Friday, March 9, 2012

"Japan Safe For Monster Fan Tourists"

by Armand Vaquer

Last summer, I wrote an article, "Japan Safe For Monster Fan Tourists" that got some play on the Internet (Anime News Network posted it, amongst others). With the first anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake Coming up this Sunday, the media has been increasing Japan travel-related stories. The western media initially published hysterical stories on the radiation problems of the Fukushima nuclear power plant that dissuaded some from considering a vacation to Japan. To again "set the record straight" for monster movie fans, here is the article:

TARZANA, CA - The March 11 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region of Japan has depressed tourism throughout the country. Author Armand Vaquer says this is totally unnecessary. Prior to the earthquake, tourism amounted to 7% of Japan's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) recently declared that Japan is safe for travel.

Armand Vaquer, author of "The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" said this is especially true for fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies. The landmarks and locations from the movies were untouched by the disaster.

"Most of the locations shown in the movies are far away from the areas affected by the March 11 earthquake, tsunami and radiation problems," said Vaquer. "Most of them are located from Tokyo to the south down to Kyushu. The quake zone is about 150-200 miles northeast of Tokyo. The majority of Japan is now operating normally. Fans of Japanese science-fiction and fantasy movies should not be afraid to visit Japan. It is safe to do so."

Vaquer said that when asked, he encourages travelers to go ahead and visit Japan. "Since March 11, I have monitored the situation in Japan so I could provide accurate assessments for tourists," said Vaquer. "Unfortunately, the western media gave people the wrong impression in their reporting immediately following the quake. Their reporting had people thinking the whole country was affected. Not true."

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" is the world's first and only Japan travel guide tailored to fans of Godzilla, Gamera, Mothra, Rodan and other Japanese giant monsters. It provides information on each location/landmark, how to get there and what other attractions are nearby.

"'The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan' is an 'unorthodox' travel guide," admits Vaquer. "But baby-boomers' first exposure to Japan and Japanese culture were through the movies. They want to see the locations and landmarks shown in the films. They should get the travel guide and go and have themselves a great time."

"The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan" is available through

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.