Kaijuvision Radio Published in Nippon Quarterly – Fort Wayne’s Japanese Language Newsletter

by Brian Scherschel

As you know, Kaijuvision is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  The local Japanese language newsletter in town is called the “Nippon Quarterly”, and they published Brian’s description of our podcast – AND they translated it into Japanese!

The Nippon Quarterly’s motto is “Everything Japanese in the Fort Wayne Area”, and is edited by Michele Yamanaka.  The newsletter is sponsored by the Japanese-American Association of Indiana, Inc. (JASI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1988.  The JASI also sponsors the yearly Cherry Blossom Festival in Fort Wayne, which Nate and I visited this summer.

You can learn more about the JASI and their mission here: https://www.facebook.com/pg/japanindiana/about/?ref=page_internal

One of Kaijuvision’s goals is promoting cultural understanding between the United States and Japan, one of our most important allies in East Asia and the world.  Yes, our podcast is about kaiju and other Japanese movies, but as our listeners know, we do so much more than that.

And the newsletter page looks so nice!

 

 

2018 Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival Recap

by Nathan Marchand

On May 20, Brian and I attended the Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival, a local event that celebrates Japanese culture.  It was held at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library.  It’s essentially a free one-day convention.  This was the event’s 11th year.  As we’ve mentioned before, one of Fort Wayne’s sister cities is Takaoka, so it makes sense to hold a festival each year centered on Japan.  It was my second time at the event and Brian’s first.

As the event’s website proclaims, “Five hours…so little time and so much to do!”  That was definitely true.  We had to choose our activities carefully.

First, we watched a performance by Fort Wayne Taiko.  As explained on their website, “Taiko is a Japanese musical tradition that means ‘big drum.’ The large, hollow, skin-covered drums used in taiko are played vertically, horizontally or diagonally to create a range of vibrant rhythms. But taiko isn’t simply about sound. Its characteristic beat is achieved through choreographed arm movements, as drummers ‘dance’ their sticks from drum to drum.”  They’re the only such group in Fort Wayne and one of the few in the Midwest, which makes them unique in our area.  I love watching them. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Next was the opening ceremony presided over by Fort Wayne’s mayor, Tom Henry, and Consul-General Naoki Ito.  After a quick lunch from some local Japanese restaurants, we watched a performance from the Minyo Club of Indianapolis.  Minyo is a style of Japanese folk music and dance originally practiced by people as they worked.

Minyo Club of Indianapolis.  (Photo by Brian Scherschel)

Next was one of the highlights of the day: the planting of a cherry blossom tree.  Consul-General Ito brought five that were to be planted all over the city, including one in front of the library.  Both he and Mayor Henry broke ground with shovels and Laura Stine of Laura Stine Gardens planted it.  (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Afterward, we had the privilege of meeting Ito-san and telling him about our podcast.  He seemed impressed with our work and told us to keep it up.  It was also one of the few times I’ve seen Brian starstruck, and it was for a Japanese diplomat! (Which, honestly, isn’t surprising if you know Brian).

Brian (left) with Ito and me (right) with Ito.  (Left photo by Nathan Marchand, right photo by Brian Scherschel)

We next saw Heartland Sings, a local vocal group, perform acapella versions of several video game and J-pop songs.  My favorite was their Super Mario Bros. medley.  Interestingly, they went from the festival to a local church to perform liturgical songs. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

After mingling with the vendors, we attended an event Brian wanted to make sure we didn’t miss: the tea ceremony.  This is a tradition that goes back centuries and involves the ceremonial preparation and presentation of a powdered green tea called matcha.  We were able to watch a condensed version of the ceremony while a young woman, who was a student of tea master, explained everything.  It was fascinating to watch.

The Japanese tea ceremony.  (Photo by Brian Scherschel)

Then we saw a martial arts demonstration by the Indianapolis Kendo Club.  I’ve long been interested in martial arts, so I always make sure to watch demonstrations like this.  I was surprised at how noisy kendo is, but even that has the purpose of releasing the practitioner’s energy.  The most thought-provoking thing I learned was that a strike in kendo is only to illustrate that the practitioner has already won the fight. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Brian left after that, but I stuck around for the cosplay contest.  This featured a parade of anime and video characters.  The top three consisted of two Pokemon characters and a female rendition of the dragon Shenron from DragonBall. (Photo below by Nathan Marchand).

