Japan Wrap Up part 4

I’m not a good traveler, I get lost easy, I lose track of the days..ha-ha ..but going to Japan never gets old and between meeting folks like Goto-san and the food 😉 keeps me going …here’s some awesome tonkatsu we had one night. Yummy … I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo Tower,and this time we finally made it… yes it’s geared towards tourists but we had fun and found Pikachu, too !

Of course it wouldn’t be summer in Japan without an Ultraman Festival ! Although not my first time, this was for Max and Anna … needless to say we all had a great time and loaded up on merch in the store like crazy madmen !

It’s interesting that in Japan they still do these types of shows for kids, really a throw back to the 1950’s and 1960’s in America when you could see Space Patrol or Horrow shows and meet your favorite kid’s show host or character in person… these shows in Japan still involve being able to pose with Ultraman, and shake his hand .. I guess Disneyland is as close as it gets for us in the US now.. but in the US maybe because of it’s size, we just don’t have these type of shows anymore… which I think is a shame….anyways as we watched this awesome stage show full of various kaiju fighting Ultraman and Bros, our ears were splitting as all the kids screamed in delight… Anna swears she heard me squeal, too.. hmmm, maybe ;-P … at one point a bunch of Kaiju rushed the audience sending screaming kids back to their seats ! Great stuff!

We also visited a Toys R Us and I was amazed to see live Japanese Beetles for sale ! I should have taken a picture, but you know the type with the huge antlers on the top .. priced from $12.00- 40.00 .. depending on size, they looked like alien creatures to me …and of course in the US you’d never find live animals for sale in a Toys R Us !

Korean BBQ , simply awesome !
Well after about 8 days we had to return home, full of great food and fun memories and lots of toys. Many thanks to Yo and family for their help and friendship, to my many toy friends and to the Max Toy fans who traveled to Wonderfest to meet me.

Upon returning I have many customs to do, orders to fill and several projects to move along.. look for a special event this December .. I can not say more now but will no doubt make history, all I can say is save your money and perhaps some vacation time for the first week of December, it will be worth it !
As the Rumble Monsters, monster TV says… “I’ll be watching you !”

About toykarma

Over the years Mark Nagata has collected thousands of toys and a fair amount of titles. The man behind San Francisco-based Max Toy Company is widely known as: Toy Collector. Illustrator. Magazine Founder/Publisher. Toy Designer. Artist. Author. Husband. Father. But the one description that might fit best is an unofficial one – Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. In the Japanese-inspired art and toy area, as well as throughout the larger toy collecting community, Mark is welcomed and recognized for his personal passion and commitment to supporting artists all around the world and the unique works they create. Beginning as a collector in his youth, Mark has had for years a keen eye for great art and a personal interest in collecting that he has spread through a variety of outlets. Trained at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, Mark honed his skills working for himself and for some of the most notable businesses in the country. As a freelance commercial illustrator, he completed works for such prominent companies as Lucasfilms, DC Comics, Hasbro Toys, IBM, Sony, and numerous advertising and design firms, both national and international. Mark’s colorful style graces over 40 cover paintings for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series – Give Yourself Goosebumps. After hundreds of assignments, Mark made the decision to move in another direction, and that choice has led to whole new career as a successful businessman. For four years, the owner of one of the largest Ultraman toy collections in the world co-published Super 7 Magazine showcasing the finest in Japanese toy collecting. “I’d been collecting Japanese toys all along and suddenly realized it would be cool to have a magazine of some type devoted to them,” Nagata says. Mark’s devotion to presenting collectors with a selection of original figures inspired by classic Japanese toys from the 1960s and ‘70s as well as new versions of licensed Japanese characters is at the heart of Max Toy Company. Named for his son, Max Toys specializes in custom and limited editions of “kaiju” (Japanese monsters) toys and artwork. Many of the original toys produced are hand painted by Mark, a tradition that goes back to Japanese toy makers of the past. “Since our target is the soft vinyl Japanese toy collector, which is a very small niche, our runs of toys can be extremely small,” Mark says. “Runs range from 500 pieces of one toy to just one for a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind custom figure.” Through Max Toys, Mark has taken great pains to widen the reach of his two passions – toys and art. He played a significant part in the development of the first group kaiju show in the United States. Held at the Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, Illinois in 2007, the “Toy Karma” Show featured detailed work from artists from Japan, the U.S. and South America. Participants marveled at the custom-painted toys and art on display. “Toy Karma” led to Mark being asked to be one of the artists spotlighted in the “Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier” exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The October 2007 show, held jointly with the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusement Museum, marked the first time – in a museum setting – that the influence of Japanese toys on California artists was explored. The exhibit featured more than 30 of Mark’s original paintings, toys and a selection of his vintage toy collection. Mark continued to be at the forefront as interest in Japanese-inspired art and toys expanded in 2008. Prestigious art houses Philips De Pury and Christie’s in New York and London sold Mark’s hand-painted custom kaiju toys in its auctions, spreading this unique art and toy movement into new and uncharted areas of the art world. In 2009, Mark once again took his love of toys and art overseas this time to a receptive and welcoming audience in Tokyo, Japan. Here, Mark curated the “Kaiju Comrades” Art Show, once again bringing together artists from various aspects of the kaiju toy realm in this first-of-its-kind toy art show. The following year found Mark in Barcelona, Spain co-curating with Emilio Garcia “Kaiju Attack,” the European country’s first kaiju art show. As the growth of kaiju art and toys increases worldwide, Mark continues in his unofficial role of Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. He has written and had his artwork and toy designs included in several books and magazines, both domestic and international. In 2010, Mark served as guest lecturer on kaiju and the toy-making process at the Morikami Museum in Florida. The San Francisco resident and his art can also be spotted in the first volume of the “ToyPunks” DVD and the “Toys R Us” DVD, while the video for the number one song by Owl City “Fireflies” featured Mark’s popular Kaiju Eyezon character. During this same time period, Mark has spearheaded the “Toy Karma 2” and “Kaiju Comrades 2” shows and has plans for future shows both in the U.S. and overseas. “Max Toys allows me to produce original artwork, new toys and work directly with a lot of talented artists,” Mark says. “Max Toy is a synthesis of toys and art, both life-long passions.”
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