Return To Current Monogatari
June 30, 2008-Since Koyori was so stressed out with the idea of the Brickster indulgin’ his taste fer monsters, blood, and gore, she decided to try to lure me back to the righteous path of Japanese history with a few gifts. One of these was the Playstation 3 game, Sengoku Musou Pachislot. This is a console version of the same slot machine you’ll find in pachinko parlors throughout Japan. In addition to winnin’ tokens, you’ll be viewin’ action on the built in TV screen featurin’ characters from the Sengoku Musou video game series. There’re three playable characters-Sanada Yukimura killin’ thousands at Osaka (borin’), Hattori Hanzo rushin’ through a castle to foil an attempt on Tokugawa Ieyasu’s life (borin’)…and then there’s Maeda Keiji. Keiji’s ‘Rush’ challenges and storyline are lots more intrestin’ and fun. For example, in one challenge he takes part in a drinkin’ contest with a shrine maiden (Izumo Okuni)-usually endin’ up passin’ out way before she does. In another, Okuni and Keiji get up on the kabuki stage to out act each other. There’s even levels where Keiji’s helpin’ to haul a portable shrine through the streets of Kyoto durin’ a festival, and the object is to butt shrines with another crew and knock it out of their hands. This got me to thinkin’-my whole day is filled up with drinkin’ with shrine maidens, specializin’ in over the top actin’, dancin’, and engagin’ in pointless goofball behavior and antics. So…why the hell ain’t I in a video game?
It’d be a natural! What repressed Japanese kid wouldn’t want to cut loose and live vicariously through the Brickster? The Wii would be perfect for it, what with its motion based controls. It could even be feasible on the Playstation if some sort of pad ala ‘Dance Dance Revolution’ could be worked up. It wouldn’t be borin’ like a first person shooter or drivin’ game. An RPG would be good, except that Ko always says I just never learn so your character would be perpetually stuck at level one. Nope, it’d go somethin’ like this-
Level 1-The Lucky Star Tea House-the Brickster starts off engagin’ the extras (a group of actresses playin’ shrine maidens) in a kituen (that’s ‘Merry Drinkin’ Bout’ to you gaijin). The object is to get them drunk enough to start removin’ their clothes and raise Ko’s Rage Meter to its maximum-while at the same time remainin’ sober enough so that video Brick doesn’t sign that contract to appear in a yaoi Shinsengumi film. Once Ko’s rage meter gets high enough, she flips out, takes naginata in hand, and the level ends.
Level 2-Soapland-Since the Brickster would never dream of layin’ a hand in anger on his One True Love even to defend himself from her dreaded water wheel technique, and would equally never dream of lettin’ hisself get the crap beat out of him, there’s only one thing to do-run! In this 3-D level, you’ll be guidin’ the Brickster through the Soapland district. There’s plenty of gals there willin’ to let him hide out, and the oilin’ down and latherin’ up helps make him slippery enough to evade Ko. Make it to the end of the level without meetin the business end of her naginata, and you’ll find yourself gettin’ blindsided by a speedin’ minivan full of Buddhist monks, provin’ once again that instant karma’s gonna getcha.
Level 3-Nobunaga’s Ambition-As Brink sinks into unconsciousness, everythin’ goes black and he wakes to find himself in Sengoku Japan. He finds himself bein’ pulled into situations based on situations from Abarenbo Gaijin episodes. With the aid of his new friend Abe No Seimei, level three finds Brick visitin’ Honno-ji temple in 1582, lookin’ for the sutra that can bring him back to the present. Too bad for him, but Nobunaga’s already got it-and tryin’ to make the Onimusha series a reality. Brickonosuke must stop the Devil King and reclaim the scroll fer his bad self.
Level 4-The Lust Samurai-Brick finds that the land has been left barren-stripped of attractive women by Hideyoshi. It seems the Taiko wants to bogart all the fine action for himself. Brick must disguise himself as a woman and earn entry into the Ooku by winnin’ Japanese Idol: Dancing with the Stars 1593 (while escapin’ the wrath of harsh dance critic Kato Kiyomasa). Only then can he release the babes under his own custody.
Level 5-Patience, My Ass-I’m Gonna Kill Something!-Tokugawa Ieyasu has decided enough is enough-he’s tired of lame Noh theater and wants to be entertained-OR ELSE. Can the Brickster put together an impromptu stage act and amuse the surly daimyo-or will his head be decoratin’ a spike outside Edo Castle?
Level 6-The Edo Circus-Like I said last week, every game needs circus clowns in it. Here, the Brickster runs into a group of the 47 goofiest, clumsiest, ugliest, and smelliest group of clowns in Japanese history. Can Brick snuff out the final red nose before they blunder into Lord Kira, who holds the secret of returnin’ to the present?
Level 7-Eigamura-The Brickster regains consciousness and finds that the past 4 levels have just been a pain-induced hallucination. While he’s been out, Ko has been kidnapped for no apparent reason and is bein’ held by that bastard, the Giant Boreworm. And Musashi. Plus Ishikawa Raizo and Bludzo the Clown. Can Brick run the gauntlet and enter the fruit cellar for the final showdown with Henrietta-or will he just say “The hell with it!” and find hisself a new woman?
It’s got it all! Drinkin’, dancin’, fightin’, lovin’, clowns, monsters, unwashed ronin, and evadin’ responsibility. We’ll even have a two player limited co-op mode (limited since, when ya been drinkin’, it’s hard to tell friends from foes-so there’s bound to be a bit of collateral damage) with Obenjo Kusanosuke as Player Two. Obenjo has a higher liquor and bad food tolerance than Brick, but is a bit weaker in the dancin’ and bad actin’ departments. He also tends to hit his head on low doorways.
June 23, 2008-While visitin’ the States last week, the Brickster was reunited with one of the guilty pleasures of his youth (and it ain’t what yer thinkin’)-the video game series SPLATTERHOUSE. The series features a bulked up Jason Voorhees look-alike, Rick Taylor, who enters a series of scenes infested with hellish creatures to rescue his girlfriend/wife, Jennifer. Nothin’ new there-but this baby was the forerunner to practically every horror based game on the shelves these days. As indicated by the title, it was the first game (unless you count two Atari 2600 rarities from Wizard Video Games, Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which I also have) to fully embrace the concept of gore and extreme violence in a day where Nintendo games were relentlessly cheerful and goofy. I spent hours playin’ this thing as a kid, and the experience came in handy durin’ my early actin’ days in low budget horror. While vistin’ my mom, I dug out the Turbo 16 and Sega Genesis and became reacquainted with the 3 games in the series. Ah, the memories it brought back of my days in the horror genre!
Now, Ko went and got her panties in a bunch (which actually is kinda sexy when she’s the one doin’ it) over what she calls my ‘morbid fascination’ with ‘monsters, blood, and gore’. I think she has visions of the Brickster bein’ drawn to the dark side and becomin’ a serial killer or somethin’. But nothin’ could be further from the truth-in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Think about it-in most Western horror movies (Japanese horror bein’ a whole different story-more on that later) and the Splatterhouse series, it’s all about eliminatin’ the evil and restorin’ order to the world. It ain’t like GTA where you’re some loser scumbag goin’ around killin’ prostitutes and cops. Nope, here you’re fightin’ against rotten, disgustin’ evil creatures hell bent on killin’ yer wife and child. What’re you supposed to do? Askin’ them nicely to leave or threatenin’ to call the cops likely ain’t gonna do the job. As Corporal Hicks pointed out in ALIENS, harsh language ain’t gonna work. The answer lies only in your hands, especially if that hand’s holdin’ a meat cleaver or 2 X 4. And if restorin’ order to the universe and savin’ yer family ain’t enough incentive to take controller in hand and deliver an ass-kickin’, the game further seduces you by makin’ the creatures so disgustin’, foul tempered, hate-filled and evil that they absolutely scream out to be butchered. A case in point-the Giant Boreworm from Splatterhouse 3:
He’s the one on the right, just in case you’re a hopeless wuss. This little SOB has implanted a small boreworm inside Jennifer, Rick’s wife, and if Rick doesn’t reach the Giant Boreworm in time and ruin its day, it’ll devour her from the inside out. As if that ain’t bad enough, when the Giant Boreworm dishes out some pain, it lets out an insane gleeful cackle you usually only hear when Henrietta makes it up out of the fruit cellar.
It doesn’t even have the common courtesy to die when you kill it-nope, it just becomes more revoltin’, losin’ its head and sproutin’ a bunch of maggots from the stump. All of this makes it gratifyin’ as hell to kill. There’s nothin’ more satisfyin’ (that doesn’t involve a woman, that is) than watchin’ this bozo explode and wallpaper the room with intestines and maggots, wrigglin’ and emittin’ a high pitched screech in its death throes. Now what could be more normal than that? Family saved, evil vanquished, order restored, and valuable experience gained just in case you run into a Giant Boreworm on the streets. My last night out on the town I think I saw one in the alley behind Daily Yamazaki tryin’ to redeem pachinko balls, so you never know. So rather than brandin’ you as a social deviant and potential murderer, horror games are really givin’ ya valuable life experience and makin’ you a well adjusted member of society. Much more so than games with that pedophile Mario.
The only way these games could be improved is if they introduced Circus Clowns into the mix. Everyone hates clowns, and havin’ them join the fray just ups the ante. Who wouldn’t want to see those oversized shoes fly off and pinwheel through the air after a well placed brick to the face? Hell, it’d be a public service.
And there was even better news-while in a bookstore, I saw an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly that cover featured a next generation Spatterhouse game for PS3/XBOX 360! Yep, after a 15 year or so hiatus, the Brickster’s role model is returnin’. From this screen shot, it looks like they’ve toned down the gore somewhat, but hopefully the finished product will deliver the goods.
Now, that quick word on Japanese horror I promised earlier. While Western films are usually themed along the lines of ‘We all carry within ourselves the power to vanquish evil’, Japanese films take a more realistic approach-more like, ‘If you’re unlucky enough to come to the attention of an evil entity, you’re screwed. Been nice knowin’ ya.’ Unless it’s a giant monster, in which case Godzilla’ll be along to sort things out and haul humanity’s butt outta the fire after everythin’s trashed. That’s why in the Brickster’s classic ‘Onryou Ryoushi’ everyone dies-in Japan, it’s gotta end up that way.
June 16, 2008-It bein’ Father’s Day last week, the Brickster figured it was a good time to vacate Japan for a few days to avoid any unexpected surprises. While it ain’t a Japanese Hallmark Holiday, there’s no use takin’ any chances. Anyway, I headed back to my hometown of Cincinnati to visit my sweet old elderly grey haired mom. In between fieldin’ questions from her as to when I would divorce ‘that girl’, move back to the States, start workin’ in the Ford plant, and marry my childhood sweetheart Sonya, I took the opportunity to check out my old buddies from 1031 Productions at the Dent Schoolhouse haunted attraction when it opened June 12 for the Midwest Haunter’s Convention bus tour. The 100 degree temps that day were just perfect for puttin’ the resident creatures in a foul mood and enhancin’ their scare factor. One of the benefits of Summer hauntin’ is that the gals in line wear skimpy little outfits, a big improvement over bundled up October attire. There were so many Goth chicks that I thought I was in the middle of Harajuku. There’s just somethin’ about tiny black shorts and black and white striped thigh high socks that lights the fires in the Brickster’s afterburners.
Anyway, the haunt was a huge hit and I renewed several old friendships with my ghastly pals-like Bludzo The Klown (left) and Damien Reaper, The Devil’s Digger (right). While their table manners ain’t much to speak of, they’re good folks. In fact, I took the opportunity to throw my Presidential campaign in with the one Bludzo is runnin’. Really, all I want out of the deal is to be appointed US Ambassador to Japan so’s I can park wherever I want and get away with anythin’ just like real drunken, arrogant diplomats. Bludzo and I are a natural ticket-after all, we already got a clown and an idiot in the White House. Why should the voters of America settle for second best? Bludzo was a good sport in lettin’ hisself be called an idiot, even if Ko laughed when I told her that and said I need to reconsider my part in the equation. Wonder what she meant? I never was any good at math.
Bludzo seems to have an effective debatin’ technique-his favorite ploy is to rush the opponent, rip his head off, and vomit blood down the stump while deliverin’ his trademark cackle. Problem is, he can only use that tactic once before they cart him off back to the asylum. Last time he tried it was with Parky, the raccoon mascot of Parky’s Farm here in Cincy. It misfired since he only managed to wrench off the mascot head before Parky made his escape. Anyway, Bludzo is one crafty ol’ greasy blood spurtin’ sumbitch, and assumin’ he can keep out of a straightjacket I don’t see much gettin’ in the way of our campaign. I figure he can deliver the vote from the criminally insane element of American society, which should insure us at least 50% of the vote (the same folks who voted for Dubbya). I plan on garnerin’ the ‘hot chick’ vote, which is sure to put us over the top in more ways than one.
June 9, 2008-After returnin’ from Cannes, the Brickster was re-introduced to some aspects of life in Kyoto that he takes for granted but now sees might be intrestin’ to Westerners who may not know about them. Let’s take a look, this week focusin’ on transportation-
1) Women Only Subway and Train Cars-also known as the ‘No-Groping’ cars, these are usually the last car on a subway or train (sometimes, there’s even more than one). These are designed to give safe haven for women from the pervs that like to use the crowded conditions on busses, trains, and subways as an excuse to let their hands run wild-and this is a big problem in Japan. While the No-Groping car may cramp the style of your average run-of-the-mill melon squeezer (say, Ashigaru, fr’instance), a wily gaijin such as myself can find ways to make this work to your advantage. Let’s face it, most Japanese don’t believe Westerners can speak Japanese, much less read it. So it’s no problem at all to boldly step forth and ensconce yourself in the women only car. If anyone says anythin’, just shrug your shoulders and say “Sorry, I don’t speak Japanese!” After the coast is clear, you’ll likely find yourself the center of attention from a bunch of women who find the whole situation amusin’. Give ‘em your best round eyed innocent little boy look and ask in Japanese, “Hmmmm….I wonder why there aren’t any other men in this car?” This is an open invitation for the more fun-lovin’ among the women to SHOW you why by takin’ their chance to turn the tables! And once one of them goes for it, the mob mentality kicks in and they’ll all want to join in the fun. Cenobite Pinhead was right-women are “So eager to play…so loathe to admit it…” You’ll get one hell of a memorable ride, and the cost of a ticket is a lot less than headin’ out to Soapland.