Overall, it was a fun and educational experience.  Not unlike our podcast!

 

Episode 37: Shin Godzilla (2016)

At last, it is time. Fasten your seat belts, kaiju fans.  It’s like this movie was made for our show.  Just as we were planning a podcast emphasizing the connection between the Godzilla franchise and international affairs, this masterpiece was delivered to us on a silver platter.  This episode is our masterpiece.  After our film description, part two is our opinion on the big picture of this incredible movie.  Part three is a detailed chronological rundown of the film, and we will tie it to the events of 3/11.  Our related topics are the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdowns.

This episode is dedicated to the victims of the 3/11 disaster, Plant Manager Masao Yoshida, the Fukushima 50, the U.S. service members who participated in Operation Tomodachi, U.S. Forces Japan, and the JSDF.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patron Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level.  Thank you for your support!  We really appreciate it.

Go to our website next Wednesday (June 6) to learn what we have planned for future episodes.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 2:42

Part 1 – Film Description: 2:42 – 9:02

Part 2 – Opinion of the Big Picture: 9:02 – 1:04:45

Part 3 – Chronological Rundown: 1:04:45 – 3:10:52

Closing: 3:10:52 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Lincoln Tower and Allen County Courthouse, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 34: Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (2003)

Road to Shin Godzilla Month marches on with the final entry of the “Tezuka Trilogy,” a film that astonished Nate and Brian on the re-watch.  Nate was surprised that this direct sequel to the previous film—which disappointed him—actually made good use of Kiryu having the original Godzilla’s soul grafted to it.  Brian thinks the special effects are a loving tribute to the artistry of classic tokusatsu.  Also, Mothra has never looked as good as she does in this film.  Much like Mothra vs. Godzilla, this movie doesn’t attempt many new things, but it does them all well.  Our related topic is deflation in Japan.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patrons Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level. Thank you for your support! We really appreciate it.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:44

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:44 – 8:08

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 8:08 – 46:48

Part 3 – Related Topics: 46:48 – 1:12:72

Closing: 1:12:72 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: South Side High School, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 12: Ebirah – Horror of the Deep! (1966)

City slicker Brian and country boy Nate discuss the Godzilla film for young people with a South Seas adventure flavor.  Though it’s featured in Mystery Science Theater 3000, we conclude that this a considerably underestimated film.  Our related topic is how kaiju film audiences changed during this decade.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patrons Kyoei Toshi and Sean Stiff for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level.  Thank you for your support!  We really appreciate it.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:41

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:41 – 6:53

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 6:53 – 48:00

Part 3 – Related Topic: 48:00 – 1:09:59

Closing: 1:09:59 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Historic Old Fort, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 11: Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965)

Nate and Brian analyze a big fan favorite, and it has major sci-fi flavor. It’s our first alien invasion movie, and features the return of King Ghidorah! Our related topic is the international affairs dimension of the alien invasion.

This episode is dedicated to Yoshio Tsuchiya.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:32

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:32 – 7:26

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:26 – 52:20

Part 3 – Related Topic: 52:20 – 1:15:33

Closing: 1:15:33 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Lakeside Park, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 10: Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)

The franchise reaches a turning point with some James Bondian flair. Brian and Nate discuss Godzilla turning into a hero and the introduction of Godzilla’s archenemy King Ghidorah! Our related topics are China’s first nuclear test, Japan during the Vietnam War, and Japan joining the OECD. (Hail Ghidrah!)

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:40

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:40 – 7:18

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:18 – 56:19

Part 3 – Related Topic: 56:19 – 1:15:47

Closing: 1:15:47 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Clinton Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 9: Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)

Nathan and Brian discuss this momentous and archetypal film.  Many fans consider this to be one of the best Godzilla sequels. It was created in 1964, a seminal year for Japan, Japanese cinema, and the kaiju genre.  Our related topics include Typhoon Vera, the 1964 Summer Olympics, the preview for the 2020 Summer Olympics, the Shinkansen Bullet Train, and the Tokyo Monorail.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:53

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:53 – 5:52

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 5:52 – 26:43

Part 3 – Related Topic: 26:43 – 41:47

Closing: 41:47 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Towpath Trail, Fort Wayne, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Episode 8: King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)

Two giant monster franchises collide in this momentous blockbuster that changed everything. Listen as Brian and Nate discuss this well-produced and entertaining parody that stars one of our favorite kaiju film characters, Mr. Tako! Our related topic is the Japanese Economic Miracle, which led to Japan becoming a global economic powerhouse.

