Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back in time!

Without the help of a Delorean, we're reliving Thursday, July 24th.

I can almost remember Stanley waking me up when the tower was shaking this morning... or was it all a dream?

We look forward to seeing everyone soon, sharing more stories and reliving our Japanese adventure.

And prepare for our next adventure, when 2 Idiots go to Australia!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Coming home

So after a long day in Akihabra, digging through bookstores, video stores and toy stores, we were dead tired yesterday. John found some Godzilla goodies to bring back to the states.

We paid 1000¥ to get access to the video on demand service, and were able to watch I Am Legend last night (English with Japanese subtitles), and some cartoons this morning (Donald Duck speaking in Japanese is pretty wild).

Last night's big earthquake woke Stan and had him ready to head out to the airport at 1am. John would have probably slept through it had Stan not waken him for the tail end of the tremor. We sat up for the next half hour looking on the internet and watching the news reports about it. We had joked that it would be interesting to see what an earthquake felt like on the 30th floor of our hotel. Now we know - well, Stan does anyway...

We're at the airport now. Unfortunately, no inexpensive upgrades to Business Class this time around. We upgraded to economy plus for the few extra millimeters of legroom - who knows, maybe it will be more comfortable than those clunky recliners.


To be honest, it really can be annoying if someone keeps interrupting you to fill your wine glass every 15 minutes on a 10+ hour flight. We'll be free of such disruptions this time.

We've had an airport snack and picked up some more goodies in the airport stores in case we get hungry on the flight (no sushi, no dried fish, and no seaweed chips).

We're on the internet for the next few hours, so if you need us to pick up anything (again, we're not bringing back ANY dried seaweed), now's the time to let us know.

Sayonara!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Konichiwa, Gojira-san

Our work here is finished...

We have more photos to go through, including John's official greeting of the G-man, but with our locating the statue of Godzilla in downtown Tokyo yesterday, we checked the last item off his Tokyo to-do list.


It was a long day trekking through Tokyo - led by the Sanda clan and joined by the Nobles, we hit Akihabra (where we'll be heading back today to do more shopping)


the Ginza shopping district (how much is that Dino in the window?)


Asakusa temple (this time everyone got their fortune by shaking a stick out of a tin cylinder, and then finding a fortune that matched the number on the stick - Stan was the recipient of the 'very best fortune')


the Imperial Palace


and Shibuya.


We crawled back into the hotel just after midnight, which is why this post is only going up this morning.

It's interesting to note that in our travels, we ran into Troy Alders from Lucasfilm and his son on the train to Akihabra the morning, Star Wars model-maker Lorne Peterson (and separately our artist neighbors from the show) at Asakusa temple, and while Stan and Larry were taking a break in Shibuya, they were spotted by the Chinese garrison of the 501st squadron who were also in town for the show. Talk about a small world...

One more day in the land of the rising sun, and then it's Sayonara Japan.


Monday, July 21, 2008

It'll take a few moments to get the coordinates in the navicomputer...

We have officially survived another Star Wars Celebration.

I got to meet Mark Hamill when I delivered a copy of our Japanese Ralph McQuarrie book to him, and visit with Anthony Daniels again while doing the same. The day at the show was otherwise subdued.

Stan wheeled-and-dealed to coordinate the return shipping of our items, and then we were off to Tony Roma's (successfully, this time) with Lawrence, Libby, Casey and John Noble and Bonnie from Lucasfilm (separated from Pete since he's on a plane back to California for Comic-Con).

It seems like everyone but Stan and I are hopping from Japan to Comic-Con. Not to worry - we'll be there next year with several new book projects...

More photos and stories to come - our Japanese adventure is not yet over...

P.S. Chris tried to post this picture in the comments...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

In Search Of...

So the rumors of a Tony Roma's in Chiba remain unfounded... we'll try to find it again tomorrow. We ended up having dinner with Bonnie and Pete at an Italian restaurant. It wasn't the best Italian food, but pasta was a nice change of pace from the native Japanese cuisine.

On our way back, we bumped into Jimmy Mac, Dan and Dave on the street, looking for the fabled Tony Roma's we'd been bragging about going to for dinner. Jimmy mentioned that the day-one wrap up of the Forcecast had been posted, including the interview with John. You can click the link to check it out if you want PROOF that we had sushi.