2) Bicycles Of Death-compared to Osaka or Tokyo, Kyoto doesn’t have a lot of local rail or subway lines (only two). What they do have are a lot of busses, but even worse, an ungodly amount of bicycles. This pic of the bike rack outside the local conbini, Daily Yamazaki, should give you an idea of just HOW many:
Everybody rides ‘em-schoolgirls, grannys, housewives, Buddhist monks, businessmen, Elvis impersonators, cops, you name it. Even the Brickster has one, complete with a sissified basket. On an average day, a street in Kyoto makes the Tour De France look like an elementary school playground. Ya know what the number one crime in Japan is on a yearly basis? Bike theft. Not to mention that it’s also probably the number one murder weapon as well. You don’t need to worry about some scumbag gangbanger gunnin’ you down in Japan, but you sure as hell need to worry about gettin’ run down by some speedin’ oji on a bike. Dodge one, and you’re likely to find yourself dead in the path of some other rider to whom ‘traffic safety’ means beatin’ the light. Japanese are among the most polite people on Earth-at least until they saddle up their two-wheeler. Then, the only thing on their minds is the size of the tire tracks they can leave on your back. I had one old lady that ran me into the street every single day, until I wised up and took her wrinkled ass down with a clothesline one day. Don’t worry, though, she’s fine-I was compassionate and did it near the Mimizuka. After doin’ two perfect rotations through the air, she was cushioned by the noses of over 20,000 Koreans placed there by the Shimazu, who were ahead of their time in anticipatin’ the needs of their ancestors.
3) No Jaywalkin’ and Tiny Streets-some streets in Kyoto are barely big enough to fit a motor scooter through, much less a car-but that don’t stop anyone from tryin’. God help ya if you happen to be walkin’ along when they do. They even allow motor vehicles to tool down the middle of the covered ‘shoppin' alleys’ scattered around the city-imagine walkin’ around in your local mall, only to turn around and see some mini-van bearin’ right down on ya.
Some of these streets are so tiny that if you passed out drunk on one side and hit the deck, you’d end up on the other side. I speak from experience here. But if ya do, you’ll break one of the great taboos of Japanese society: crossin’ against the light. Nobody crosses against the light here, ever. My first week in Japan years ago, Ko and I were walkin’ home at 3 AM after a night of carousin’. The middle of winter, no cars as far as the eye could see, nobody else around. The Brickster comes to one of those 4 foot wide streets with a flashin’ red signal, looks both ways, sees nothin, and begins to cross. He’s yanked back by Ko who pins him to the ground with a hammerlock and delivers a harangue about how YOU DO NOT CROSS AGAINST THE LIGHT. Made a convert outta me, I tell ya-pain is a great motivator. Ya gotta love how the lights do bird calls as well-some nights you’ll go home with the call of the Japanese cuckoo ringin’ in yer head.
4) The Rovin’ Court of Cloistered Emperor Go-Chikatetsu-No-Eki-with a little luck, while roamin’ around Kyoto you might come across one of the real unsung tourist attractions the city has to offer-the Court Of Cloistered Emperor Go-Chikatetsu. I met Go-Chikatetsu a while back when his court was set up by the coin lockers in Kyoto Station (see pic). For the price of a bottle of cheap sake, he’ll be glad to regale ya with his sad tale. Once, he was next in line to become Emperor of Japan. That was until that fateful night when he stayed out late drinkin’ and got home only to find out that that bastard Naruhito had changed the locks on the palace. Denied his rightful place in society, Go-Chikatetsu took shelter wherever it offered itself. He could never stay in one place for long as the minions of the law were under orders from Naruhito to prevent him from establishin’ himself anywhere and gatherin’ followers. However, his personal magnetism and willin'ness to share liquor brought together the stalwarts that now comprise his court-guys like Soft Shoe, Wizzy, Viper, Tall Boy and Spider. I think Obenjo held a court postion once, but dropped out to become a perfassional Kubota senju drinker. Whenever a meetin’ of the court needs to be called, all Go-Chikatetsu needs to do is crack open the tab of a frosty cold one and they all come runnin’. Go-Chikatetsu vows that one day he’ll reverse the injustice done to him and put paid to Naruhito’s account. He’s got some intrestin’ ideas fer governin’, like convertin’ nuclear power plants to breweries and requirin’ all OL’s to wear schoolgirl uniforms or anime costumes. Annexin’ Korea again so’s Taiga Dramas can get their budgets increased sounds like gold, too.
June 2, 2008-While the Brickster knows that all his peeps look forward to every week's heapin' helpin' of happenin's, I thought I'd shut the hell up this week and let you all enjoy these photos of Oshida Rieko, the most gorgeous woman of 60's-70's Japanese cinema (and therefore the world). You can click on 'em to make them larger (in my case, not the only thing that'd be gettin' bigger). Thanks to Patrick Galloway (author of the great chanbara film guides Stray Dogs And Lone Wolves and the upcomin' Warring Clans, Flashing Blades) fer suppylin' these megababe glossies!
May 26, 2008-The Brickster usually likes to keep things on a postive note, but I just heard the second worst samurai film commentary of all time (with Snake Woman's Curse holdin' the number one spot and unlikely to relinquish it anytime soon) and I feel the need to do some rantin'. The DVD in question is Animeigo's recent release of Shinobi No Mono 2: Vengeance. Now, let's get one thing straight-the Brickster LOVES the DVD-he just hates the commentary. The film is fantastic, perhaps the best of the Shinobi No Mono series, and its star, Ichikawa Raizo, is in top form. Animeigo has done a great job of subtitlin', transferin', and providin' historical notes. There's quite a bit of historical background provided, with only a couple of glarin' mistakes, neither of them that big of a deal (a big improvement over the ridiculously erroneous historical notes given with Kon Ichikawa's 47 Ronin, which Animeigo admits havin' gotten off of Wikipedia). To my relief, they make it a point to state that Hattori Hanzo was a well respected samurai. Animeigo has even included an interactive map of Japan, which shows you where all the action took place and givin' notes for many of the locations. To my knowledge, this is the first time Animeigo has included commentary on one of its 'Samurai Cinema' releases, and hopefully they can get someone better next time (like Pat Galloway, fer crissakes). To wit:
Your host for this exercise in inanity is Ric Meyers. I knew this commentary would likely be trouble when the DVD copy described him as 'martial arts scholar and author of the Ninja Master book series'. There's at least two red flags right there. 'Ninja Master' sounded vaguely familiar and sure enough, when the Brickster rooted through his ficton collection, he came up with a copy of 'Dragon Rising' from 1985. I had bought this book years ago on eBay in a lot of 20 samurai fiction books. It's the adventures of Brett Wallace, the American Ninjer Master, and Brett lives to perpetuate every ninja sterotype there is. Well, thinks the Brickster, Ric's had over 20 years to learn a bit more since that's been written-maybe his commentary will reflect it.
No such luck. Now, Ric Meyers doesn't seem to know a lot about Japanese history, samurai, ninja, or film history, but he sure does know a lot about Ric Meyers. Unfortunately, he's more than happy to share, and takes up a huge chunk of the film's openin' tellin' you how great he is and also spends time later tellin' you how fantastic his Ninja Master books are and how they'll give you a true picture of ninjitsu. In fact, he spends more time time doin' this than he does talkin' about the film-a cardinal sin. If yer doin' commentary, COMMENT ON THE DAMN FILM. I don't think he actually speaks of the film for more than 10-15 minutes of the runnin' time.
He's also a self proclaimed butcher of the Japanese language, which he admits to twice durin' the proceedin's. To give you an idea, he pronounces the name of the hero, Goemon, as 'Go-Man'. Similar names and titles get the same treatment.
But worst of all, he's spreadin' the ninjer gospel. Big time. He claims to have went to Japan and gotten his information from Japanese historians, but they must be the same 'martial arts' historians Stephen Hayes uses. Paraphrasin'-'Samurai practised Bushido, and therefore had to hire commoners and specialized warriors to carry out their dirty work. These warriors were held in contempt by samurai and were of low status. They formed large ninjer clans and hired themselves out to the highest bidder. They practised the 18 sekrit martial arts of ninjitsu and nothing is really known of them because everything was kept sekrit. Ninjitsu itself came over from China.' If that ain't enough, he throws in gems like 'kunoichi were female samurai', Akechi Mitsuhide-who he never mentions by name-is 'the 15 day Shogun', and 'samurai were about 3% of the population'. When speakin' of the historical situation the film covers (Akechi Mitsuhide's rebellion and Honnoji), he shrugs it off with "I think a lot of this did happen in real life" but never mentions who any of the iconic figures are (Ieyasu, Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, Mitsuhide, etc).
This was enough to make the Brickster weep. But wait-there's more! Film history time! Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is called the best of the western ninja movies, and Meyer's Ninja Master series the best western ninja fiction-although he also calls Eric Van Lustbader's crap-tastic novel 'Ninja' a 'well written book that treats ninjitsu seriously'. He brings up more Chinese ninja films than he does Japanese ninja films. His commentary on film history was so bad, in fact, that Animeigo had to include Commentary Notes in their extras specifically to correct points he had made about Ichikawa Raizo and the Shinobi No Mono series.
Sheesh...I think I can calm down now. By all means, buy the DVD-it's fantastic. But I'm tellin' ya-don't press that commentary button, unless you've got a strong masochistic streak
May 23, 2008-One of the things the studio has always wanted to do is cash in my foreigner status to market my films overseas. However, since most of my films are historical dramas or comedies, they’ve held off, since these normally don’t do well outside of Japan. My latest film, ‘Onryou Ryoushi’ (Onryou Hunter-an Onryou is one of those evil ghosts like in Ringu or Juon), gave ‘em an opportunity to try to do some sellin’ since Japanese horror is big overseas. The suits actually ponied up the yen to send me, Ko, and a couple of front office people and production personnel to the Cannes Film Festival in France this week to screen and market the film for international distribution (you can see some publicity stills from the film scattered throughout this entry). I mean, after all, any country that thinks Jerry Lewis is a genius would just have to love one of my classics, right?
Koyori’s never been outside of Japan (which is strange since she’s a rich daddy’s girl), and watchin’ her deal with a foreign culture amused me to no end. She had this vision in her head of exquisite French cuisine, a highly cultured citizenry, and top quality designer goods at rock bottom prices. Boy, was she in fer a rude awakenin’, with the accent on rude. She was deluged with unwashed would be ladies men (now the Brickster knows where the idea for Pepe LePew came from) invitin’ her to topless beaches, crappy goods at inflated prices, and lots of snotty, boorish behavior. She said it was so bad, it almost made me look civilized. The highlight was at a restaurant where the waiter brought the wrong order and then ignored her for an hour. She was aghast at the huge portions of food heaped on her plate, and wondered if she had botched her phrase book French and they thought she was also orderin’ for friends out in the car. Ko was ready to go complain to the management, but the Brickster knew that would go nowhere so he got results the old fashioned way (grabbin’ the waiter by the throat). Never fails! Anyway, Ko had the last laugh (inadvertently) when she walked out without tippin’ (since she was used to never havin’ to tip in Japan). That little waiter followed her for half a block haranguin’ her and only stopped when the Brickster threatened him with a forty hour work week.
On my end, I got propositioned by more would-be starlets than I could fit in my appointment book. I ended up sendin’ them all Kaz’s way (Kaz bein’ one of the studio publicists on the trip), since he’s a big fan of female body hair. I gotta admit, bein’ in Japan so long has spoiled me. I had forgotten just how many damn fat chicks there are in the West. I realize now that my Henrietta dream of last week must have been one of those prenocitive dreams or somethin’.
Anyway, we was there to work, not fer fun ‘n games. Since we were scheduled to be screenin’ at the same time as the new Indiana Jones movie, I was wonderin’ how many folks would show. Luckily, there were enough critics from Japan, gorehounds from America, Brickster groupies, and perverts wantin’ to get a look at Ko that we managed to fill the venue.
Onryou Ryoushi is somethin’ of a departure for the Brickster. It’s very dark and serious, noir-ish even. Lots of bloody violence, decrapitations, disembowelments, brain eatin’, weird science, and extremely ugly, decomposed, evil ghosts. And that’s just in the first scene. Not much in the way of lovin’ or comedy for my role, either, although there’s a lot of black humor ala Re-Animator. The Brickster plays Dexter Ward, a man who’s lost his family to a particularly nasty onryou-a former kami whose shrine had fallen into neglect and was no longer worshipped, warpin’ it into an onryou filled with a propensity to kill any human who wanders into his territory. Dexter’s family buys the suspiciously cheap home and when his wife and kids discover the neglected shrine on the attached land, they begin to clean it up and restore it. Bad move-the onryou, rather than appreciatin’ the gesture, just grows more resentful that it took so long and kills them. Dexter is driven mad by the event and swears to eradicate all manner of otherworldly beings (be they Onryou, Yokai, or whatever). This he does by readin’ old books from the Heian court’s Onmyouryou, studyin’ with Shingon priests, and in general learnin’ every supernatural method he can to banish and kick the ass of vengeful spirits (short of dressin’ up like a really ugly woman, one of Abe No Seimei’s favorite tricks and a garn-teed crowd pleaser in the Ponchoto district). Along the way he meets his assistant Kiku. Unbeknownst to Dexter, Kiku is actually a Rokurokubi-a Yokai, the famous Japanese long-necked woman. Bein’ a Rokurokubi, Kiku can do all sorts of amazin’ things…like…uhh…like bein’ able to see over fences without standin’ on a crate an’ stuff. Probably comes in handy durin’ sex, too, but in a real life tragedy this aspect ain’t explored in the film-the writers musta been gay. Anyway, since Kiku is in effect both Dexter’s lover and enemy, this gives the film all kinds of opportunities for angst, inner turmoil, and redemption-the kind of crap that critics lap up like mothers milk. The rest of us will just have to be content with kewl monsters, lookin’ at Koyori’s butt, lots of CGI, blood, internal organs, and things gettin’ blown up.
