Introducing A New Contributing Writer To Tokyo Lives: James Arledge

How do you start an article about yourself? The answer: horribly. So let's get right to the fun bit and I'll bore you with my credentials later on in my bio page.

My introduction to the world of Kaiju starts, like a lot of you, with Godzilla. Me and good ol' Gojira go way back, and that is all thanks to my parents. You see, when I was younger, my parents bought us a brand new VCR. (Did I lose anyone there?) Only this VCR had something our old one didn't: a record button. Today, everything has a record button, but back then it was a big deal. My parents went crazy with the recorded VHS's; I had somewhere in the ball park of thirty episodes of the 80's 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,' 'Animaniacs,' and various other cartoons that I can't recall at the moment. All of them recorded straight from TV. Watching those tapes over and over, half-cut commercials and all, are some of my favorite memories as a child. But, nothing quite held a candle to my hand recorded Godzilla VHSs. I had several tapes, each with one to two movies. I don't remember exactly but to my knowledge I had 'Godzilla vs The Sea Monster,' 'Son of Godzilla,' 'Godzilla vs Mothra,' 'Ghidorah, the Three Headed Monster,' and 'Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla.' I would watch a different tape every night as I fell asleep and wake up the next morning to a fuzzy screen and a blaring static sound. I didn't fully understand what I was watching and I didn't get the story. All I knew was that the mouths didn't match the voices and eventually Godzilla would fight another monster and it would be awesome! Like all children, I eventually moved on to the next thing and Godzilla moved to the back of my mind and the tapes moved to the back of the VHS shelf.

Years later, my cousin brings over a brand new game that he has been playing like crazy. He puts in the disc, gives the power button a push and the title pops up on my screen: "Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee!" The moment the game started, the memories began rushing back to me. The character, the sights and the sounds (oh God, the sounds), all of it flooded into my head. We played for hours and I was in love all over again. I needed more.

I dug those old tapes out and started watching them over and over, catching things I had missed as a child. I remember watching them so much that eventually I wore the tapes out completely. Whenever a Godzilla movie would come on TV I would be there with the VCR and a blank VHS ready to record. I recorded a few of the Mechagodzilla movies and another one with Mothra (I don't recall which one). I was a kid in a giant monster candy store and I'm still eating that candy today.

It didn't mean much to me then, but looking back the Showa Era made a gigantic impact on me as a Godzilla fan, thus it will always be my favorite era. Just like Ghidorah will always be my favorite Toho Kaiju.

I want to thank you all for reading my little intro and I look forward to bringing you the latest and greatest news from the world of Kaiju.

(Editor's Note: We're extremely excited to have James come on board and can't wait to have you check out his first article for the site coming later this week)