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776: Streep talk
775: World of difference
774: Shocks and Bonds
773: Viva La Revolución
772: Jacqui Bayne
768: Beyond the universe
767: Yasuhito Endo
766: Aroon Mahtani
765: Dr. Hidemi Akai
764: Badr Hari
763: Mizuki Kubodera
761: Patrick W. Galbraith
760: Jean-Pierre Felix
759: Philippe Grau
758: Emi Kashiwara & Elekiteru
757: Aura Virginia Chirculescu
756: Aaron Davis
755: Happy days
754: Bryan Au
753: Martin van der Linden
752: Qinggelete
751: Chuck Johnson
750: Mike Applegate (aka Magic Mike)
749: Yukie Kito
748: Steve Kaufmann
746: Samira Zarghami
745: Raising the Bar
744: Pierre-Gilles Delorme
743: David F. Hoenigman
742: Miwa Gardner
741: Kevin Cooney
740: Kyle Cleveland
739: JJ
738: Bruce Stronach
737: Yoichiro Dennis Ide
736: Mike Garrett
735: Hiroki Suehara
734: Rise and Shrine
733: Patrik Washburn
732: Michael Bumgardner
731: Patricia Bader-Johnston
730: Darin Maki
729: Hiroshi Fujimaki
728: Misha Janette
727: Jon Mitchell
725: Hokuto Konishi
724: Rita Lamah Hankach
723: Kisui Nakazawa
722: Angela Jeffs
721: Simon Wood
720: Yasuko Yokoyama
715: Jason Kelly
714: Dominica Serigano
713: Erik Gain
712: Genevieve Maylam
711: Masahiro Gono
710: Eikou Sumura
709: Eikou Sumura
708: Malcolm Thompson
707: Makiko Tsuji
706: Dominic Allen
705: Maria Heitanen
704: Beckie Cassidy
703: Jett Edwards
702: Yoshinobu Furuichi
701: Silvestre Jacobi
700: Jah-Light Sound System
699: Daniel Velazques
698: Lynne Charles
697: Eric Bragg
695: Susan Nichols
694: Anna Kunnecke
693: Kenneth Pechter
692: Kazu Wakui
691: Antonio Inoki
690: Hiroko Noguchi
689: Richard Bysouth
688: Eric Bjorndahl
687: Andrew Shuttleworth
686: Sayuri Suzuki
685: Yurie Hatanaka
684: Miogi Takii
683: Thierry Cohen
682: Ahmed M. Elmardi
681: Aya Kitagawa
680: Suzanne Ng and Yoriko Soma
679: Ricco DeBlank
677: Takenari Shibata
676: Kirk R. Patterson
675: Satoko Yahata
674: Flavia Nishimura
673: Ryo Shoji
672: Chip Eckton
671: Yuko Ito
670: Marja Kullberg
669: Laur Meyrieux
668: Slavomir Stanislaw Kowalewski
667: Ryan McGuire
664: Life force
663: Steve Marshall
662: Jeff Klein
661: Ahn Soon Han
660: Straight shooter
659: Marcello Pietrantonio
658: Glitterball 2006
657: Alison Roberts-Brown
656: Girl on the go
655: Rob Hoey
654: Kahori Ochi
653: Ed Wells
652: Haruka Orth
651: Laura Cook
650: Uleshka Asher
649: Full speed ahead
648: Katsumi Namekata
647: Top talent
646: No heels, no life
645: Joanna Roper
644: Lu Nagata
643: Kirill Konin
642: Gabriele Roberto
641: Carlos Gibbs
640: Blair Falahey
639: The Three Waiters
638: Simon Woodroffe
637: Tony Virili
636: Paul W. Creager
635: Randy Channell
634: Mari Takeuchi
633: Stephanie Schueller
632: Tara Tan Kitaoka
631: Katherine Mok
630: Bob Tobin and Hitoshi Ohashi
629: Tommy Kullberg
628: Toshio Nagashima
627: Eiko Kondo
626: Embrey Ramon Williams
625: Neil Day
624: Mong-Lan
623: Tor Hideki Kashio
622: Elizabeth Heilman Brooke
621: Louis Carlet
620: Theo Panagiotoulias
619: Lionel Gougne
618: Sarajean Rossitto
617: Christian Hassing
616: Kiho Takashima
614-615: David Wagner
613: Heather Stuart
612: Erica Angyal
611: Jack McLean
610: Fumine Yakumo
609: Yasutoshi Hirabayashi
608: Yoko Hijikata
607: Jim Frederick
605: Yuka Murakami
604: Chayne Ellis
603: Marco Antonio Nakata
602: Kicking Back
601: Stand by your man
600: Hero worship
599: The Candy man
598: Heart strings
597: Sweet and sour
596: Subtitle subtleties
595: The right moves
594: Mother’s day
593: The clone ranger
592: A career kicks off
591: Woman of substance
590: Final conflict
589: World Ready for ‘War’
588: Fun in the sun
587: New life for an old hero
586: Fun and games
585: Knockout punch
584: Patrick’s day
583: Marcia marches on
582: Brunch break
581: Kingdom come
580: Gentle as a beast
579: Prime time
578: Devil of a time
577: In first Gere
576: Bright spark
575: Rei of sunshine
574: A star is reborn
573: In search of geisha
572: Marshall law
571: In the Nic of time
570: Holding a grudge
569: Bourne again
568: Soap opera
567: Alexander and friends
566: Oceans apart
565: A night at the opera
564: Just joshing
563: McPain in the neck
561-562: Hanks for everything
560: Reading between the Klines
559: Risqué business
558: Sky highs
557: Korean boom
556: Queen Victoria
555: Glitter Ball
554: Peter Miller
553: Ralph Frehner
552: Dimension K
551: Tokyo Game Show
550: US Embassy
549: I, Robot Premiere
548: Mauve
547: Xterra Japan
546: Earth Celebration
545: Idée R-bar
544: Laforet Museum
543: Hara Museum
542: Fuji Rock Festival’04
541: Bunkamura Museum of Art