There’s even red tinted, out of focus avant garde monster POV shots. Really, what more could a moviegoer want? Hell, when we previewed it for "Fighting Women's News", they gushed over it like schoolgirls-"McBurly's performance left us in an exhausted heap and wanting more! MORE! OH GOD, MORE!!!"
Well, even though we knew we had a garn-teed hit on our hands, the Brickster thought a little in theater live promotion durin’ the film ala William Castle would seal the deal. After all, what horror movie aficionado wouldn’t want to see the monsters on the screen up close and personal? You might all recall that Hikonyan, the mascot for Hikone Castle, had done a bang up job for us providin’ entertainment at the Brick McBurly Valentine’s Day Hot Tub Party. So we brought her along to Cannes along with one of the SFX monkeys and turned her into one of the Onryou from the film. Durin’ a climatic chase scene onscreen, we planned to have her burst out from sidestage and rush into the crowd, bringin’ the onscreen chaos home in a way that ain’t been seen since the sixties. I hadn’t counted on two things, though.
1) Hikonyan’s a mascot, and mascots don’t talk while in costume. Ever. This is true-I found out even if yer pawin’ her butt through the suit, she wouldn’t say a word.
2) It was a predominately French crowd.
Since ‘Hikoryou’ wasn’t talkin’ or screamin’ like a banshee, the theatergoers didn’t notice her until she was right on top of them, causin’ a huge scare factor. And since a lot of ‘em were French, a huge chorus of “Recul! Recul!” started to go up, causin’ a huge chain reaction of stampedin’ for the exits that left us with only the Japanese critics in the audience, since none of ‘em understood French. Halfway through, and virtually no audience-not good.
Somehow or another, we managed to get most everyone back to the theater for a second screenin’. We had to have ‘Hikoryou’ take off her head and wave to the crowd before most of ‘em would come back in, but I think it was the promise of free liquor served up by strippers that really turned the tide. This fortuitously had additional benefits as well, since the drunken and rowdy crowd was in the perfect frame of mind for the film. The reviews were almost all overwhelmin’ly positive and I think there’s a good chance the film will be picked up for distribution, cable, or DVD in the West.
The only dissentin’ voice was this wuss of a critic who went by the name of Henri S. He said the film lacked any sort of basis in mythology or history and that it was the work of an ignorant. I think the real reason he hated it was the size of the dry cleanin’ bill he presumably got stuck with judgin’ from the wet spot on the front of his pants I saw as he ran out of the theater the first time. Either that, or the fact that Ko didn’t tip him earlier in the restaurant while he was workin’ his real job.
May 14, 2008-The Brickster's headin' off to the Festival De Cannes to share his latest classic with the self-styled intelligentsia of the movie biz. I'll check in next week and let ya know how it's goin' over!
May 12, 2008-Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the USA, and I decided it would work just as well in Japan. Even though me’n Ko don’t have any children yet, we will someday, so rather than wait for it to be official I decided to treat her to dinner anyway. Most of you probably know that eatin’ out at a restaurant in Japan is outrageously expensive, and you only do it when you want to impress someone. Since me ‘n Ko are married, I don’t have to worry about impressin’ her anymore, so I took the budget route. A nice inexpensive alternative to restaurants in Japan are convenience stores-they all have pretty elaborate food services, and the quality of the food is really pretty good-better than what you’d get in a fast food restaurant in the States. A bonus is that the magazine rack full of girly books is close by (none of the ‘behind the counter’ crap you get in the States), providin’ you with plenty to look at while you’re eatin’-and if you’re lucky, the store’ll be staffed by cute schoolgirls that giggle over American film stars and let them eat fer nothin’. So’s after I finished my afternoon of workin' in the studio's Obakeyashiki (that's haunted house to the USA), I took Ko down to Daily Yamazaki and let her pick whatever she wanted on the menu. Now, personally, I’da preferred dinin’ at ‘Mr. Donut’ south of Kyoto Station or ‘Spaghetti And Cake’ down on Gojo Dori, since Japanese food as prepared by the master chefs at Daily Yamazaki usually leaves me feelin’ a bit queasy (since it’s routinely washed down with several Asahi tall boys)-but Ko actually enjoys eatin’ there (since it brings back memories of when we were datin’), so I soldiered on.
I wasn’t feelin’ too good when we got home and turned in early-and sure enough, I ended up havin’ one hell of a nightmare. The Brickster found hisself locked in a fruit cellar straight out of the Evil Dead series. This incredibly obese and decomposed hag named Henrietta drug herself out of the ground and began to cackle and back me into a corner. She musta been some swordswoman zombie chick (just like the ones in the Obakeyashiki), since she had a rusted old Chinese knock-off of a samurai sword thrust in between folds of her lard. She started croonin’ that ‘I’m your biggest fannnnnnnnn’ (well, at 400 pounds, I can believe that), ‘Brick McBurly-Yeeeeewwwww Rock, Man!’ and ‘Wait’ll you see MY piecework’ while givin’ the Brickster a wink that turned his blood to ice water. Since she was slower than the Brickster pickin' up a bar tab, I managed to dodge her for a while, but as always happens in dreams, I found myself runnin’ but not gettin’ anywhere. As the hag gave me a look usually reserved for starvin’ ronin lookin at a cheese coney, I did the only thing I could think of-I dialed Ashigaru on my cell and handed it to her. While she was distracted by the smooth-talkin’ Ashi promisin’ her a syruptitious night visit that would leave her clamorin’ fer more (totally lost on her since zombies don't usually speak Japanese), I frantically looked around fer a weapon. All I was able to lay eyes on was a big burlap sack of white flour. Better’n nothin’-I picked it up and-WHUMP!-whacked the hag with all my might, breakin’ open the bag and dumpin’ the contents on the floor. At the sight of this, the hag immediately forgot me and began to roll around in it, coverin’ herself in a white coat-all, that is, except for one horrible spot….
This is where Koyori woke me up-she said it’s the first time I was thrashin’ around sleepin’ where I wasn’t callin’ out another woman’s name. Seein’ as how I was in a cold sweat and terrified as hell, she did her best to comfort me-and one thing led to another, so it all worked out OK.
Anyway, I need some dream interpreter to tell me what it all means. Ko says it means I oughta quit chasin after women and to avoid processed foods, but I think it probably means ‘stay away from loud mouthed fat chicks’-no problem there.
May 5, 2008-One of the new members of the Samurai Archives posted an interestin’ thread-the 10 Most Important/Decisive Sengoku era battles. Fer a newcomer, he had some good ideas and points to make, but the Brickster didn’t have the heart to tell him he missed the most decisive battle of the Sengoku-the one fight that changed the entire political landscape and laid the groundwork for dozens of future battles. I’m referrin’, of course, to the Great Miyako Pillow Fight which took place in the Imperial Palace in July of 1569 (by the Western calendar). This battle is little known outside Japan and was first brought to the attention of English speakers through the pioneerin’ efforts of the SA’s co-founder, F.W. Seal. It’s thought that early Western historians specializin’ in Japanese history, bein’ cut from the repressed Victorian academic mold, found the battle inappropriate and refused to even speak of it in their works.
The Great Miyako Pillow Fight broke out early in the evenin’ of the eighth day of the sixth month (by the Japanese calendar) durin’ a party hosted by Emperor Reigen for several dignitaries. While it is unclear what touched off the battle, it seems that there was a disagreement between the Emperor’s concubines and several women brought along by partygoers over who would be pourin’ the sake fer His Excellency. In short order, drinks were thrown, insults exchanged, and challenges set down. Despite the best efforts of Reigen to maintain order, the party dissolved into mass confusion as the women armed themselves with cushions and giggles and had at it. Chaos reigned as indicated by the followin’ excerpt from ‘Nekodoushi No Senka Monogatari’ (猫同士の戦火物語）:
"Muneko was about 18 at the time. She was attired in a robe of green-laced silk over a dark blue underrobe with lapels and sleeve edgings of red brocade. At her waist, she wore a flute with a silver cord-loop; high on her head, there rose a hairdo containing the few ornaments left from that day's fighting, all fledged with black-banded silver bangles, and also a deerhorn humming-bulb comb fledged with pink cherry blossoms and grey-banded black lacquered stays. With her rattan-wrapped cushion pressed to her side and her veil tied to her shoulder-cord, she made obeisance in Nagamasa's presence.
"Now then, Muneko! Whack that beyotch square in the middle; show the Akechi what you can do!"
Muneko spoke with respect. "I am not sure I can hit it. It would be an eternal disgrace for our side if I missed. You had better choose someone who seems more certain of success. Or maybe pick a larger target for me, like her ass."
Nagamasa flew into a rage. "You women who have left Owari for the West must obey my orders. If anyone wants to haggle, let them go home right now."
Muneko took out her cushion, fitted her grip, drew it back to the full, and sent the pillow whizzing on its way. Despite her small stature, the pillow measured twelve handbreaths and three fingers, and her arm was a powerful one. Singing until the room resounded, the pillow flew straight to the target (the lay priestess Sukeko), thudded into her about an inch from her throat, and popped open her robe. The pillow fell by Muneko's side; Sukeko's breasts spilled towards the onlookers.
In an perhaps excessive burst of admiration and enthusiasm, a man of about fifty, dressed in a rabbit suit laced with black leather and carrying a paddle with a plain wooden handle, emerged from the tearoom to perform a dance where the robe had been lowered. Nagamasa walked up behind Muneko. 'His Lordship commands you to whack that fellow!' Muneko took out her spare cushion, fitted her grip, drew it back to the full, and sent the pillow whizzing off. It thudded into the dancer's nether regions, and he fell headlong to the bottom of the sake tray."
As the night wore on, the men began to choose sides. They joined in the battle and the conflict began to dissolve into isolated duels. When the dust cleared the next mornin’, no one was certain who had emerged victorious. However, everyone appeared exhausted and quite satisfied by the outcome. This bein’ the case, the Son Of Heaven decreed that the battle would be refought yearly in an effort to determine a winner-a tradition which continues to this day *.
Much like a pebble dropped in a pond, the group had no idea of the wide rangin’ repercussions that were to emerge from the battle-most all of which had to do with the warlord Oda Nobunaga. It seems Asai Nagamasa was one of the dignitaries present at the battle, and his wife Oichi was none too pleased at his role as one of the aggressors. She petitioned her brother Nobunaga to chastise Nagamasa, which the Demon King was only too happy to do, since nobody dissed his sister and got away with it. It was then that Nobunaga made his decision to move against the Asakura in order to provoke Nagamasa to turn on him, a decision which ended in Nobunaga acquirin’ a nice piece of Asaiware.
Akechi Mitsuhide was also one of the guests, and his failure to bring Nobunaga along caused Oda to resent Mitsuhide greatly-while Akechi had been campaignin’ with the court ladies, Oda had been relyin’ on the talents of his page, Mori Ranmaru. Oda never forgave Mitsuhide, resultin’ in a systemic deluge of abuse that drove Mitsuhide to be revoltin’.
Finally, Kennyo Kosa was present as well. While in his dealin’s with Nobunaga he was wont to bring along aged and smelly monks, he brought along several ‘lay priestesses’ (so to speak) to the Emperor’s party. This did not sit well with Nobunaga, who mused aloud ‘What the hell’s up with that?’ and vowed to make Kosa regret his lack of vision no matter how long it took.
As one can see, the Great Miyako Pillow Fight’s influence reached deeply into many of the seminal events of the Sengoku. With time, one can only hope that Western scholars give it the attention and merit it so richly deserves.
*-and it’s STILL an annual event at the Imperial Palace. The Brickster’s pal, retired exiled Emperor Go-Chikatetsu-no-eki assures me that as soon as he remembers where he put the keys to the Imperial Palace and regains power, the Brickster’ll be gettin’ an invite.
April 28, 2008-Usually, the McBurly Monogatari entries pretty much write themselves-all I need to do is comment on the dumbest thing I did all week. Since I managed to get through the entire week without doin’ somethin’ really stupid, though, I’m kinda at a loss. One of the studio publicists told me a while back, “If you can’t think of something original, take the lazy way out and answer fan mail”. Sounds like a winner to me! We’ll skip right over all the ‘stay away from my wife/girlfriend’ missives and get right to the good stuff.
From Masako in Osaka we have the followin’:
“You mentioned “The Brickster’s Big Top” on your blog recently. Just what is that?”
Well, Masako, Koyori would kill me if I divulged all the esoteric rites and rituals associated with “The Brickster’s Big Top”. I can tell you it’s a multi-event extravaganza, includin’ a rousin’ game of ring toss, loin tamin’, a sideshow act involvin’ a man givin’ birth to an elephant and sword swallowin’, a talkin’ mute, and our rendition of that routine where you see how many clowns (or how much of one) will fit in a tiny vehicle. The Brickster’s always holdin’ auditions for female performers-just swing on by the studio one day.
Mex-agaru in San Fran wrote in regards to the Brickster’s troubles at McDonalds:
“Hai. Mifune carried a nodachi in Seven Samurai, but had no fast food.”
Uhhh…..Ok, Mex. I’m sure your point is correct. Whatever it is.
Lonny and Josh all the way from Bangkok in Thailand wrote:
“Brick, since you are indeed a man of wealth and taste, we’d like to share with you the secret recipe for ‘Banana Surprise’. It’s a specialty of many of the gentlemen’s clubs down here, and the women who prepare the dish show an amazing degree of culinary expertise and motor control. Just like Japanese restaurants in the United States, they prepare it right at your table and serve it up hot!”
Wow! Now THIS sounds like a treat the Brickster could really get into!
Nate from Kumamoto wrote the Brickster:
“While I have a satisfying career counting rice in the paddies near my rustic hut and then keeping the North Koreans from taking it, I’ve always wanted to be a lumberj…err, a big Jidai-geki film star like yourself. The thought of playing Oda Nobunaga on the big screen has me tingling with anticipation of Tenka Fubu. Do you have any tips on how to break into the business for a fellow gaijin?”
Well, Nate, it takes years of long work and an unwaverin’ dedication to become a master thespian. Actin’ workshops, speech and vocal trainin’, workin’ in live theater, and doin’ commercials, theme parks, supermarket openin’s, and porn flicks all give valuable experience and help add to your resume. That’s what I’m told, anyway. Personally, I found it a helluva lot easier to just marry the daughter of one of the Studio Producers.
