Watershed Years


I spent some time looking through my boxes of my collectibles. It’s great when you find things thought lost many years ago. Among those things I found milestone pieces that marked my life as a Godzilla fan. A few days ago this cool Godzilla’s 40th Anniversary pin arrived in the mail from Buyee Japan. And it got me thinking. Big things happened in my life on Godzilla’s big birthdays.

Godzilla 30th Birthday flier (1984), Godzilla vs Space Godzilla Ikebukuro theater stamp and ticket stub recovered from my basement boxes and newly acquired Godzilla 40th Anniversary pin

Looking back over the years, Godzilla’s anniversaries were watershed moments in my life. Figures, toys, books, and other collectibles are time capsules that hold precious memories. Upon sight, they unlock wonderful feelings of nostalgia and memories of some of happiest moments in life. I bought this pin because it was an important year in my life. Here are four pivotal years that span forty decades of my life shaped by Godzilla’s birthdays.

The Rocketships & Accessories Godzilla 30th Anniversary Celebration flier (1984)


In 1983, Toho put on the Godzilla Revival Festival to pave the way for his 30th anniversary return to big screen in Godzilla (1984). In 1984, my life was turned upside down by the announcement of the return of Godzilla and the discovery of the toy shop Rocketships & Accessories in downtown Philadelphia. The shop was throwing Godzilla a big 30th birthday party. Mrs Regina, my best friend Eric’s mom, took us to the party. That day I bought my first Japan collectible, the Bandai MechaGodzilla figure. And nothing was the same ever again.

Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla (1994) playing in Tokyo during my first trip


Ten years later, in 1994, I went to Japan for the first time. Godzilla was turning 40 and my trip was like a rite of passage. The year before I went to the Japanese marketplace, Yaohan (now known as Mitsuwa) in Edwater, NJ. I loved my experience there so much that I declared I was going to Japan. I landed in December of 2014, only a few months after the Great Godzilla Expo. I stayed at the Holiday Inn in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. I saw Godzilla vs Space Godzilla (1994) three times during my trip. Japan changed me forever.

My first Godzilla toy photograph and mini-poster (2014)


I have a lost decade from 2004 to 2014 during which I spent many years in Japan but I didn’t think much about Godzilla. In the Spring of 2014, I was winding up my life and residency in Nagoya, Japan. Since 2008, Japan had been my home away from home for at least 6-8 months out of every year. Godzilla was turning 60 years old and America was getting another chance to do right by Godzilla on the silver screen. Godzilla was taking over Nagoya holding Nana-chan in his grip. That year is special for me because I decided to start collecting Godzilla again after a long hiatus. And then I fell in love with Godzilla toy photography. After a long day of Godzilla shopping, I was watching a Godzilla movie and was moved to setup a shot with the Bandai Yuji Sakai miniature Godzilla in “The Shee” pose. Little did I know in the future that I would become an official Godzilla toy photography and that I would do exclusive photography for the great Godzilla sculptor Yuji Sakai.

My first X-Plus box art between my highly influential Bandai The特撮Series Collection Godzilla and MechaGodzilla model kits


In 2019 Godzilla turned 65 and Japan was throwing him a big birthday bash on Godzilla Day (November 11), the day of his first movie debut in 1954. Earlier that year, I was in Japan for a secret meeting at X-Plus headquarters to meet Gee Okimoto-san and members of the X-Plus team. Well later that year, my first email from X-Plus arrived requesting a photo of my favorite Godzilla foe, MechaGodzilla 1974. In December, my toy photography was featured on the X-Plus Soft Vinyl Model Kit box. That day I was a little part of Godzilla’s history. As Godzilla was making history, perhaps I was as well. It has not only been a monumental achievement in my life but perhaps there was a bigger history at work. My brother said that I may have made African American history as the first African-American Godzilla toy photographer.