A monstrous tail…

The man who dressed in a rubber suit to play the original Godzilla, crashing through Japanese cities and destroying them with swipes of his massive tail, has died at the age of 88, film company Toho said on Tuesday.

Haruo Nakajima, who donned the cumbersome suit to play the monster who rose from the depths after a hydrogen bomb test in the original 1954 “Godzilla”, died on Monday of pneumonia, a Toho spokesman said.

The first suit weighed 100 kg (220 lb) and was so hard to breathe in that an oxygen tube was attached, Nakajima reminisced in later years. He played the monster in a dozen films in total, running through to 1972.


The first “Godzilla” – his name a combination of “gorira,”  the Japanese word for gorilla, and the Japanese word for whale, “kujira” – crashed ashore as a symbol of atomic weapons less than a decade after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, as well as of frustrations with the United States, which had just held a hydrogen bomb test at Bikini atoll that irradiated a boat full of Japanese fishermen (something my history lesson seemed to have missed).

The most recent film in the franchise, which has included both Japanese and U.S.-made films, came out from Toho in 2016.  (Original report here)


View from a Rhino House: monster tower mess

The world’s tallest broadcasting tower has run into a slight problem – a large number of users can’t hear a thing it says.

The ¥65 billion Tokyo Skytree was opened in May this year. Standing at a fairly lofty 634 metres (the Eiffel Tower wimps out at 324 metres), the idea was that at the start of next year it would take over broadcasting from its elderly relative, the Tokyo Tower.

Built in 1958, & demolished no less than 8 times times in Godzilla movies alone, the Tokyo Tower ran into problems when its 333m height was deemed insufficient for broadcasting digital TV, radio & data signals to the populous Kanto region surrounding Tokyo.

Despite being 300m taller than its revered forerunner & towering over all the nearby buildings, Skytree is also having difficulties which will delay the signal cut-over from the Tokyo Tower for some time.

NHK & the other broadcasters began test signals in July but found that either because the radio waves were “too strong” or because “consumers’ antennae were in the wrong location”, some households received no signal, regardless of which direction or area they were in.

To work out exactly what the real problem is, the radio waves from the old (yet reliable)Tokyo Tower would have to be suspended completely during peak daytime periods, which would obviously upset consumers (& more importantly, sponsors & advertisers). So everybody is scurrying to find a face-saving work-around that does not involve actually just sorting the problem out.

An NHK spokesman told the media  that efforts are being made to correct the problems by May, & when pressed he admitted the extra costs involved, to date, have been enormous.

Skytree came in for even more bad press recently when it emerged that ¥30 million of the ¥11.7 trillion allocated for rebuilding around the city after the devastating 2011 tsunami & earthquake was actually spent on adverts promoting the tourist attraction-cum-radio-mast.

Why is there never a 60 metre tall radio-active dinosaur around when you really need one?

Size does matter, but if 600 metres brings just more reruns of Dallas, then it’s time to “get outa town” – fast!