George Dubbya from Washington, DC asks:
“Heya, Brickster! Ya’ll need anything blowed up real good? I’ll be findin’ myself out of a job soon and I think I’d be perfect for pyrotechnics in your special effects department. How bout it?”
Sorry, George, but as I recall your last few jobs went way over budget and the final products didn’t go over too well in the international market. However, I’d be happy to have your daughters hired as extras on my next film. Just send ‘em on over, but you might want those babes to change their names to ‘Gallup’ first.
Sayuri from Gion has the followin’:
“Brick, your last party was simply the best! Getting my fellow geisha drunk and then calling it ‘Smashing Pumpkin’ will surely be mentioned in my memoirs. By the way, you left a pair of clown shoes under the futon. Feel free to pick them up anytime.”
Ash from Canada weighs in with:
“Hello Brick. As a non-academic and proud of it journalist and an expert on Japanese History, I’m hoping you will help me publicize my upcoming book on your website. It represents over 10 years of meticulous research and translation (some of it from actual BOOKS!), and features one of the most famous figures of the Bakamatsu, Sakamoto Obenjo. While I’m not really sure what the Bakamatsu was or why it was so important, Sakamoto was well noted for his exquisite and sublime haiku poetry penned on the walls of squat toilet stalls all over the newly built train stations of Meiji Japan. Here is an example:
“There once was a girl from China,
who had a popsicle stick stuck in…”
Err, OK, on to the next and final letter.
Koyori from Kyoto writes:
“Brick, you are severely trying my patience and disturbing the tranquility of our household. The Buddha said, ‘Don’t make me come over there. Get off the internet-NOW.’”
Well, who am I to argue with the Buddha (or the daughter of my producer)? That’ll do it for this week’s Brickster’s Mailbag!
April 21, 2008-Last week the Brickster was doin’ a meet-n-greet at DVD World down on Gojo-dori to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and push copies of the ‘Brick McBurly and the Samurai Chicks’ DVD boxed set. While I was there, I noticed among the stacks of flyers perched on the check-out counter these little gems (you can click on ‘em to get the full size version):
As you might imagine, Okuni’s Strip Kabuki and The Sengoku Princess Dating Service (with Oichi, Hosokawa Garasha, Nohime, Nene, and Hojoin among others) caught my attention. I figured I’d go check ‘em out and see if I could work out an endorsement deal. The Brickster’s rep with the ladies along with Abarenbo Gaijin mixin’ history with the present makes me a natural spokesman for somethin’ like this. Anyways, I show up at Okuni’s and was happy to see it was every bit as excitin’ as advertised. Nice lookin’ clean club, too, and the girls were real energetic cuties-none of the poor worn out lookin’ Korean hookers you might expect. I asked to see the management and was kinda surprised that they weren’t the usual sleazy lookin’ greasy yakuza type punks that usually run these joints. In fact, they looked like a couple of otaku geeks. We had a nice conversation, but in the end Goemon and Saizo said between start up costs, costumes, payin’ the girls and keepin’ the club runnin’ they were barely makin’ any dough and couldn’t afford to hire the Brickster as spokesman (even though I’da been happy to work for tips). On the way out, one of the dancers approached the Brickster fer a chat-turns out she’s also a part-time extra at the studio and wanted to know if I could get her a speakin’ role in Abarenbo Gaijin. Well, I ain’t one to say no to a half naked babe so I handed her my business card and told her to give me a call at the studio. Then I headed on home before Koyori decided to send out a search party full o’ divorce lawyers.
Later that night, the Brickster was awoken by the sound of a bunch of crap bein’ knocked over. I’da wrote it off as raccoons rummagin’ through the garbage cans, until I realized that this is Japan and there ain’t any trash cans for them to rummage through. At great personal risk to myself, I got up to investigate-besides, Mr. Crackers was tellin’ me it was time to visit the obenjo. Even though I was feelin’ like the tipsy house from ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ after a evenin’ of merrymakin’, I managed to grope my way down the stairs and flipped on the hall light switch. I was surprised to see this (photo from the Brickster’s security cameras):
With the red and gold costumes, at first I thought Ronald McDonald had come to wreak his vengeance for that incident at McDonald’s back in January (see last week’s entry)-or that these ninja were from Mastercard’s collection department. In any case, these two didn’t have a condiment tray to blend in with so I went after ‘em. I’da had ‘em, too, if I hadn’t tripped over Corky the Wonder Dog (who was takin’ the sensible approach by sleepin’ through the whole thing) and knocked myself out.
As I found out later, Ko came on the scene about this time. While she ain’t a stranger to seein’ the Brickster sprawled on the floor unconscious, the two Ronalds tryin’ to get past her to the door clued her in that somethin’ was amiss. As luck would have it, we had been playin’ “The Brickster’s Big Top” earlier in the evenin’ and she picked up a discarded clown shoe, clubberin’ the two into a semi-conscious state. I think two Ronalds bein’ beaten with a clown shoe qualifies as karmic retribution-or at least bein’ hoisted on their own petards.
Ko arouses the Brickster (every day, pretty much) and it turns out that these two are Goemon and Saizo! They stammered out that they saw me talkin’ to their dancer earlier and thought I was tryin’ to hire their girls away. Since they couldn’t afford to lose any of the dancers, they was tryin’ to warn me off by scarin’ me-movin’ stuff around in our house, eatin’ our food, and makin’ long distance phone calls on our cells. However, they had tripped over Wonder Dog too and given themselves away by makin’ a big enuff racket to wake the Brickster. I explained the situation and told ‘em I had no intention of hirin’ their cuties (especially since Ko was standin’ right there) and they apologized profusely, promisin’ they’d never, EVER, do anythin’ like this again. So we let ‘em go.
However, since those two were, after all, ninja, I didn’t trust ‘em. So’s I put a sign up over our house’s name plate that the Brickster had moved, and listed his new address. Sure enuff, the next day I passed by Ishikawa Raizo’s place and saw his home and greenery were festooned with toilet paper and his motor scooter had been egged. I heard later he had stomped out a bag of flamin’ dog poop on his front porch as well as received several phone calls pertainin’ to the whereabouts of one Sir Walter Raleigh. After I heard this, the Brickster shuddered to think of all the close calls he had had with ninja durin’ his youth in America without even realizin’ the crafty bastards were the culprits. I told Ko to start lockin’ the front door at night to keep the nutcases away.
April 14, 2008-Ya know, sometimes fame and fortune has its drawbacks. For example, the Brickster gets blamed fer all sorts o’ stuff that he had nothin’ to do with. Take this story that I’m sure you all saw back in January in the Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun:
Actress & Crew Arrested For Shooting Porno Movie At McDonald’s
The woman shown at right was arrested today for taking part in an adult movie filmed inside of a McDonald’s restaurant in Higashimatsuyama City, Saitama Prefecture on January 24 of this year. The woman is identified as Ms. Nahoko Shimada (her stage name has not been reported), a 21-year-old dental assistant that has starred in several adult films. According to Nikkan Sports, she turned to porn in December in an effort to pay back about 20,000,000 yen in debts she had incurred, but she retired after the McDonald’s incident.
Also arrested were three men, including an actor and the film’s director. The director has said he chose McDonald’s as a filming location because they did not want to pay for the use of a hotel and did not expect to be discovered while filming. One man had positioned himself in a seat to act as a screen for the filming activities, but they were eventually noticed and the police were notified, leading to today’s arrests.
Famous foreign action star Brick McBurly was a witness to the incident, and gave this statement to reporters: "Don't look at me, I was just there for the food". The internet community has been eagerly watching his blog for further comments."
Now, what you didn’t see here was how the Brickster became an innocent victim of coicumstance. Me, Ko, and her mom were out shoppin’ (well, they was shoppin’-I was playin’ pack horse for them). Luggin’ all that crap around set off a man-sized hunger in the Brickster, so when we passed near a Mickey D’s I suggested we all stop and get somethin’ to eat. While the gals ordered their normal round of bird food, the Brickster got hisself a Big Mac, large fries, a cup of soft serve ice cream, and a Big Orange to wash it all down with. I mean, why go to McDonald’s and order Japanese food? It’s downright unpatriotic. Anyway, Ko and her mom excused themselves to go use the restroom. This brings up the question about why women can never visit the facilities by themselves, and why it takes ‘em so damn long-maybe it has cable-but I digress.
The Brickster sets into his Big Mac and about that time he notices somethin’ funny goin’ on a couple of tables down. One fat pimply faced greasy lookin’ guy pulls a chair up next to the booth and plops hisself down, facin’ the register. Some skinny geek pulls a camera out of a bag, and the gal next to him gets up and takes her overcoat off. This got my attention in a big way, because she wasn’t wearin’ anythin’ underneath. She disappeared under the table and the cheesy lookin’ Japanese guy with the poofy perm sittin’ across from her begins to writhe around like his pants were on fire-I think you get the picture. Anyway, I forgot about the food and settled back to enjoy the show. The proceedin’s came to a premature climax when the restaurant manager, some little gay lookin’ guy with a screechy voice, came over and demanded to know what was goin’ on. He had out his cell and was callin’ the local koban before you could ask to supersize your order.
As luck would have it, Tatsuya from the local paper was a couple of booths up and came over to see what was goin’ on-he saw the naked cutie two booths down, and even worse, recognized the Brickster on his way over there. The cops were there in no time, and the Brickster knew trouble was brewin’ when Tatsuya started talkin’ to them and pointed a finger my way. Naturally enough, the cops figure when there’s trouble a foreigner must be involved, and if it’s a naked gal, it must be the Brickster. So they come over to question me, and about that time, Koyori and her mom choose that moment to reappear on the scene. They see the Brickster bein’ questioned by 4 cops, and a naked gal just then pullin’ on an overcoat. Without stoppin’ to ask, Ko picks up my Big Orange and douses me with it, and her mom upends the cup of soft serve on my impeccable ‘do. About this time, the cops are draggin’ trenchcoat gal outside and on her way out she passes the Brickster her phone number and gives him a big wink. This earns me Momma Ko’s best right cross and a premium spot on the floor. Ko and her mom storm out of the restaurant in a huff, stickin’ me with the tab for a change in a revoltin’ turn of events. The worst part was I didn’t even get a chance to finish my fries.
Anyway, Tatsuya got real apologetic when he found out I had nothin’ to do with this particular bit of guerilla filmmakin’ and explained everythin’ to Koyori. She in turn was even more apologetic and accomodatin’ if ya know what I mean, which kinda made the whole ordeal worth it. But I still got ripped in the papers and on TV. I learned two things:
1) If you’re shootin’ porn in a public place, get a sumo wrestler to sit in as your screen, not just a regular fat guy.
2) Always keep my left up when dealin’ with Momma Ko.
Why bring all this up now? Well, my agent Obenjo Kusanosuke, never one to miss an opportunity, inked me to an endorsement deal with McDonalds Japan. You see the Brickster sittin’ in a booth, sighin’ with pleasure with a Big Mac in his hand, and givin’ the signature Mickey D line “I’m lovin’ it!!!!!” Then a cutie’s head pops up from under the table and says “Me too!” We just finished shootin’ over the weekend, and you heard a short clip of the audio when you came to this page (assumin’ yer speakers are on)-you can even hear the ‘Abarenbo Gaijin’ theme playin’ that they used for background.
April 7, 2008-The Brickster was hired to do the voice over for a new anime spoof of last year's NHK taiga drama, Furinkazan. It'll be called Fool'n Kazan and it's a joint effort between the creators of South Park (Matt Stone and Trey Parker) and Cartoon Network Japan, with the Obenjo Animation Studio doin' the honors. You can read more about it on the Brickster's 'Career' page, includin' the character model sheets-just scroll to the bottom.
The Brickster also made the front page of the Japan Times. Here's the text of the article-you know what they say:there's no such thing as bad publicity...
"TRADER BRICK SWAPS DRINK FOR SPEAR"
Kioi-cho is where the New Otani hotel is located and this is where Kato Kiyomasa's old yashiki used to be. The classic style Japanese garden at the New Otani is a favorite spot to stroll through in Tokyo. The hotel features small tea ceremony huts on the grounds, an antique nihonto shop, and a bookstore that has a great collection of books on Japan, making it a popular tourist stop. There's also an opportunity to pick up a burger and cocktails at the Trader Vic's located on the 4th floor. Last night, the tranquility of the New Otani was shattered when comedian and B movie star Brick McBurly was on hand with a group of young women who suspiciously looked like “adult shrine maidens out of costume”. After quaffing several industrial sized drinks with the tiny little umbrellas, the inebriated star of "Abarenbo Gaijin" lived up to his on-screen image. With a rebel yell, he succeeded in ripping a Polynesian spear off the wall and speared one of the puffer fish hanging from the ceiling in the lounge area and the girls began cheering wildly. While no patrons were injured during the assault, it was reported that a certain Saito Yoichi spit up all over his wife's new designer label dress while watching the spectacle. The shocked restaurant manager came over with security and then escorted Brick out the door. When asked what would have prompted the Brickster to perform such a pointless stunt, Brick's agent Obenjo Kusanosuke had the following to say: "I think he's had a long-standing grudge against puffer fish for poisoning Tokugawa Ieyasu back in the Edo Period-plus he knew it would impress his pack of bimb...err, starlets. Not to mention get his name and picture in the paper, and also they'd be in such a big hurry to get rid of him they'd forget to present him with the bill. Thankfully, Brick didn't see me and come on over, or I'm sure the management would have pinned the bill for the damages on me!"
The wily McBurly was handed over by the hotel's management to his wife and co-star, Koyori McBurly. While Mrs. McBurly had no comment, Kusanosuke stated that "The hotel management knew that getting a lecture from his wife would be far worse for the Brickster than anything the police could dish out-and let's face it, the whole incident will bring more people here hoping to see him do something ungodly stupid again. It's a win-win situation-hey, do you have any more of those salty pretzel things?"
The puffer fish is expected to make a full recovery after a trip to the taxidermy shop."