Raiders of the Lost Art


Today's panel went well, and got a nice write-up on the Official Star Wars Blog.

Check out their Celebration Japan flicker pages to find a few pictures of Stan and I.

We're heading out to dinner (that's right - Tony Roma's) and will post some photos when we return.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sushi... again?

Today was the first day of the show. There was a decent turnout, and we sold a fair number of our prints. We don't know how the books and posters are doing, and weren't motivated to research it at the end of the day today - we'll know soon enough.

That said, we did get a handful of requests for autographs (and even a photo!?). Some folks were requesting autographs of all the artists - and John took to drawing a Stormtrooper helmet with his English/Japanese signatures. It made at least one fan, to quote, "very, very, very happy."

We got to see a lot of our new and old pals - Bonnie, Pete, Steve and Mary of Lucasfilm, Dan and Jimmy Mac (Jimmy interviewed John for an upcoming podcast) of Rebelscum and TheForce.net respectively, Tsuneo Sanda and his family, and Lawrence Noble and his family. The list goes on and on.

Pete came across a vintage Panasonic Sparky robot, an extremely rare Japanese item based on a Ralph McQuarrie concept. The bum! We were pretty jealous.


Here's Lawrence working on his Luke Skywalker sculpture.



John bought a bunch of cool Raiders of the Lost Ark vending machine toys (it got pretty silly as he was chasing down enough 100¥ coins as those were all the machines supported).

The big excitement of the day for us Californians was our first Japanese earthquake experience. Too bad we weren't in our 30th floor hotel room - that would have been pretty amazing. No, we were on the show floor, which just seemed to roll with a lengthy, continuous wave as if you were on a raft on a calm sea. John claims this may have been an aftershock following the rip in the space time continuum created following his trying sushi the night before...

So with a huge group in tow, we headed back out for another night of Japanese cuisine. Tomorrow night is Tony Roma's (thanks for the tip, Wade).


In a 1999 flashback, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) joined a nearby group and made it over to see us as well. He was serving saki to just about everyone in the restaurant at one point - but what else would you expect from a protocol droid.

We showed off our luxurious accommodations (read: view) to some folks before crashing for the night (as most of you will just be getting up).

John's presentation is tomorrow afternoon, and it will be interesting to see if there's a translator, or if it will be a pretty picture show.

We're not sweating the little details - we're just focused on hanging out with friends and having a good time.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Almost there...

We wandered out this morning, bumped into Pete Vilmur and Bonnie Burton of Lucasfilm Online in the lobby, and ended up joining them for breakfast. John had a great Banana crepe, and we split a desert that resembled a donut topped with ice cream. Not too shabby, this Japanese food.

Afterwards we headed over to the convention center to pick up our badges and check on our stuff. We met up with Japanese artist Tsuneo Sanda and his family, who have been instrumental in helping coordinate our getting goods in and out of Japan. All books and posters were present and accounted for, although absent from the show ordering posters. Good thing we had appropriately set our expectations. With some help of our Japanese friends, we'll be creating some signs for our booth in the artist's area (and have copies of the book and poster on display).

We're back in the hotel room relaxing for a bit, waiting for some of our other friends to arrive.

One other quick note - came across a berry flavored KitKat at a convenience store, and it wouldn't be worth noting if it didn't taset exctly like Frankenberry cereal. Good stuff!




Making headlines...

We're the lead story over at Rebelscum.com (talk about a slow news day), so head on over to read Dan's description of our day, along with lots more pics!

Oh no - there goes Tokyo!

Despite going to bed at about 8pm local time last night (about 4am PST), both Stan and I awoke roughly every hour on the hour. On the bright side, this allowed us to communicate with some folks back home very early in our day.

Here, Stan-san presides over his new kingdom in complimentary hotel robe and towel (note the ball park just across the way).


We didn't have any definite plans for today, as we were originally expecting our books and posters to be delivered Thursday, only yesterday finding out they wouldn't be delivered until Friday.

We decided to join in on the recording of the weekly ForceCast, and through a myriad of coincidences that I won't detail here, we got in touch with our old pal Dan Curto from Rebelscum.com, just as he was leaving to join some of his colleagues on a ground tour of Tokyo. We quickly got ourselves invited, and were on our way!

