What follows is my semi rambling blog about my trip to Japan and the Kaiju Comrades 2 art toy show in Tokyo, March 9th-16th, 2010 ….
I never have enough time in Japan .. my trips are always packed with either art shows or attending toy shows .. nights are filled with various get togethers and if there is any spare time maybe I can get to Nakano Mall or a Mandarake to toy shop … of late though any spare time has been spent visiting some very important craftsmen .. on the final day of the Kaiju Comrades 2 art toy show my friend Yo arranged for us to visit once again the Jedi Master of Kaiju painting, Goto-san ! I’ve written about Goto-san before in my blog, but this time I was able to bring along a small Flip camera and video him in action.
With a twinkle in his eye, he greets us .. this being the third time I have met him, he now remembers me ( ha-ha ) Goto-san represents a time when a handshake sealed deals.. His work ethic is the same. He is quite simply an inspiration to me and I try to soak up as much of this experience as I can .. and although my lack of Japanese skills once again haunts me .. I’m just happy to be able to have crossed paths with Goto-san in my life… and for him to allow a few minutes out of his busy day I am so greatful.
To bring those up to speed .. Goto-san has in his 50+ years as a toy painter in Japan, worked for every major toy company from Bullmark, Bandai, Takara and Tomy. Now in the twilight of his career he continues to stay busy by painting for this new generation of toy makers like RealHead as well as Marusan toys. You won’t find fancy equipment here, just his trusty airbrush guns, paints and brushes… everything done by hand, by one guy… in the hey day of toy painting before most everything was out sourced to China, Goto-san would paint thousands of toys a month .. yes thousands ! I’m a wimp compared to Goto-san .. when i paint I wear gloves and a mask.. I complain about having to paint 30 toys … Goto-san in true DieHard manner wears no masks or gloves (!) and quickly sprays my TriPus ( see video ).. I think he could do this with his eyes closed to be honest !!!
His small work room ( and I mean small ! ) is laid out so that whatever he needs is within reach .. paint cans ring the room…stored in shelves above and below us .. there are space heaters that glow with an intense flame .. I’m thinking probably not the best idea to have around with all this toxic paint, but whom I to say anything ( ha-ha ) !
Goto-san is friends with the guy we will see the following day, Shimizu-san, who pours all the vinyl for Max Toy projects in Japan. Goto-san asks if we need a ride or anything to see him.. it’s this kind of courtesy that amazes me .. of course we decline, but how many young guys would even think of offering ? But for this generation it’s a part of who they are and how they do business. I have much to learn from Goto-san and Shimizu-san. Lets hope this civility comes back in style again .. I certainly try my best to run my business this way and stay positive … Toy Karma for sure.
With that my visit is over much too soon .. Goto-san gets his car, and drives us to the train station .. I’m happy and sad at the same time. Goto-san will paint several of my upcoming projects, I only wish I lived closer to hear more of his stories and simply sit there and watch a true master at work.
Being the last day of the show I’m exhausted. We’ve spent since Thursday roughly 10am-8pm everyday in this gallery. For someone like me , who doesn’t have an office job, I’m use to just coming and going pretty much at will .. this was sorta like being in prison (ha-ha)… although as mentioned in previous posts lots of folks stopped by.. and the gifting never stopped ;-P Here’s a very nice gift from the President and owner of Marmit, Akamatsu-san .. he hand painted this one off, so much detail.. it’s awesome !
this last night we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant ..the food was not bad, but for sure not authentic 😉 In a very funny twist, since I’ve grown up in California, I learned simple Spanish and I could order my selection in Spanish… Arroz Con Pollo ( rice with chicken ) but of course could not order in Japanese ;-P Check out the funky decor and the dish … with egg on top (!)
Good times for sure .. tomorrow a visit to Shimizu-san and his vinyl factory and final thoughts on this show and trip.
To Be Continued ….