April 1, 2008-Abarenbo Gaijin Season 2
Well, it’s been a year to the day since my pal Tatsu spilled the beans on Abarenbo Gaijin and touched off McBurlymania (such as it is…Daily Yamazaki named a sammich after me, anyway). So it’s only fittin’ that we use this occasion to unveil the lineup for Abarenbo Gaijin: Season Two! This year the show moves even further back in history (over a thousand years!), has more guest stars, more fightin’, more gorgeous babes, and more importantly, bigger paychecks for the stars.ll of yer fav’rits from season one are back-
1) Yers truly, the Brickster-transported through time in Season One by an arcane Shingon Buddhist scroll found inside a statue of Prince Shotoku, he’s still tryin’ to find a way back. I ain’t the smartest, strongest, or most skilled guy around-but I am one of the craftiest.
2) Warrior Maiden Koyori (Koyori McBurly)-still lookin’ fine and the most capable fighter around, Koyori has vowed to defend the Brickster with the last breath from her…large…heavin’…bosom….oh yeah…ummm, anyway, Koyori’s band of Shrine Maidens will continue to be a pool of the best in dispensable Japanese idols on a week to week basis.
3) Brick’s sidekick and steadfast pal, the famed Onmyoji, Abe No Seimei (Nomura Mansai)-the reason they’re STILL lookin’ for a way back, Seimei continues to botch every sure fire method Brick composes for returnin’ everyone to their proper time. But he’s a dependable buddy for a 吉宴.
After the Brickster polished off Musashi and his Mama at the end of season one, he needed a new weekly foil-this year, it’s gonna be the famous Japanese God/Warrior/Hellraiser Susa-no-o. Right now, the plan is to cast famous emo GACKT after his eye openin’ performance as Uesugi Kenshin in ‘Furinkazan’. Which brings us to the official press release containin’ the episodes for this season-13 one hour episodes with a two hour season endin’ movie.
Abarenbo Gaijin Press Release-Season 2 Episodes
1) O, Susa-no!-McBurly and his entourage find themselves back in the earliest days of Japan after Seimei’s latest attempt at controlled time travel goes bad (again). Brick has his pizza-man stolen by the legendary eight headed serpent, Orochi, and in the process of kicking the scaly beast’s hide and recovering his dinner comes into possession of the fabled ‘grass cutting sword’, Kusanagi. This doesn’t sit well with the man-god Susa-no-o, who sees the sword as his provenance (see the exclusive script excerpt after the episode list).
2) Onerymyoji-Seimei gets a swelled head when the group finds itself involved with the Imperial Court during the Heian era. Now back in his own time, Seimei basks in the adulation of the court amid exaggerated tales of his exploits. Brick and Koyori find themselves forced to become his menial vassals in order to escape execution as Yokai, and the duo plot to bring Seimei back to his lovable drunken self.
3) Genpein-the lovely courtesan Shizuka does a headlong fall for Brick, which doesn’t sit well with her erstwhile patron, Minamoto No Yoshitsune. To make matters worse, warrior monk Benkei develops an infatuation with Seimei. Yoshitsune decides to kill two birds with one stone and sets off after Brick’s band. As the Brickster hightails it down a hill with Shizuka in tow, Yoshitsune follows them down and inadvertently finds fame as he emerges in the middle of the Taira camp at Ichinotani.
4) Dimyo-Takeda Shingen cons Brick into acting as his double after he hears about an assassination plot being hatched by Tokugawa Ieyasu. While the wily Tiger Of Kai smugly congratulates himself, he’s in for a rude awakening when his female bodyguards (led by Lady Kae) take a liking to Brick and finger the real Shingen for Ieyasu’s hit squad.
5) Snitchokoki-Ota Gyuichi makes off with Brick’s copy of “The Samurai Sourcebook”. He uses the book as a guide to advising his lord, Oda Nobunaga, on what actions to take and which to avoid in his efforts to unite the country. Brick, realizing that this is, after all, a Turnbull book, knows that following that course will be fraught with unexpected danger for Nobunaga.
6) Kiyomasa’s Great Korean Pussy Hunt (with a script based on a story by the SA’s own Obenjo Kusanosuke)-Brick attempts to prevent Kato Kiyomasa’s captive, a beautiful Korean Princess, from being ripped in half by enticing the hot-headed killer Kiyomasa to join him on a tiger hunt. Seimei and Koyori don a tiger suit and succeed in luring the rather dull Kiyomasa away. However, the ploy backfires when a real tiger takes a shining to the ersatz feline. Brick must face the quandary of rescuing both the Princess and his two friends.
7) Kellogg’s Pope Tarts-When corrupt Jesuit Heinrich Kellogg (played by special guest star Stephen Seagull) attempts to smuggle Japanese prostitutes out of Japan and to the Vatican, he does so by disguising them as Catholic Nuns. By posing as a European falconry instructor, the Brickster enlists the aid of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu and gains entrance to the Black Ship as a Shogunal envoy. Brick decides it’s time to ‘get into the habit’ of saving these girls from a fate worse than death, setting them free to whore themselves out where they belong.
8 ) Stiff Competition-back from Season One, former Christian rebel and necromancer Amakusa Shiro returns from the grave to wreak vengeance on Brick. He does so by entrancing Koyori, turning her to his cause and using her against Brick. Faced with the choice of dying at her hands or being forced to slay her, Brick struggles to find a way out of this impossible situation.
9) The Mongrel Invasion-Brick manages to finagle himself into Shogun Tokugawa Tsunayoshi’s good graces, and is appointed to the highest office in the Bakufu. Unfortunately for him, this turns out to be Keeper Of the Shogunate Kennels. When evil minister Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu turns loose a horde of rabid animals in Edo in an effort to discredit Brick, Keeper McBurly must swallow his pride and enlist the aid of that pesky sawed off runt, Corky The Wonder Dog, to identify the mastermind.
10) Wild Kingdom-Brick finds a kindred spirit in the Lord Of Ako, the drunken lecher Lord Asano Naganori. Asano’s ‘Neverland’ castle and ‘anything goes’ fief makes the Yoshiwara district look like the Vatican on Easter Sunday. The friendship proves to be short lived after Asano, losing at ‘Truth Or Dare’ during a drinking bout, takes up the double-dog dare (well, it IS during Tsunayoshi’s reign) of drawing his sword in Edo castle.
11) The Wolf Of Mibu-wanting to gift Koyori on her birthday and thinking he is enrolling her in a local dojo, Brick mistakenly enlists in the Shinsengumi. Hilarity ensues when the other members discover that Brick actually likes women, marking him for death.
12) Face Off-the Brickster displays the true scope of his acting range in this episode, playing four additional roles co-opted from his most popular films-the drunken womanizer Gyonyo (from the TV series ‘The Mountain Aesthetic’), the drunken womanizer Kuraku’d Tengu (from the TV special ‘Kuraku’d Tengu), the drunken womanizer Karuza Toma (from the film ‘The Lust Samurai’), and the drunken womanizer Orugasuma Eito (from the mega-hit film ‘Shogun Sexecutioner’). Trouble brews when the Evil Teamaster, Sen No Nagaeyari (from the TV series ‘The Bitter Teamaster’, where Brick played his nemesis Sam Adams), contrives to have all five of his enemies wander into Kyoto at the same time. When there isn’t enough sake or geisha to go around, a turf war erupts amongst the five.
13) Tales Of The Atari-When Brick takes out a room full
of shishi in a barroom brawl, Choshu Han wants revenge. Thinking only
Western ways can defeat Western ways, they hire the Australian ninja
Heian Learn and her Tribe of secret assassins and samurai, the Atari, to
punch the Brickster's ticket.
(Brickster's Note: The Atari are pretty cool, although they tend to stand around and give long winded speeches instead of gettin' to it-they're noted fer using high-tech Western versions of traditional Japanese weapons. We're filmin' this episode now so I have an example from the prop department Koyori took with her cell. Note the advanced version of the traditional Japanese sickle and chain weapon on the lower left.)
Season Ending Movie) Kofun Nails-One of Susa-no-o’s schemes finally works and Brick is trapped inside a kofun, where he finds an angry Amaterasu (who has been hiding out inside since being ‘loved and left’ by the Brickster in episode one). Brick must not only survive the wrath of the jilted living Goddess, but also entice her to the outside world and bring light back to Japan. And after that, there’s the matter of the man-god Susa-no-o awaiting his turn for a showdown….
And since my weapon of choice, the sawed off boat oar “Painless”, was destroyed in the season endin’ fight with Musahi’s Mama (and because the guys in merchandisin’ insisted), this year the Brickster will be usin’ the famous grass-cuttin’ sword, Kusanagi, as his weapon-as seen in this Episode One script excerpt:
Abarenbo Gaijin Episode One Script Excerpt:
The man-god SUSA-NO-O cuts an imposing yet bizarre figure. He towers over BRICK and his body crackles with plasmatic energy. With a visage straight out of a kabuki play and clad only in a loincloth, SUSA-NO-O speaks in an unholy echoing voice.
“Worm! What makes you think you are fit to be the bearer of that blade? Surely you do not believe that the kami find you worthy of such an honor?”
BRICK waves the sword around in a casual and distracted manner.
“Well, after all, I DID pull it out of that giant snake’s butt. That kinda makes me the chosen one, don’t it? It’s like King Arthur and the Sword In The Stone, except it’s a reptile crack instead.”
Cut to tight shot of SUSA-NO-O, whose visage is a strange mixture of red faced rage and confusion over Brick’s babblings.
“I know nothing of this Arthur King. I do know that sword is meant to be the carrier of my destiny and the cornerstone of the glorious Imperial Family. Surrender it now, and I promise you your death will be a swift and painless one.”
“Since ya asked so nicely-sure, pal, whatever you say.”
SUSA-NO-O’s face calms somewhat and settles into a look of arrogant satisfaction. This is short lived as BRICK’s pizza-man comes flying in from offscreen and smacks SUSA-NO-O in the kisser, sliding off and leaving a trail of doughy Orochi slime in its wake. SUSA-NO-O opens his mouth to level a stream of invectives at BRICK, but before he can, Kusanagi appears from top right center and begins to beat a tattoo on his head using the flat of its blade. SUSA-NO-O’s eyes cross-he raises a finger as if to make a point, but then the man-god slowly begins to crumble and he falls directly towards the camera and out of frame, with a loud crash.
Cut to medium shot of BRICK, who looks at Kusanagi and regards his new toy lovingly. He then plants the sword in the ground (sending sword collectors around the world into a tizzy) and slowly circles the prone SUSA-NO-O.
“Now THAT’S what I call makin’ an impact on history. Whassa matter, pal, can’t ya handle yer liquor? It’s really sad when a livin’ legend turns out ta be nothin’ but another two bit jabrone.”
BRICK stops and an evil smirk crosses his face. He helps up the woozy SUSA-NO-O and begins to dust him off and fuss over him. The camera begins to tighten on Brick, who suddenly grabs the back of SUSA-NO-O’s loincloth.
Cut to torso shot of BRICK (SUSA-NO-O out of shot). BRICK looks at the camera, grins, and yanks upwards as hard as he can. There’s a sound of tearing cloth and bursting melons, along with a scream that would shatter every pane of glass within a mile (if there were any-it is ancient Japan, after all). The scream trails off into silence, followed by another loud crash. Brick dusts his hands together and walks out of frame.
Cut to medium shot of Kusanagi, with KOYORI standing by looking aghast. BRICK enters from bottom left frame and walks diagonally across screen away from the camera. He pulls Kusanagi from the ground and takes KOYORI by the arm. BRICK and KOYORI walk off camera. There is silence and the sound of cicadas. BRICK then walks back onscreen.
“And by the way-I did your sister, too.”
BRICK turns around and walks off camera-again. The camera lingers on the void as KOYORI'S and BRICK'S voices slowly fade away.
“Brick, I think it was extremely foolish of you to antagonize such a formidable foe.”
“Aw, the clown had it comin’. Did you see him checkin’ out yer butt? I’m just protectin’ yer honor as a woman. I could tell he was sayin’ to hisself, ‘Wow, does that chick have a fat butt.’”.
“No! Do you think so? Is my butt truly fat?”
“Well, I’ll never know unless I have a look….hmmmmm….OUCH! HEY!”
“The road to the Western Paradise will never open until you learn to control your impulsive behavior. And, you really are quite stupid.”
“Y’know, Ko, you are the wind beneath my wings. Considerin’ how fat your butt is an’ all.”
FADE TO BLACK AS THEIR VOICES CARRY OUT OF EARSHOT.
As you can see, we’re goin’ fer a more polished and classy tone this season. Anyway, stay glued to your set and BEG yer cable operator to carry the Samurai Action Package!
Hey, today’s the Brickster’s birthday! Here in Japan, birthdays aren’t really celebrated the same way they are in the USA (except for traditional ‘milestone’ birthdays, most of which make no sense to me-except fer the one that means yer old enuff to drink and have sex legally). Since this wasn’t a ‘milestone’ year for the Brickster, it was pretty much the same as every other day aside from gettin’ a few gifts from Koyori, who usually feels the need to humor Western traditions.
Our pals over at the Samurai Archives (the best online English language source on pre-Meiji Japanese history) have recently redone their forums, makin’ the history ones more focused and consolidatin’ many of the ‘pop culture’ ones (like makin’ ‘Japanese Art And Architecture’ and ‘Shinto And Buddhism’ into ‘Japanese Art And Religion’). The Brickster likes the new, slimmed down version a lot! The one thing he didn’t like was that in the slimmin’ down process, the Brickster was cut as a mod. Oh, the pain! Never to wield editorial might against loud mouthed critics again! This did give me some valuable historical insight, as I now have an idea why Akechi Mitsuhide turned against Oda Nobunaga. Before I could shout out ‘敵はハワイにあり’ and take SA Shogun Kitsuno’s head, however, my pal Tatsu assured me that there’d always be a place fer the ‘Brickster’s Yashiki’ on the Samurai Film Forum. So, all you ladies out there can still yer flutterin’ hearts, since there’s still two places online to get yer daily dose of the Brickster.
I think at some point I’ll make the Yashiki ‘The Brickster’s Screenin’ Room’, and spotlight some of the lesser known and appreciated Jidai-Geki classics. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear about the grandeur of the ‘Hanzo The Razor’ series, where Hanzo-not to mention scores of pantin’ females-gets in touch with his not-so-‘lil friend? Or the magnificent badass rouge Nemuri Kyoshiro, who could carve up 47 ronin in a flash and still have time to deliver justice to fallen Christians? No doubt some poor, deluded fool who is more to be pitied than ragged on.
