the opening of Godzilla vs Megalon (1973) strangely and unfortunately reminds of the events of 3/11.

Katsuhiko Sasaki (Inventor Goro Ibuki) and Hiroyuki Kawase (Rokuro 'Roku-chan' Ibuki)

Katsuhiko Sasaki and Hiroyuki Kawase at Jet Jaguar & Megalon Birthday Festival. (Photo credit: あーくん @cessna172_)

My trip is now ten days away. I will refine my to-do list and my daily intended destinations. Google Maps is an essential travel app for Japan. The app provides everything needed (option routes, time tables, connections, time estimates, costs, etc.). I map out all my major destinations before I leave for my trip and each morning during the trip, taking screenshots and detail notes when Wi-Fi is unavailable. I need to get the most out of each hour of the day. There are new places I want to see and new shops I want to find. Google will help get me there.

Here are my essential destinations: Tokyo – Nakano Broadway, Akihabara, Shibuya, Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. Nagoya – Nagoya Station, TV Tower and Osu Kannon Temple; Osaka – Osaka Castle, Twin 21, Godzilla Store, secret destination. Some of the new places I intend to visit include: Jimbocho, National Showa Museum and Godzilla The Ride. I have three secret destinations I will reveal when I arrive at them. Stay tuned!

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