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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Human Vapor

At work I sit beside a guy who has an OCD issue where he constantly has to rub his hands together every 20 seconds or so.

Despite him having a bottle of hand lotion on his desk, which he does use, the hand rubbing sounds rough and dry, giving it an audio appearance similar to snakes having sex while shedding skin.

Annoying for myself and others around him, we are at least respectful enough about the poor bugger.

But what about us poor distracted buggers? Tough noogies. I wear a cheap pair of earbuds I picked up at a convenience store for $15 out of my own money.

Of course, when I have the ear buds in, the cord floats centimeters over my keyboard constantly getting in the way of me when I type.
Wired! On the plus side, you can see the cool-looking bluejay and mallard duck made with LEGO bricks.
Anyhow, I now listen to music all day long at work in my attempts to drown out the scratchy palms… but because I don’t wish to go effing deaf, nor do I want to be completely oblivious of people around me needing to ask me questions, I wear the ear buds, listen to music at a low volume, can hear people when they talk to me, and can still hear the palms scratching back in forth - just not as loudly.

What do I listen to at work? Besides never wanting to hear the classic rock song Hand Jive, I listen to songs with a heavier rock and roll sound - like Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix, and love listening to nasty funk from the 1970s. But I’m already running out of things to listen to as I have nearly gone through everything on the Internet.

Yes… nearly everything on the frickin' Internet.

A favorite Far Side cartoon!
I can’t listen to anything resembling Ted Talks or books or anything that takes away my already compromised concentration - I write creatively in my day job, too.

Anyhow, after rediscovering the hillbilly punk sound of the Reverend Horton Heat I used to listen to, YouTube suggested I give a listen to some weird group called Man or Astro-man?

Pleasantly surprised by this Auburn, Alabama, U.S. surf rock group from 1992 - present, I listened to the entire album of Destroy All Astromen (1994). 

I suppose by not including a hyphen in astromen, these are different astromen from the group which has a hyphen.

Do I pronounce the hyphen when I talk about the group?

Then I listened to their first album: Is It ... Man or Astro-man? (ASTRO is italics).  Have a listen:

It's largely believed the group took its name from the poster of the U.S. release of the Japanese film The Human Vapor, which includes the tagline “IS HE MAN OR ASTRO-MAN?”.

American movie poster for the Japanese flick now known as The Human Vapor. You can see where the rock group took its name... lower left...
Because I write a lot, I try and move all over the place in topics to give the reader several options to mull over per writing... like in this article where I talk about work, music and movies... though this might be the first instance of me doing that...I should do that...

The Human Vapor is indeed a Japanese sci-fi flick, released by Toho in Japan on December 11, 1960 coming in at 91 minutes in length, but with the Japanese name: Gasu ningen dai 1 gō (ガス人間第一号, with the literal translation of "Gas Human Being No. 1"). The Japanese movie poster can be seen at the very top of this article. 

It took a few years, but the film was later released in the U.S. by Brenco Pictures as The Human Vapor, with an English-language over-dub beginning May 20, 1964 and shortened down by 12 minutes to come in at 79 minutes when released.

It was probably done because the film was part of a double-feature (Drive-In anyone?) with another Japanese science-fiction movie called Gorath in the U.S. (but in Japan it was known as: 妖星ゴラス, Yōsei Gorasu, aka Ominous Star Gorath) about mankind's efforts to move Earth out of its orbit to avoid it from colliding with a runaway star.That actually sounds interesting.

Sure, but what is The Human Vapor about?

It's about a man named Tsuchiya Yoshio (surname first) and his love for a Noh (能) dancer... oh and his ability to transform into a gaseous state.

Here's what IMDb has to say on the plot:

A (REMOVED by ME) is subject to a scientific experiment which goes wrong and transforms him into 'The Human Vapor'. He uses his new ability to rob banks to fund the career of his girlfriend, a beautiful dancer. The Human Vapor is ruthless in his quest for money and kills anyone who stands in his way, especially police. He soon becomes Tokyo's most wanted criminal. Can he be stopped before he kills again?

IMDb spells "Vapor" as "Vapour", but I have edited to the American standard spelling.

Anyhow, today we've learned: that smart men can turn into criminals if a woman is somehow involved; how I spend my time at work, and; that more-modern surf music is kindda cool.

Wanna watch The Human Vapor? Click on the link HERE - it's in Japanese with English sub-titles.

The first thing I noticed, was the left-hand drive car! The next thing is that the first two women we see in this movie are absolutely drop-dead gorgeous! If Japan ever wanted something to boost tourism, this movie was a fantastic start!

Also... it only took about $200 to get him to undergo the experiment. $200. Of course, we'll learn why it only took that amount. Oh... but when he signs the papers, look at the room... the scene is shot at an angle... giving one the subconscious impression that something is askew.

Actress Sata Keiko (surname first), who stars as the plucky reporter in The Human Vapor, is also in Gorath, as the Prime Minister's secretary! She doesn't appear to have done much else in acting - a total of six movies between 1960-1962. I'm unsure if she's still with us.

She does a great job in The Human Vapor! Plus, I would have traveled to Japan to meet someone like her if I was around in 1960! Wowser!

As for actress Yachigusa Kaoru (八千草 薫) who plays the Noh dancer, she still about at the age of 87, and has a full-body of movie work. Gorgeous!

But... do you know what's really surprising?

The Human Vapor is a really, really good movie! Watch it in its entirety at the link above! I did!

Andrew Joseph

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