Target Japan

February 11th, 2014 by Max Allan Collins

I was surprised and delighted to see Mike Carlson, one of the UK’s best and most respected crime fiction reviewers, give TARGET LANCER a rave. Carlson was apparently sparked by the mass-market paperback edition. He seems to share my interest in, and take on, the JFK assassination. I’ve got to get ASK NOT into his hands.

I recommend the film THE MONUMENT MEN and urge you to ignore the mostly negative reviews it’s been getting. It’s a determinedly old-fashioned movie from its star cast (essentially playing themselves or at least their movie personas), a rousing and intentionally Old School score, a compelling episodic structure cutting between story threads, and a respect for history that makes it a DIRTY DOZEN for people who respect art. There’s not a lot of slam-bang action, but the extent of the evil of the Hitler regime comes across effectively in a unique fashion. No, it’s not INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS. And 12 YEARS A SLAVE isn’t DJANGO UNCHAINED, either.

This will be an extremely short update because (A) I seem to be coming down with a cold, and (B) I am prepping to start the Spillane western novel.

So I’m turning the rest of this post over to son Nate, who with his wife Abby recently went to Japan. I’ve asked him to share some photos of that trip.


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Hi everyone. Nate here. Let’s get right to the pictures!

Japan 2014

Our first day, we went to the Comic Market (aka Comiket) in Tokyo, which is sort of like Japan’s San Diego Comic-Con, only even more massive (around 540,000 attendees over three days to Comic-Con’s 130,000 over four days), and with a heavy focus on self-publishing groups (some 35,000 of them divided across the three days—each day has an entirely different lineup) in endless rows of small folding tables and minimal displays (only the industry publishers can swing enough space for booths here, and only in a separate hall with a separate entry line). Sadly, I did not take any pictures of the inside, as there was no room to do so.

Our AirBNB hosts shared us this video of the Comiket line management. San Diego Comic-Con organizers should take note!

Japan 2014

The first few days of the new year are the most important holiday in Japan, and one of the many New Year’s traditions is to visit a shrine or a temple. Due to the increased number of visitors, carnival-esque booths selling food and toys often spring up around the holy sites, and if you’re lucky, you might come across performances by traditional entertainers. Above is a ladder acrobatics demonstration stemming from firefighting techniques of the 19th-Century Edo period, when a portable ladder could often provide the fastest vantage point to find the source of a fire. The poles barely visible at the base of the photo are axes held by the other members of the troupe, who balance the ladder for the climber as they await their turn to show off. Would you like to know more?

Japan 2014

This is a statue in Kyoto’s Yasaka Koshin-do Temple of Binzuru-Sonja, one of Buddha’s disciples popular in Japan. He is said to help those who touch or rub his statue on the part of the body where they are suffering an affliction.

Japan 2014

“Unryuzu” by Kaiho Yusho, Kennin-ji Temple, Kyoto. 16th Century. (Reproduction)

Japan 2014

Kamo River, Kyoto.

Japan 2014

On one of our favorite days, our friend (and two of her helpers!) dressed us in these lovely traditional Japanese wedding kimono. Truly an honor!


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6 Responses to “Target Japan”

  1. Edmond D. Smith says:

    I’m with you on Monuments Men. Yeah, it is an old fashioned movie but that’s as it should be considering the setting and era in which it’s set. What I also liked about it was the fact that it is one of few entertainments around that actually celebrates Western Civilization and does it so unabashedly. Despite what we’re told by everybody from college professors to PC drenched TV shows and most movies, Western Civilization actually has more to offer than cautionary tales about intolerance and conquering peaceful and environmentally conscious native peoples. It’s nice to see see some of those things celebrated. I’m surprised to the celebrating done by George Clooney but it’s a happy surprise.

  2. Joe Menta says:

    May I suggest another possible Collins family collaboration: Max and Nate working together on a story featuring… Quarry in Japan!

  3. I think it’s a sad thing that so many conservatives think that liberals have no sense of patriotism/love of country, and vice versa. Bill Maher, who is obviously on the left side of things, has been typically outspoken that the notion of all civilizations and their belief systems being somehow equal is nonsense. And I agree.

    Joe, that’s a fun idea. I don’t know if Nate would have the patience to work with me, though.

  4. BNPeeler says:

    Thanks to Nate and his lovely wife for sharing the beautiful pictures.

  5. Edmond D. Smith says:

    Conservatives come by their thoughts about how many liberals look at Western civilization honestly, Max. From academia where the West is taught as being little more than racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. to the entire edifice of the multicultural “industry”, including ccorporate diversity programs which are grounded in the idea of societal equivalence, it isn’t a big head scratcher to understand why conservatives see many liberals as not exactly being big Western Civ boosters. While you and Maher and the occasional other liberals may not agree, the very vocal liberal establishment does. Why do you think Western Civ classes are now as rare in Universities as rare as Dodo birds? Think you can get away with having even a casual conversation in most corporations about the superiority of the West to the Islamic world without being reprimanded and forced to take a “sensitivity” class? Fat chance. THAT is what I think is sad. Just saying…

  6. SPKelly says:

    If Nate (or any Collins family member) ever needs/wants to visit Yokosuka and the Navy base here, I am in charge of public relations. I’ll treat you to a Yokosuka Navy Burger or Yokosuka Navy Curry.