Finally managed to pull myself away from the manga "Berserk" after finishing the Golden Age Arc. While I enjoy the story line and the complex main characters, I can't deny that Kentaro Miura has created something that's graphic in all sense of the word, and he seems to like drawing eyes popping out of the sockets of victims of vicious violence. It's either that or that's what really happens if one gets sliced down the head with an obscenely huge sword.
Alright, eyes flying out of eye sockets aside, I would now like to touch on the items that were of high priority on my Japan to-do list: visiting the memorial halls of Yujiro Ishihara (石原裕次郎) and Takashi Hosokawa. I've decided to split them into articles of their own since I think they may be quite long, and I'll start with the former since I went there first.
I don't remember how I came across the Ishihara Yujiro Memorial Hall, but the moment that I saw it was in Otaru, and that we would be dropping by the canal town somewhere along our itinerary, I was determined to go. After all, I wouldn't want to miss a chance to see a whole building dedicated to everyone's favourite Tough Guy.
Despite the day being rainy and starting off on the wrong foot, all the negativity got erased the moment I stood at the memorial hall's entrance and saw the words "石原裕次郎記念館". It really cheered me up. All the more when the first thing that greeted me upon entering was Hiroshi Tachi (舘ひろし)... 's cut-out. Dang, while my smile was not as wide as anticipated, my hands were grabbing on to my grey newsboy cap so tightly I thought would have torn it!
|Dandy Takayama! Oh, wrong franchise...|
Um... Bad-ass Hato! Oldbutstillhot.
While I do like Yujiro and hold a great deal of respect for him, somehow I wasn't as moved as I thought I'd be when wandering around his memorial hall. Poignant, yes. But not emotional. On hindsight, perhaps it was because my main motivation of going there was actually to see the Tachi cut-out, as crazy as that sounds - if you've read my articles on Mr. Dandy, you'll know why.
When all was said and done, it was time for souvenirs at the gift shop. It was something I had been looking forward to as well because firstly, it was quite big and well-stocked, and secondly I had eyes on a cap that had Ishihara's name on it. I did get the black one, and while it is actually rather large for me despite being the smallest size, heavy, and made of a thick material, I love it. Besides that, I got a key-chain with a black and white photo of Tough Guy that I'm currently using as a bag accessory, and the "Yogiri..." single (y'know, just 'cause). Just some physical souvenirs to accompany the incredible experience.
|All aboard the S.S. Yujiro!|
|Yeah, yeah, it's the cliche picture of the canal.|
If you're wondering why Yujiro's museum is situated in Otaru rather than his birthplace of Kobe, it's because he spent his childhood in this seaside city. And I think he really liked the place as he could sail in his Yachts, one of them being the Hale Contessa, if I'm not wrong.