March 24, 2008-Whoo-hoo! The Brickster was bowled over recently when a friend sent him several of Oshida Reiko's "Delinquent Girl Boss" films. Christmas just came a couple of months late! I can't wait to sit down and watch these sure-to-be classics. I just hope the old ticker is up to the challenge of such a large dose of Reiko! If not, I can't think of a better way to go.
The Brickster, as ya might surmise from his name, did his best to bring the tradition of St. Patricks Day to the Land Of The Risin' Sun last week. With all the drinkin' that goes on around here, it sure didn't take much convincin'. I handed out a buncha green "Do me-I'm Irish" tee-shirts to some of the cuter gals at the studio, and after a few drinks they were more'n happy to follow through. In the spirit of the holiday, I even gave one to that feeb Ishikawa Raizo. As soon as he pulled it on, he ran off to Ponchoto to hang out with the Shinsngumi reenactors and that's the last we 've seen of him to date. Hell, if I'da known it would be THAT easy, I'da done it a long time ago.
In other news, we have a BIG announcement comin' next Monday. All of the Brickster's fans will NOT want to miss it.
March 17, 2008-Everyone thinks that bein' a big star is all about big paychecks, parties, drinkin', babes, and easy livin'. Well, I can tell you, the paycheck part is BS, at least in my case. What's worse, sometimes my roles actually require me to LEARN stuff. I had to sit through archaeology and history classes for Abarenbo Gaijin, and the studio makes me take Japanese classes to improve my diction (yuk, yuk). And the weapons guys who train me and choreograph our fights are major taskmasters and pains in the ass. How am I supposed to chat up Shrine Maiden #6 if I'm dancin' to their tune all day? Anyway, it ain't always bad-sometimes you get to learn a cool skill that you otherwise would never get a chance to try. For example, for a season two episode of Abarenbo Gaijin, I needed to learn how to hawk fer a scene we were doin' that involved Ieyasu (and later, use the hawk for a variety of cagey purposes). So the animal wrangler at the studio took me out for a few afternoons to teach me the basics.
Here's my new little pal Tetsuko:
Since there ain't much space in Kyoto to practice hawkin', we went down to one of the few areas where there is some open space-down by the Kamo River right in front of Starbucks. After an hour or so Nobuo (the wrangler) headed off to get some coffee and left strict instructions not to mess with the bird while he was gone. As if. Takin' up the challenge, I unhooded Tetsuko and looked around fer a likely target-somethin' like a bikini top on some sunbathin' chick Tetsuko could pull off, or a dumbass executive with a 100,000 yen suit she could crap on. As luck would have it, the only people around were some scruffy yakuza-lookin' gaijin munchin' on a pizza-man with some gal. Well, the Brickster figured what better way to introduce hisself to a fellow countryman than unleash the wily bird-and besides, Koyori was late with my lunch and that pizza-man looked awfully good. Tetsuko was readin' my mind (Koyori says it ain't very hard)-with a burst of speed and a ruffle of feathers she swooped in and snatched that goody before yakuza guy could get it halfway to his mouth-a good, clean kill. I don't know what was more impressive-Tetsuko's feat or the hilarious "WTF?!?!?!?!" look on his face as he sprang up and started lookin' around. Anyway, the damn bird ended up eatin' the pizza. It was OK, since Koyori showed up about that time with my bag of Mickey-D's. I rehooded Tetsuko and gave her back to Nobuo, then me and Ko headed down to the river to eat. Yakuza guy started watchin' us and lookin' towards the skys. Since he had a fistful of rocks, he was doubtlessly hopin' the evil bird would return so he could take his revenge-or at least get his dinner back. Sorry, pal, not today-that'll teach ya to hit up the chicks on the Brickster's turf.
March 10, 2008-Koyori decided that the Brickster needed to come clean about just HOW MUCH of a great guy Batman really is. As you'll recall, a post or so ago the Brickster was goin' for a spin in the '66 Batmobile. Well, with that nuclear powered engine an all, I got kinda carried away and the next thing ya know...this happens...
But 'ol Bats just shrugged it off and said, "Hell, it happens to me all the time. It was time to trade up anyway". He even got Alfred to come out with a flatbed to clean up the mess!
The member of the tow crew backin' the truck up looks like Robin (the Chris O'Donnell version). You think he'd be wearin' a mask or somethin'. So anyway, hats off to the Dark Knight fer bein' such a wise and understandin' pal!
March 3, 2008-Koyori was pawin' through a box of the Brickster's old photos and came across these gems that cracked her up. Thought I'd post 'em here...
A much younger Brickster wonders just how pissed Batman will be if he takes off with the '66 Batmobile.
Batman, bein' a good sport an' all, decides to let him off with a stern lecture and releases him in the custody of a hot babe. Now, you might wonder...what does this have to do with samurai? Well, ya know, Batman has fought all kinds of ninjer both in the comics and on the big screen-not to mention that Samurai dude (Eto Toshio, master of 'Kaze no Yō ni Hayaku') was in the Galactic Guardians along with Bats. And the post Barbara Gordon Batgirl is Japanese, too, or close enough:
Not to mention...SAMURAI BATMAN!
In both 'Purple Passion' and 'Raspberry Red'. From the back: "The legendary figure of Batman existed in ancient Japan as Samurai Batman, a brave and strong warrior who pitted his skills against the evil warlords, or daimyo (not in ancient Japan, he didn't). Armed with his powerful, slashing no-dachi sword and protected by a customized samurai armor costume, Samurai Batman swept across the countryside, cutting down villainy and protecting villagers at every turn (sounds like one of WT's 'Noble Ronin' flicks-I bet in his sekrit identity he unwittin'ly made piecework umbrellas for his evil foe ペンギン. On the battlefield, Samurai Batman could always be identified by his hata-jirushi banner, which streamed behind him in every conflict, striking fear into the hearts of his opponents."
Never mind that Samurai Batman's wearin' armor that looks like Ming Chinese gear-and so for that matter does his battle flag. No doubt it's a clever ruse to trick his enemies inta thinkin' he's gettin' ready to run off, as the Ming were wont to do when confronted with Japanese.
Does have an absolutely badass tetsubo, though, and his utility obi probably has a cool assortment of throwin' stars and caltrops.
February 18, 2007-The Valentine’s Day Hot Tub Party at the studio turned out ta be a rip-roarin’ success. In fact, we had to schedule two sessions since we had more ladies (and a few gay guys, who we sent over to Ishikawa Raizo’s studio just so he wouldn’t feel left out) show than the facilities could handle. We held it in the ‘special effects’ pool outside the Sengoku village-that’s the one with the cheesy sea serpent that rises up from the water every so often, and is used in TV shows whenever we need to show Edo period merchants smugglin’ contraband on boats. I spent so much time in the tub that I felt like a raisin afterward, but there was at least one part of me that wasn’t shriveled up from the water and rivaled the sea serpent for breakin’ the surface. With so many babes in swimsuits, it was more like Christmas-personally, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to start castin’ for the Brickster’s upcomin’ remake of the Hanzo The Razor series (with the first film, Swingin’ Sword Of Justice, due to start filmin’ in July), but Koyori was adamant about keepin’ it a family event (many of the hausfraus brought their little ones along fer the festivities). The kids loved the antics of the Miyoshi Three (a power-ranger like group of samurai we’re usin’ in Abarenbo Shogun Season 2) along with Ramen Rider (or whatever this year’s series of the bug guy on the bike is gettin’ called). As promised, Hikonyan did a full on drunken bellyflop into the deep end, cause ya know, it ain’t a party ‘til someone falls in the pool. This had the extra benefit of soakin’ the suits from the front office who came by for the photo op. The studio made a tidy sum from sellin’ season passes to the Brickster’s enthralled fans. It made all the evenin’ news shows in Kyoto just like we hoped, and had a few national spots as well.
February 11, 2008-Valentine’s Day is comin’ up in three days. As every guy knows, it ain’t a real holiday, but a bogus greetin’ card company holiday that trades on male guilt by installin’ expectations in women. Woe is the poor sap who forgets to gift his gal with flowers, candy, a sappy card, even expensive jewelry-or worse, gettin’ her somethin’ but not spendin’ enuff. And what does he get in return? Nothin’, except that which he should be already gettin’ anyway. It’s a lose-lose situation and a real gyp for American men.
However, things are a little different in Japan. Valentine’s Day here is for women to present men with chocolates. Usually, a Japanese woman will give chocolates to whatever man she happens to have an interest in, although women in offices will also give chocolates to their bosses whether they like ‘em or not. A month later, there’s a similar event called White Day. When I first came to Japan, I thought it meant open season on Japanese Women for gaijin-and that’s actually how it worked out fer me. But no, it’s actually for the men who received chocolates on Valentine’s Day to return the favor by giftin’ any woman they received chocolates from that they have an interest in. Why White Day? Well, Valentine’s Day is "red", and the Japanese have a tradition of red and white bein’ paired (the flag, the annual New Year’s Red/White Song War, the Genpei War with the Minamoto bein’ white and the Taira red). Or maybe because it's a marshmallow company that started up the White Day tradition in 1980. Sadly, there’s a lot of hurt feelin’s among women on White Day who don’t have their gift returned.
As you might imagine, this causes a dilemma for guys in the Brickster’s position. Last year I got enuff chocolates to turn half of Kyoto into diabetics. Personally, if a woman’s gonna send me somethin’ to eat of a romantic nature, I’d just as soon it be a pair of edible panties served ala derriere, if ya catch my drift. But since I appreciated every last box and didn’t want a single lady to feel left out, I ended up spendin’ a month’s pay along with most of my refund anticipation loan on returnin’ the favor. Well, I couldn’t do that again, so this year we’re tryin’ somethin’ different.
This year, I cut a deal with the studio to make White Day into a publicity stunt. They lined up some sponsors, and voila-we’re havin’ the Brick McBurly Valentine's Day Hot Tub Party! Every lady that sends the Brickster a gift is gettin’ a coupon fer a free box of chocolates from a local Kyoto confectionary, along with an invite to the Hot Tub Party. The studio’s gonna have a bunch of costumed actors millin’ around to give it that real Edo bathhouse feel, and also a bunch of their costumed mascots for the kids. We’ve even got Hikonyan, Hikone Castle’s mascot, here to greet the partygoers. Hikonyan’s gonna do a bellyflop into the hot tub towards the end of the night just so we make the evenin’ news and all the entertainment shows. Now, THIS is what I call a mutually satisfyin’ holiday. Well, maybe not so satisfyin’ fer me, since Koyori’s gonna be right there with me, playin’ zookeeper and makin’ sure that the predatory Japanese Hot Tub Serpent doesn’t stray from its native habitat.
February 4, 2008-Lately here in Kyoto, we’ve had a rash of Oda Nobunaga sightin’s. Much like the similar phenomenon of Elvis sightin’s in America, most of ‘em seem ta be takin’ place in or around fast food restaurants and convenience stores. The Brickster had one hisself earlier today when he saw the Ambitious One strollin’ out of Daily Yamazaki, readin’ a yaoi manga and discardin’ an empty box of cookies. I saved the box as proof of my encounter:
Shaved pate, top knot, a European breastplate with the Oda crest, carryin’ his trademark umbrella, the famous sneer, and a Tenka Fubu attitude (I mean, litterin’ in broad daylight-in Japan?)-it couldn’t have been anyone else. By the time I picked up the box, Nobunaga had disappeared. I’da looked for him, but if I didn’t get home soon with Koyori’s box of Mr. D’s, there’d be hell to pay, so I had to forego the chase.
Normally, I’d think there was a taiga or movie comin’ up and this would be a publicity stunt, but there’s nothin’ bein’ released that ties in with this. While I suppose it’s possible that Nobunaga returned from the dead to get a triple deluxe veggie burger and an ice-cold bottle of Asahi down at Lawson’s, I’m sure he had more practical reasons for comin’ back. Bein’ a gentleman and a scholar, here’s my ruminations on why:
1) He’s tired of bein’ the bad guy in every manga, anime, and video game to hit the shelves and decided it’s Hideyoshi’s turn. That, and Sengoku Jieitai 1549 pissed him off.
2) Wants to tell his descendants that ice skatin’ is for wussies.
3) Nobunaga heard about the thread on the Samurai Archives Citadel that explains why Mitsuhide did it.
4) Ever the sentimental guy, he wants to check out Brick McBurly Romances.
5) After Gackt’s star turn as Uesugi Kenshin in Furinkazan, it’s rumored Hard Gay will be playin’ Nobunaga in Shinchokou-ki.
6) The mysterious disappearance of his biggest fan, LtDomer (and his sidekick Ed McMahon).
7) He’s curious as to what really is inside those kofun.
8) In the light of former Prime Minister Abe admittin’ he stepped down due to diarrhea, the time is right for a politico who ain’t full of it.
9) The "LOL Samurai" thread is just killin’ him.
10) With the excavations goin’ on at the site of Honno-ji, he’s afraid his smolderin’ correspondence with Mori Ranmaru might be unearthed.
Still, without trackin’ him down and askin’ him personally, this is all idle suppositories. Feel free to email the Brickster with your Nobunaga sightin’s and theories like my next door neighbor Rei did. She got a snap of Nobunaga porin' over his laptop while sippin' tea at the corner Mr. Donut:
Together, we can break this case. Heck, maybe Laura Joh Rowland’ll even write a book about it. I always wanted to do Reiko…
January 28, 2008-New this week is the line of Brick McBurly Romances For REAL Men. They're written by men for men, with none of that yaoi crap or infestations of chickbookitus. With Valentine's Day right around the corner, do yourself a favor and head down to the local bookstore and pick up our initial volume, "Kiyomasa's Great Korean Pussy Hunt" starrin' the Brickster as Kato Kiyomasa. Future volumes will be released on a more or less monthly basis-make sure you tell your bookseller you wanna reserve a copy of each an' every one!
You can read more about this new phenomenon by clickin' on the 'Romances' link at the top of the page.
January 21, 2008-Since last week’s Blargh, the Brickster has received a slew of emails, all with pretty much the same the same theme: "Brick, we love ya, but what’s up with you rippin’ on Ichikawa Raizo? The guy’s the epitome of cool! What the heck’s your problem?"