We’d like to send a shout-out to our patron Kyoei Toshi for pledging at the Kaiju Visionary level. Thank you for your support! We really appreciate it.

MP3:

Introduction: 0:00 – 1:25

Part 1 – Film Description: 1:25 – 7:07

Part 2 – Opinion and Discussion: 7:07 – 45:21

Part 3 – Related Topic: 45:21 – 1:20:15

Closing: 1:20:15 – End

 

Co-Hosts: Brian Scherschel and Nathan Marchand

Editor: Brian Scherschel

Video Location: Cedar Creek, Metea County Park, Allen County, Indiana

Video: Brian Scherschel

Music: Audiophiliac (http://www.fiverr.com/audiophiliac)

Copyright Brian J. Scherschel

All Rights Reserved

Sister Cities: Fort Wayne and Takaoka

by Nathan Marchand

As mentioned in a previous blog, Brian and I reside in Indiana. More specifically, Kaijuvision Radio is based out of Fort Wayne, the second-largest city in the state. Something about it that’s relevant to this podcast is Fort Wayne has a sister city in Japan: Takaoka, which is located in the Toyama Prefecture on Honshu.

The Great Buddha of Takaoka, the third largest Buddha statue in Japan. It stands 53 feet tall. (Photo Source: Fort Wayne Sister Cities International)

Takaoka was the first of Fort Wayne’s four sister cities. Officials from both cities signed the agreement to become sister cities in 1977. Since then, the cities have enhanced each other in many ways. According to the Fort Wayne Sister Cities International website:

This sister alliance has led to many exchanges of government officials, teachers, students,  artists, and private citizens.  Significant developments have been the Takaoka Koshimae Scholarship Fund, endowed by a prominent citizen of Takaoka, and the Fort Wayne Chapman Exchange Fund, endowed by a charter member of Fort Wayne Sister Cities International.

Fort Wayne Bishop Luers High School and Takaoka Fushiki School have a sister-school relationship, as do Fort Wayne Carroll High School and Takaoka Kogei School, Fort Wayne Snider High School and Takaoka Commercial School, and North Side High School and Koryo High School.

(Carroll High School, by the way, is my mother’s alma mater).

Takaoka has several noteworthy attractions, including the Great Buddha of Takaoka, which is 53-feet tall, making it the third largest Buddha statue in Japan; the Zuiryū-ji Temple, a Zen temple built in 1663 and is now designated as a national treasure of Japan; and Kanayamachi, an area of the city that features traditional buildings dating back to the Meiji Era.

A local master demonstrates kendo with one of his students at the 2016 Cherry Blossom Festival in Fort Wayne. (Photo by Nathan Marchand)

Because of the relationship between Fort Wayne and Takaoka, the Allen County Public Library has hosted an annual event for over a decade called the Cherry Blossom Festival. In many ways, it’s like a one-day comic-con, except focused on Japanese culture. I attended it last year but was unable to do so this year because of other commitments. When I went, I was able to attend events showcasing kendo, katanas, taiko drumming, and haiku. There were vendors selling manga (Japanese comic books), kimonos, and artwork, among other things. It was great fun.

There are other connections as well. There’s a restaurant in downtown Fort Wayne called Takaoka of Japan. Fort Wayne Sister Cities International publishes a newsletter called Kawara-Ban about the Japanese community in the city. Cherry blossom trees have been planted across the city.

Was Takaoka ever featured in a Godzilla/kaiju film? As far as we can tell, no. However, since Japanese culture is a major focus of Kaijuvision Radio, and this has local significance for Brian and I, it was something we thought was important to mention here. It’s a local sign of Japan’s “gross national cool,” which is how most Americans know that country. We don’t have to go far to experience Japanese culture, and I’m sure the same is true of you, G-fans and kaiju lovers.

So, once we start dropping episodes on your favorite podcatcher, go for a walk at a local Japanese-themed attraction while you listen to us.

You can learn more about Takaoka here.