We took a series of trains and subways to Asakusa - an open air market adjacent to a huge temple. Here's Stan, Stephanie, Anne, Tony, Dave and Dan waiting for our train to arrive.


No, that's not the Yakuza - that's Stan-san presiding over the open air market. For fear of ruining any surprises, I won't divulge what, if anything, was purchased herein.


The temple was very cool, including this 5-story pagoda.


Several types of offerings could be made at the Temple in Asakusa - here's John wafting in some smoke...


...curious about the markings on the incense being burned. Take a closer look...


John was also able to show off his limited Japanese writing skills, submitting wish sticks for he and Stanley in Japanese (much to the delight of the Temple staff).


We stopped for lunch at a nearby Japanese restaurant.


Stan ordered what was essentially chicken noodle soup, which came boiling in a huge bowl...


We did a bit more shopping after lunch, checked out a toy store where we found something for Steffan (of all people), and went to one more temple - Meiji Jingu in Shibuya.

We passed Tokyo Disneyland both coming and going today, and will likely try to check that out on one of our free days.

We ran into Pete Vilmur and Bonnie Burton of Lucasfilm on their way to dinner with our pal (and poster painter) Lawrence Noble and his kids.

We're both pretty beat after the day running around. We're very fortunate we managed to catch Dan as he was heading down to meet his party, and want to thank them for letting us tag along. It was a great second day, and we actually can say we've finally seen a bit of Tokyo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The idiots have landed!

Vonna dropped us off at SFO right around 9am, and things got off to a good start when we were offered an awesome deal to upgrade to Business Class when checking in. Well, offered probably isn't the right word - the attendant skipped right past the upgrade, assuming these two idiots were definitely NOT Business Class travelers. Fortunately, my eyes were keen this morning and we went back and jumped on the deal.


We relaxed in the red carpet lounge with society's upper crust before our flight, enjoying a complimentary continental breakfast. Here's Stanley before and after sipping his morning cocktail. Not too shabby!

Now bring on the extra legroom!

And HOLY SMOKES was there legroom!

I couldn't touch the chair in front of me with my feet... For future reference, Business Class to Japan is better than First Class domestic. Cocktails, warm nuts, fancy meals, frequent attention and pampering... we got a lot for the small price of the upgrade.


Too bad all the movies they were playing were garbage, and that they made us close the window shades for the bulk of the flight. You'd think the world was full of babies who can't sleep with a light on...

Between dozing off, John watched bits of Dawn of the Dead and Godzilla Fantasia on his iPod, and Stanley read a book of stories by a possible future Dreams and Visions Press author. Since we had some time to kill, John finally finished the presentation he'll be giving at the show on Sunday.

We'll see where things go from here, but so far, this trip gets two thumbs up!

The hotel is reasonable, and right across from the convention center.


Sayonara for now!


And we're off!

Well, we probably will be by the time you read this...

We're flying out of SFO, and since our cameras will be in our checked bags, I don't know if we'll have anything else to post before we arrive in the land of the rising sun.


I think we're more than covered with stuff to keep us busy for the 10-hour flight; iPods, a couple of books to read, a Tokyo travel guide I finally picked up yesterday, and I have this presentation to give at the show that I really should spend some time on...

And rather than depend on United to keep us fed, I've prepared each of us a survival pack of snack food. Lots of snacks. We're talking Snacks on a Plane level of snacks, that might cause alarm for the other passengers if they got loose.

Basically, we're ready for anything.

Once we land, we'll be 16 hours ahead of the rest of you (okay, most of you). We'll be watching for you all on email, Skype, and through your comments here in the blog. If you have questions, sling those our way and we'll do our best to post timely responses.

That's all for now - we've got a place to catch!


Saturday, July 12, 2008

We're going to Japan!

Our flight leaves Tuesday morning, 7/15, and we arrive on 7/16. The Star Wars Celebration is being held Saturday through Monday, 7/19-7/21, and we return on 7/24.

Since we'll have internet access, and I figured we'll be taking lots of pictures and have plenty of stories to share, I thought I'd set up a special blog for that purpose.

Bookmark this site to find out what kind of trouble we're getting into...

Will there be an international incident?

Will Stan get drunk on Saki and dress up like a Samurai?


Will John finally meet Godzilla, and fulfill all his goals in life?


Only time will tell...

P.S. This guy has a lot of good ideas, but check out December 4, 2006 in particular...