Well, here’s what I got to say about that. Ichikawa Raizo IS the epitome of cool…he’s probably the Brickster’s fave when it comes to chambara actors. I love Mifune and the range of characters he could play, and Nakadai’s always the consummate professional (well, except in Ran and Kagemusha). But Ichikawa Raizo’s just got that certain aura around him that sets him apart from everyone else-that aura of self-assured coolness that other actors would kill to have. Whether he was a young up and comer in Tales Of The Taira Clan, a ninja killin’ samurai in the Shinobi No Mono series, or a samurai killin’ ninja in the Sleepy Eyes Of Death series, every Raizo film was a treat to be savored and rewatched. Has there ever been a more badass ronin than Nemuri Kyoshiro? In chambara movie franchise series, only the characters Zatoichi and Hanzo The Razor can compare to him. So as you can see, the Brickster has no problem at all with Ichikawa Raizo.
He does, however, have a BIG problem with his self-appointed successor ISHIKAWA Raizo (who’s been gettin’ all the nasty ink on the Blargh). I guess everyone just thought the Brickster spelled Ichikawa’s name wrong-which usually ain’t a bad assumption to make. But remember, Ichikawa passed away in 1969 from rectal cancer (talk about meetin’ a bad end…)-so’s there’s no way he could be runnin’ afoul of the Brickster.
Nope, Ishikawa Raizo is the guy who hijacked Raizo’s name, just changin’ it enuff to not be an exact copy (although after last week, those in the film biz are callin’ him ‘Wizzy’). No one knows what his birth name was, although it’s rumored that he’s the illegitimate son of would-be ninjer master Stephen Hayes and a Korean hooker. Now, while this ain’t on the level of him bein’ the ‘bastard son of a thousand maniacs’ ala Freddy Krueger, it’s probably right across the street from it. This no talent leech of a jackass started out finaglin’ financin’ from several low budget fly-by-night studios to do remakes of Ichikawa’s classics, most notoriously his ninja films. He managed to work his way into the A ranks simply by copyin’ what someone else had already done. Now, I could forgive Ishikawa for the financin’ angle-hell, I’ve done that myself. I can even forgive him for havin’ a ragin’ woody for Ko (see last week’s entry)-what red-blooded male wouldn’t? Even the name thing could be dismissed, although it’s a lot like the Brickster callin’ hisself Mifune Tochiro or Nakatai Tatsuya.
Nope, what elevates Ishikawa from the realm of your average workaday actor and places him in the stratified environs of true jackassdom are the friggin’ remakes, ninjer BS, and his snotty attitude. What’s the use of a remake? If you stick to the original, ya might as while just watch it in the first place. And if ya don’t, then it ain’t a remake, is it? Take the Seven Samurai-the proposed George Clooney remake puts seven modern day mercenaries in southeast Asia to protect a village. Aside from the fact there’re seven of them and they’re protectin’ a village, it’s got NOTHIN’ to do with the original. Usin’ that kind of logic, any film the Brickster’s in could be considered a remake of Animal House. Remakes just stifle creativity and siphon huge amounts of funds that could be used for original films (like mine, cheesy as they are) and send them to borin’, unimaginative stars and directors that are just lookin’ to collect a paycheck.
Raizo (Wizzy), while he copies the original Shinobi No Mono films pretty much shot for shot, has also decided to dump in a bunch of anime style CG crap that distills everythin’ that’s wrong with the ninja legends into one steamin’ heap of celluloid. The original Raizo’s films were somewhat believable (aside from a couple of shots)-but the ‘new’ Raizo’s have flyin’ ninja spittin’ fire and killin’ ten guys with every explodin’ shuriken they throw from three miles away, right before they transform into animals and enter their sekrit ninjer hideout in an otherworldly realm. Worse, there ain’t no electric nipple magic to be seen anywhere-so much for showin’ respect to the classics. I think this proves beyond a doubt that he’s the demonic seed of Hayes, and the apple sure ain’t fell far from the tree in this instance.
And the guy does all this with a smug, arrogant, elitist and entitled attitude that makes ya wanna slap the taste right outta his mouth. Geez, he must think he’s George Dubbya Bush or somethin’. Watchin’ him tool around in his little golf cart and bitchin’ at all his PA’s before he storms off the set in a huff don’t go over well on the set of Abarenbo Gaijin, where we’re filmin’ on a shoestring and havin’ to do triple or double duty. It’s a mystery to our crew why we get the B budget while he gets the A even though our movies do bigger box office and sell more DVD’s. One of the fruitcake suits in the front office told me once it’s because the ham’n’egger films existed only to carry the load for the prestige/arty films that made statements (this is the same suit that wanted to turn the Brickster’s last film into an art house yaoi epic-I hear he’s recoverin’ well and will be off the respirator soon, though). The only statement an Ishikawa film makes is, "A fool and his money are soon parted. Also, I suck."
Raizo hates spendin’ time with the fans and people that make our careers possible, as I detailed last week. Is there anythin’ better than the smile on the face of a fan who thinks yer somethin’ special? Or makin’ their day by just signin’ your name, posin’ fer a shot, or lettin’ em pick up yer bar tab? Not on your life.
So, to conclude today’s lecture, I’d just like to reiterate that Ishikawa Raizo (and all the actors and directors like him) IS a jackass, IS an overrated prima donna, and DOES suck. Mightily.
But Ichikawa Raizo’s still The Man.
January 13, 2008-One of the things the studio expects out of every actor under contract is that they go out and spend time workin’ the theme park when you’re not shootin’ that day or makin’ a public appearance. This goes all the way up and down the line, from the extras to the Brickster to prima donnas like Ishikawa Raizo. While guys like Raizo hate it so much they’ve earned the nickname "Bichikawa", the Brickster really enjoys it. It ain’t like you have to put on a paper hat and dole out noodles in the cafeteria-you can pretty much do whatever you want, so long as yer minglin’. It’s a lot of fun talkin’ to the folks who make our careers by buyin’ movie tickets, watchin’ our shows, and grabbin’ our merchandise. The Brickster does all sorts of stuff-I’ll work as a ghoul in the Obakeyashiki (our haunted house attraction), do a walk on durin’ the hourly stunt shows in the amphitheater, take part in public filmin’, pose for photos in some of the open sets, sign autographs, put on impromptu demonstrations in the ‘streets of Edo’, tell stories to kids, or even help out the odd Western tourist that finds their way into the park. Today, I was wanderin’ the ‘streets of Edo’ in my role from the ‘Mountain Aesthetic’ series-Gyonyo, the basket head. It’s a nice warm costume for those cold days, and if I put my beggin’ bowl out, I can pick up enough spare change to get dinner at Lawson’s for me an’ Ko.
Anyhow, Ko was workin’ the ‘ninja star throw’ booth-for 400 yen, you have three shots at the target usin’ real ninja throwin’ stars. And as luck would have it, Raizo was in the process of givin’ her a hard time. One of the reasons Raizo hates the Brickster so much (other than the fact my movies make more money than his) is that he had a thing for Koyori for years before I came along, and was royally pissed when I ended up with her. He was at the ninja star throw in his outfit from the ‘Shinobi No Mono’ remake he’s been doin’, and tryin’ to impress the crowd with his mad ninjer skillz. Problem was, he was pretty much ignorin’ the target and throwin’ the damn things in Ko’s direction. Since the jackass couldn’t hit the floor when he passes out drunk, there was a good chance he’d nail Ko with an errant throw. The crowd was eatin’ it up, thinkin’ it was part of the show, and Raizo was goin’ on about how his ninjer instincts was guidin’ his hand to throw at the enemy instead of the target. Well, the Brickster’s ninjer instincts told him to go settle Raizo’s hash, so that’s just what I did. I pulled out a handful of shuriken from my sleeve (if you’ve seen 'Mountain Aesthetic', you already know Gyonyo’s a walkin’ arsenal) and nailed Raizo in his fat ass with a perfect spread. I figured I wouldn’t hurt the guy, since the ninjer costumes have a lot of built in paddin’-and if I did, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. While he was howlin’ and grabbin’ at his suddenly prickly butt, I took his feet out with my trusty shakujo and flipped him over the railin’ of the booth. The crowd was lovin’ every minute, and instead of just meltin’ into the onlookers like I shoulda before Raizo could figure out who had Pearl Harbored him, I couldn’t resist stickin’ around and deliverin’ Gyonyo’s signature line-"The Justice Of The Buddha Is Swift And Merciless!"
Raizo then knew exactly who had messed up his day. And one thing about ninjer is that they’re like cockroaches-if you see one, it’s a good bet there’s a dozen more around. So in no time, the Brickster’s bein’ chased over Nihonbashi bridge by a dozen black clad Raizo supporters. Sure, I coulda just taken the direct route and beaten the crap outta them all, but then I’d get docked by the studio for holdin’ up production on ‘Shinobi No Mono’ while they recovered. So instead, I ducked into the Obakeyashiki and looked for a place to hide. I switched outfits with one of the animatronic zombie ashigaru inside and settled down to wait the sitch out.
Sure enough, here comes Raizo, pushin’ his way through a group of schoolgirls. Normally, I’da just let him pass on by, but bein’ nasty to a group of cuties was the last straw-and besides, I thought I could get a cheap laugh out of ‘em. Raizo passes by the shutter that covers the animatronic zombie ashigaru and doesn’t blink an eyebrow when it raises and we all start bangin’ our spears on the floor. Why should he? He’s been through before and knows its part of the show. That’s when the Brickster reaches out, puts his hands on Raizo’s shoulders, squeezes, and gives his best guttural moan. Raizo turns white as a sheet, starts tremblin’, and gives out a high pitched schoolgirl scream-and as I found out later, lost control of his bladder and hosed down his ninjer jammies. He slumped to the floor and crawled off, finally gettin’ to his feet and runnin’ off (with some appropriate squishy sounds). The schoolgirls were howlin’, and best of all, Nobuo in the control booth of the haunt got the whole tableau on the security video.
I spent the rest of the night makin’ DVD’s of the tape and sendin’ ‘em out to local movie critics with the title "Wizzy Meets The Yokai".
January 7, 2008-A happy new year to one and all! After a one week layoff for the Japanese New Year Holiday, the Brickster and Koyori returned to the studio for another exhaustin' week of filmin'.
On January 1, the Brickster's new TV spot for Mingaroos athletic shoes began to air. They're a series of commercials featurin' the Brickster in several jams he "needs to get out of in a hurry"-stuff like skippin' out on a bar tab, stiffin' a geisha, gettin' caught in the 'women only' subway car, makin' himself scarce when there's a dangerous stunt to be be filmed, takin' photos inside museums-ya know, the usual stuff the Brickster is famous for. They always end with the Mingaroos tag line-"Mingaroos, for when you need to get out in a hurry-just like the Ming". The series has went over great, and I've received a lot of emails from Japanese TV viewers who love them. However, I did get one bitchin' email-from one Kenny Swopes, a Professor Of Chinese History at Bald State University. Mr. Fancy Pants had this to say: "I feel your commercials do not have a firm base in academia, and surely do not use the Chinese sources available. Why, just last month in the centerfold of "Boys Of The Ming", it would be obvious to even a non-academic rag picker like yourself that this shapely soldier isn't wearing Mingaroos. And the Ming were victorious in all their battles-they never, ever, ran. Except maybe at Ulsan. And a bit at Sachon. A little at Sunchon. And then there's Pyokje. But none of these really count, because they were just testing their decisive artillery, and then heard the dinner bell ringing and didn't want those nasty Korean soldiers to get to the table first. Besides, they didn't really want those dumb old Japanese Wajo anyway. And don't try to tell me otherwise, because I have lined my Anti-Japanese Propaganda Hat with tin foil to forestall any such attempt on your part."
Here Swopes has included a photo of himself with several other Ming Scholars displayin' this crafty device:
Well, Kenny, ya know...they're just shoes, fer cris'sakes. And if you and your homeboys were real Ming Scholars and not embittered, jealous posers, you'd be wearin' Mingaroos and not gumboots.
December 29, 2007-The Brickster's New Year's Jidai-geki special, Kuraku'd Tengu, is airin' on Jidai-geki Channel tonight. It's the story of Kurata Tenzen (played by yers truly), a Loyalist drunkard from the master brewers of the Shochu clan who takes to the streets in his secret identity of Kuraku'd Tengu to battle the forces of the mean ol' Shinsengumi and other righteous defenders of the glorious Tokugawa Shogunate. Here's a shot Koyori took with her cell phone on the set a few months ago:
Kuraku'd Tengu employs his infamous 'drinkin' bout' technique to render the members of the Shinsengumi helpless. His callin' card (in the tradition of Zorro) is to leave the bar tab pinned to the chest of his passed-out victims. Evil magistrates, black hearted Bakufu assassins, and sake shop owners quake in fear at the very mention of his name. It's a role I was born to play! We even have a short historical segment at the end of the show that shows the correlation between drunkedness and membership in the Loyalist faction.
Also notice that Kuraku'd Tengu is wearin' a late Edo period Brick McBurly Tee (as reproduced from many period woodcuts and prints) as part of his disguise. You can find a replica of this VERY SAME SHIRT in the Samurai Archives store. Get yours today!
By the way, I want to give special thanks to the sponsor who bought up all the ad time durin' the program:
December 24, 2007-My agent has suggested I give the world of kabuki a try. Since it's so over the top, he figured I'd be a natural. His 'artist's conception' should explain why I ain't takin' him up on it:
I look like a version of Flat Top from Dick Tracy who's been indoors too long.
December 17, 2007-One of the more popular topics in the Brickster’s mailbag since BmB.com launched is:
"Brick, just what the heck did YOU do to get a credit in ‘Japan And Her People’?" (see the Blargh entry for 12/4).
Well, one of the editors of the book, Christopher West, thought that the original back cover copy needed a rewrite-and the Brickster, bein’ the true embodiment of the givin’ spirit, whipped up this guaranteed eye-catcher for him:
"'Japan And Her People' will grab you by the short hairs and take you on a wild ride through the fabled Japan of old! Your guide for this tour will be a sultry babe that's been around-Anna Hartshorne. Anna will spill all the nasty, dark secrets of the back alleys of Tokyo you won't hear about in the regular guidebooks! She's got all the info you'll need on where to meet women galore-the best places to knock back a few-and the locations of the most discreet inns to be found in the Land Of The Risin' Sun. With a forward by the next J.K. Rowling, Lian Hearn, who knows more than a thing or two about sword-swingin' samurai shenanigans. Be part of the 'in' crowd-don't miss out! Get your copy of 'Japan And Her People' today!"
