I started things off on my first night back with dinner in San Francisco with area buddies Bob, Butch, Kevin and Kari. Also on hand were artists Bob Eggleton and his wife Marianne who were in the city on a stopover before flying down to Australia. The following day, Bob, Marianne and myself walked around San Francisco, none of us really knowing where we were going but having a hell of a good time in any case.
Dove down 101 to LA with my mother. That's a fun, somewhat scenic ride that we used to do as a family when my dad was alive. The long ride gave me a chance to catch up with my mom, who, at 76 years of age, is still going strong, teaching dance at a college in the Santa Cruz area.
In LA, I put much time in with my friend Richard P, who was kind enough to take me to a plethora of old movie locations. Thanks to Richard I got to geek out on the location where the Lone Ranger reared his mighty steed Silver and yelled the immortal "Hi-Ho Silver!" as seen on the TV show in the 1950s. Richard even braved Hollywood BLVD so I could do some film book shopping. Richard and I also caught "Avatar" on my last day in LA. I really enjoyed the film, almost as much as I now enjoy reading fanboy comments on where they feel the film falters. The only thing better than armchair quarterbacking is armchair directing.
When in San Jose I took in a Star Trek exhibit at the city's science museum. While I was greatly impressed with the city (other than its human trash infested bus / train terminal), the exhibit was a let down. Sure, being with friends makes almost anything worthwhile, but this was an extreme rip-off with more than half the props being "reproductions" and, to add insult, you couldn't even take photos. Oh, of course the people there would take photos of you, say, sitting on Captain Kirk's chair (a repro, natch) or in a Next Gen transporter, hurrying you through the process and then charging a ton for a computer print out. I have to say, as a guy who was on the forefront of the "Bring Back Star Trek" campaign in the 1970s, and Paramount Pictures convinced then that Star Trek would lose them money, to see them overcharging like this 30 years later has to be a prime example of the best tasting dish of crow in human entertainment history. Hats off to Paramount...
Back in Japan, I've been spending time between finishing up my film "It's All Good" and hanging out with my good friends Ed and Steve who are in Japan conducting tons of interviews for a book on director Ishiro Honda they are writing in partnership with Ryuji Honda, the son of the director. Somehow I was conned into joining them last week to Super Festival, one of those Japanese toy collecting geek fest gatherings. One of the guests there was Akira Takarada, who starred in the original Godzilla and was also featured in my documentary "Bringing Godzilla Down to Size." Takarada is a really fun guy and I enjoy his actor's presence and gentleman aura. He made a big deal out of Ed, Steve and I being there, which was somewhat embarrassing yet ultimately flattering. I was also able to catch up with a few old friends, and actress Yuriko Hishimi, who despite nearing 70, is still as lovely as ever.
In any case, it's back to work time for me. Down to the last three weeks of the "It's All Good" production. Can't wait to finish, and can't wait to get working on the next film!