It would seem I am still alive. I am sure you are all relieved.
My visa expires at the end of September, but I'm hoping to renew it for another six months and continue studying here. But the decision is naturally in the hands of Japanese immigration... so fingers crossed!
Brad Warner was in Japan last month, so we went out with friends Norman England, Takeshi Yagi, and Ultraman designer Hiroshi Maruyama. Me and Brad had emailed each other in the past, and I'd read his first book "Hardcore Zen" several years ago, but this was the first time we were both in Japan at the same time to be able to meet properly. A very cool punk rocker who later worked for Tsuburaya Productions on Ultraman, who is now a Buddist monk leading the Dogen Sangha International.
After dinner we all found the coolest Showa-style bar littered with vintage toys and posters, playing Japanese pop music from the 80s. This place was freaky. I want to go back soon! During the evening, Muruyama also designed Brad his very own Godzilla.
Last night I went to a drinking party in Shinjuku with friends Takeshi Yagi, Shusuke Kaneko (director of GAMERA and the DEATH NOTE films) and Jiro Kaneko (writer on MAX and SEVEN X). I was also happy to meet for the first time actress Mitsuko Hoshi (who played Yuko in 1972's ULTRAMAN ACE) and her daughter Shiko (who appeared in Yagi's SUPER 8 ULTRA BROTHERS movie), as well as Ultraman writers Kiyoto Takeuchi and Takurou Fukuda.
I hadn't seen Shusuke or Jiro since last year, so it was great fun to catch up. I'm a big fan of Fukuda's ULTRASEVEN X episode "Hopeless", so we talked about this for a while, and the episode's comparison of the "hopeless" to the homeless of Japan.
Unfortunately I got very drunk towards the end of the evening, and am pretty sure I said some dumb stuff. I can't even remember how many beers I drank. Hopefully I didn't embarrass myself too much!