My pal Tatsu from the Samurai Archives, who has a real talent for meddlin’ in other people’s work, took this and made it into what’s now found on the back cover.
What ya may not know, however, is that I also forwarded a bunch of information on Anna Hartshorne to West that I found in the diary of my great-great-grandfather, Popeye McBurly. Popeye was a sailor on board one of Perry’s Black Ships when they first entered Japan. Findin’ the Japanese lifestyle to his likin’, Popeye decided to jump ship. Since he was always ‘strong to the finish’, so to speak, Popeye didn’t have any problem findin’ Japanese women that were more than happy to hide him from the authorities until gaijin were made legal. The Japanese gals quickly festooned him with the sobriquet ‘Dokugan Ryu’ in honor of his friendly soldier of fortune, if ya catch my drift. Popeye also was instrumental in startin’ trouble amongst the Loyalists and equally gullible groups in Bakamatsu Japan (earnin’ lots of cash ‘n free drinks for his ‘priceless’ but phony info)-I think that’s him in the back row in the restored version of the photo on our ‘Mystery photo’ page, masterfully blendin’ in with the locals-and this in the days before the Connery Cut. Once he could be in the country legally, Popeye ingeniously started the scam that still lives to this day-English teachin’. What’s a man to do if he wants to enjoy the fruits of Japanese womanhood but doesn’t have any skills other than speakin’ his native language? Teach English, of course-and it worked like a charm. He was kinda like an early missionary, ceptin’ of course it wasn’t the gospel he was spreadin’. Anyway, after a few years Popeye became one of the better known Western educators in Japan (even though after 40 years the only Japanese words he ever learned were ‘sake’ and ‘inu ryu’). That’s when he met Anna Hartshorne. While I can’t say for sure he ‘knew’ Anna in the biblical sense, it wouldn’t be a bad bet. Since Anna was intensely interested in Japanese culture, Popeye thought it would be a hoot to introduce her to a Japanese national who knew less about Japan than most Westerners-that bein’ Nitobe Inazo. Nitobe had this idealized version of Japanese glory days dancin’ in his head, and Anna fell for it hook, line, and sinker. She even helped him put it in book form-‘Bushido-The Soul Of Japan’. Americans bought into it big time as well, and over 100 years later there’s still a huge group of poor deluded souls that state their dedication to livin’ a way of life that never was. I know that in the Western Paradise, Popeye’s still havin’ a good laugh over how well his prank played out.
It was a shame that I didn’t get this info to West earlier. Otherwise, I’m sure Lian Hearn would have been able to amend her already excellent foreword with these important new findin’s.
December 16, 2007-the Brickster was havin’ a few brews with his agent, Obenjo Kusanosuke (who had just lined up a few more endorsement deals for me in addition to Taiko-enz, Mr. Donut, and the others). Obenjo was mor’n a bit wobbly when we left, so I decided to make sure he got home in one piece. While we were engaged in a bout of drunken karaoke, we passed by a Catholic church. One of the nuns in full habit came out to see what all the ruckus was about. All of a sudden, Obenjo broke ranks and bolted across the street. He grabbed the nun by her habit and proceeded to beat the bejesus out of her. As he let go of her and she slumped to the ground, I heard him yell out, "Hic! You ain’t so tough after all, are you, Batman?"
December 15, 2007-Today I did a public appearance and filmed some Traffic Safety PSA’s for kids with Hikonyan, the mascot of Hikone-jo (see backstage photo on the front page of site). Hikonyan, bein’ a wuss ‘an all, follows safety guidelines and crosses the street safely. The Brickster, bein’ a loud-mouthed drunken gaijin, doesn’t and ends up gettin’ hammered by a speedin’ minivan full of Buddhist monks (sheesh-talk about your Wheel Of Kharma!).
Filmin’ with Hikonyan was a pleasure-that mascot’s a real chick magnet, even better than Corky The Wonder Dog. His shirts were actually sellin’ as many as mine. I wonder how many of ‘his’ admirers know that there’s a chick in there. I found it sensual to the extreme when she told me she was naked inside the suit. She wasn’t lyin’, either.
December 14, 2007-The launchin’ of BrickMcBurly.com this mornin’ proved to be a big hit! I was told the server crashed due to an overload of hits-or maybe it just objected to the subject matter. Accordin’ to my neighbors kids, it was the big topic of discussion today at school as all the students were checkin’ it out on their cells. Eight years olds sure know quality when they see it!
I was busy filmin’ the stunts for episode three and missed out on the media frenzy, but when me and Koyori got home there were several reps from Japanese entertainment shows camped out front wantin’ some face time with the Brickster. Kamemushi from Japan Pro Wrasslin’ wandered by about this time (as planned by the Studio). His mission-to be obnoxious and challenge me to an explodin’ barbed wire steel cage match at the next JPW pay-per-view. Him and some of the other JPW guys are appearin’ as yakuza in episode 11, so it’s a good chance to cross-promote. It’s already been determined I get to win the match, too. Not quite as gratifyin’ as partin’ Ishikawa Raizo’s hair with a steel foldin’ chair, but hey, just the thought of Koyori wearin’ one of those ‘Round Card Girl’ outfits is enough to put steam in a man’s stride.
December 8, 2007-I was contacted by some clown named Darin Fidika. He wanted me to help him write up some articles for Wikipedia on samurai. I told him I warn’t no samurai, I just play one on TV and that don’t have anythin’ to do with history. I ended up sendin’ him to the Samurai Archives Wiki for inspiration.
December 4, 2007-Well, it seems that the Brickster's contributions to the world of literature have been recognized. I just got a copy of Japan And Her People by Anna Hartshorne (a 1902 book re-released by Jetlag Press), and I'm listed on the acknowledgement page for a short piece I wrote (that my pal Tatsu helped out with). You can read more about the book and order a copy HERE.
November 30, 2007-They’re filmin’ the remake of one of the Shinobi No Mono films next door at Studio 9C. The Brickster was all set to appear as Hattori Hanzo in a short cameo until the alleged ‘star’ of the production, Ishikawa Raizo, started bitchin’ and said he didn’t need a guest shot from a two-bit foreign direct-to-video hack. Translated, this means he didn’t want the Brickster upstagin’ him in his own film. Since Ishikawa’s probably got incriminatin’ photos of the studio suits, they let him have his way. Durin' our lunch break, I thought it would be the neighborly thing to do to go and pay a call on Mr. Fancy Pants. After all, the name of the film is ‘Ninja Goemon Will Never Die’-it don’t say anythin’ about him gettin’ his butt handed to him. As luck would have it, they were filmin’ a big fight scene so I was able to put on some ninja jammies and blend right in with the crowd. When they called ‘action’, Ishikawa got a little more than he had been anticipatin’, I bet. The lump I left on his head follows the majestic outline of Mt Fuji, which was nice both from a practical and aesthetic standpoint. The best part is that the footage was so good, they’re plannin' on leavin’ it in the final cut-so’s I get to be in the movie anyway! The news coverage of the ‘unknown assailant’ made the studio happy, as it’ll create a buzz for the movie when it gets released. Just for laughs, once I got back to our studio I planted the ninja jammies in Mansei’s dressin’ room. If the cops come lookin’ around, that oughta make fer some amusin’ byplay-poor Mansei’s still tryin’ to live down the ‘jealous gay lover’ headlines he garnered the last time I set him up. Once we got home, Koyori gave me a long lecture about how violence isn’t the winnin' path to a successful movie career. Apparently, she ain’t heard of Moe Howard.
November 29, 2007-Whoo hoo! The new Beppin School magazine hit the newsstands today:
What could be better than a magazine chock full o’ cutesy girly goodness? Well, how about one that comes with its own DVD as well! Japan is just light years ahead of the good ol’ USA in terms of magazine technology.
November 28, 2007-Koyori showed me her character model sheet, which she received today. Her panties are all in a bunch since they have her animated doppelganger wearin' a skimpy black and red kunoichi get-up. She claims that as a former Shrine Maiden, her character would dress much more modestly. Whatever. Me, I can already foresee that our series will be the first anime to incorporate the ninjitsu skill 'electric nipple magic'.
November 26, 2007-Well, the suits at the studio decided that I needed to add a ‘Blargh’ to the website, despite the fact that I don’t even know what the hell one is. They told me all I needs ta do is write down my thoughts or events of the day every so often and date ‘em so they look topical. This is supposed to make the fans feel more bonded and connected to the Brickster. Like I have a problem connectin’ with the fans-hell, just look at any of the ladies that visit the set or send me email-connectin’ is just the beginnin’. For the guys who watch the show, I’m always happy to hang out, shoot the breeze, scope out the terrain, and let them pick up my bar tab. And as far as bein’ bonded, well, if that’s how a chick gets her jollies, why the heck not? As long as they don’t tie me up tight enuff to leave scars.
Anyway, the studio’s payin’ the bills, so’s I guess I’ll give it a shot. Not that I have much intrestin’ to write about. Oh, sure, there’s the occasional gropin' incident (I’m always a victim of circumstance) where I have to jump ship and scuttle down onto the tracks at the train platform, causin' a citywide hours long transportation shutdown while they look for me (only to find I’d been smuggled to sanctuary by helpful sympathetic schoolgirls). Other than that, my day probably goes pretty much the same as all of yours.
One intrestin’ thing that did happen today was that I got the character model sheets to sign off on for ‘Abarenbo Gaijin’, the anime. They’re gonna have to rework the Brickster’s-while they got the chin, steely-eyed gaze, and mirthful grin right, the shoulders ain’t broad enough and the package is definitely not McBurly. I told Koyori not to sign hers until they outfit her character with a more impressive rack-might as well improve on perfection when you have the chance.
Me an’ Ko are gonna be doin’ the VO’s for our characters, but the rest of the voices are still up in the air. Stephen Seagull has promised to do a guest shot, and we’re hopin’ to land the rights to the Kikuchiyo character from Samurai Seven to cameo in a few episodes as Koyori’s brother and Brick’s steadfast pal. For now, they’re just gonna do the pilot episode and see how it goes over before committin’ to doin’ a whole season. Here’s the premise from the pilot:
‘Abarenbo Gaijin-The Anime’ takes place some time after the TV series. Brick has given up tryin’ to return to his own time and has settled down in Sengoku era Kyoto with Koyori. He’s workin’ for Oda Construction in the Temple Rehab division. His tyrannical boss, Oda Nobunaga, makes things intrestin’ for Brick and fun-lovin' co-workers Tokugawa Ieyasu and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Causin’ as many problems fer the Brickster as possible is his ineffectual rival Miyamoto Musashi. After work, Brick comes home to his lovin’ but equally tyrannical wife, the former fightin’ Shrine Maiden Koyori. Brick often finds himself at the center of conflicts between his neighbors-the local patriarch Takeda Shingen on one side and town drunk Uesugi Kenshin on the other. Shingen has his hands full with tryin’ to raise his wayward son Katsuyori right on the one hand and dealin' with Kenshin’s unannounced visits to his livin' room while he’s scoutin’ for liquor. Across the street is Brick’s bestest pal Abe No Seimei, who’s also stuck in this era and tryin’ to eke out a livin’ by performin’ as a stage magician. This provides plenty of opportunities for the two to get themselves into hot water with the girls and the law. And if that’s not enough, Brick (along with all the other guys) is a member of the Loyal Order Of Chrysanthemums, the local Lodge headed up by Grand Poobah Ogimachi. Brick’s a lowly Shosho-ige (Lesser Initial Rank, Lower Grade), and only got that after fleecin' Ogimachi on a bet. There’s constant competition between the members to win the coveted Lodge title of Seiitaishogun, along with plenty of drinkin’, womanizin’, and wild shenanigans at the out-of-province Lodge conventions. Appearin’ from time to time in the series will also be Koyori’s poor relatives from the country, the Hojo. You’ll also see Koyori’s unemployed uncle Shimazu Yoshihiro, Donut Shop owner Ishida Mitsunari, one-eyed Private Investigator Date Masamune and hard-hittin' tabloid sheet writer/muckraker Akechi Mitsuhide. As a special treat for fans of Ancient Japan, the displaced time traveler from the Jomon era of Japanese history, Joe Rockhead, will also be makin’ regular cameos.
The pilot episode is basically just to innerduce everyone and set up the premise for the series. The plot, such as it is, has Brick in a quandary after Shingen’s inside info on the Takeda cavalry runnin’ first at the Nagashino Stakes turns out to be BS. Brick bets and loses his entire paycheck and Koyori ain’t buyin’ his excuse that it must have been stolen by bandits on its way to the capital. Maeda Matsu makes Brick a proposition that’ll return all his money-but just lands him in more trouble.
As you can see, we’re tryin’ to appeal to the viewers on different levels. There’s somethin' fer both adults and children. I’m lookin’ forward to helpin’ the little ones form strong family values through watchin’ the show. Stuff like never lyin’ to yer wife unless it gets you out of a tight spot-or investin’ yer money wisely on the ponies by not listenin’ to that old coot Shingen.
We’re linin’ up the guys who did the music fer ‘Ren And Stimpy’ to add just the right zany feel, and the studio’s animation department will be headin’ up the rest.
Brick's Blargh! is sponsored by:
When the Brickster's got a powerful hunger goin' on, there's only one place that'll satiate his appetite (well, besides Kinkiku-ji
Love Hotel)-Mr. Donut!
Yep, starvin' ronin, Loyalist goofballs and Tokugawa magistrates all agree on one thing-that the sugary goodness of a dozen Mr. D's blows the hell out of a dozen koku anyday! A ronin could live off a boxed set of 'Mitsunari's' for a month after a lost battle, and they make the perfect gift for your favored vassal. It's a little known historical fact that the reason Asano assaulted Lord Kira in the Shogun's castle is because he was bogartin' the box of Mr. D's. So head on down to Mister Donut today, and tell 'em the Brickster sent ya.