star struck

Hero worship
Jessica Alba and the gang bring Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four to the screen
By Chris Betros

Three of The Four (from left): Chris Evans (Human Torch), Jessica Alba (Invisible Woman) and Michael Chiklis (The Thing)
Chris Betros

When Jessica Alba was in Japan recently, a Japanese reporter sheepishly informed her that his 10-year-old son had seen the poster for her new superhero movie Fantastic Four and had fallen in love with her. The boy told his dad that he wanted to marry the 24-year-old actress. “Tell him to see me in 10 years,” she cheerfully replied.

Such admiration is a testament to the appeal of Alba, who was No. 1 on Maxim’s Hot 100 Babe List in 2001. Since making her film debut in 1994 with the forgettable Camp Nowhere, she has built up a sizable following in Japan, mainly due to her breakout role as a genetically-engineered woman in James Cameron’s Dark Angel series in 2000.

Japan fans flocked to see her a few months ago when she was a guest at the MTV Awards, and again this month for Fantastic Four, when she attended a gala premiere with director Tim Story and co-stars Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis. The fourth member of the superhero team—Ioan Gruffudd, aka Mr. Fantastic—was unable to join them.

The latest comic book from Marvel Comics to hit the big screen, Fantastic Four follows the exploits of a group of astronauts who gain superpowers after an accident involving cosmic rays. Alba plays Sue Storm (Invisible Woman), Evans is Johnny Storm (Human Torch) and Chiklis is Ben Grimm (a rock creature known as The Thing). They must team up to defeat the nefarious Dr. Doom.

While popular in the US, the Fantastic Four comic is not as well known in Japan as Spider-Man, the X-Men and Daredevil, but Alba and her co-stars are confident this latest effort will be a hit. “This film is lighthearted and fun for everyone. I loved playing a comic book hero. I mean, it’s every kid’s dream. Sue Storm is feisty, intelligent and maternal—not your stereotypical female comic book character,” said Alba, who also has another movie, Sin City, opening in Japan in October.

Meanwhile 24-year-old Evans, who was seen most recently in the movie Cellular, said he enjoyed indulging his inner child, but found the harness work tiring. His character spends a lot of time flying, which meant he was suspended by wires against a green screen for hours. “At first it was fun, but by the end of the day you start to feel really sore.”

As The Thing, 42-year-old Chiklis (whom TV audiences will know from police drama The Shield) spends most of his time inside a 30-kg latex suit that makes him look like a brick wall. “Nothing could have trained me for that,” he said. “I ran long distances, did weights, but it was all incorrect. You don’t understand how hard it is until you actually experience it.”

Fantastic Four relies heavily on special effects and huge sets, among them a 3-story, 150-meter-long mock-up of the Brooklyn Bridge. “Some scenes took weeks to film. You’re doing scenes with nothing but a green screen in the background,” said Chiklis. “It’s almost like a movie within a movie, parts of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle.”

While the theme of the film is heroism, Alba said that heroism has nothing to do with superpowers. “To me, a hero is anyone who devotes their life to being selfless or philanthropic, like Mother Teresa or Princess Diana.” But she did add that if she could have one superpower, it would be the ability to fly.



Matthew Ireton
volunteer reflects on his Expo experience

The Aichi Expo, which ends Sunday, has been hailed a success by organizers after beating its target of attracting 15 million visitors in six months. The baton now goes to Shanghai, which will host the 2010 Expo. Despite some long waits and initial teething problems, such as a ban on bento boxes that was dropped after a public outcry, most visitors have left with good impressions of Aichi. It has also been a chance for volunteers of many nationalities to work at their countries’ pavilions. One volunteer is American university student Matthew Ireton.

How did you get this job?
Back in January, I had an interview in Washington, D.C. with Doug West, Deputy Commissioner of the US Pavilion.

What were your daily duties?
I worked as an intern. I translated documents from English to Japanese and vice versa, interpreted at meetings and hosted VIP guests.

What did you do on Independence Day?
I had the chance to recite the Declaration of Independence in Japanese after Joe Ochman, who acted as Benjamin Franklin, recited it in English.

What did you have to wear?
Suits on important occasions, but usually I wore a collared shirt and shorts.

How did you cope with the heat?
I made sure to bring a bottle of water and a hand towel wherever I went.

What sort of things did Japanese visitors say to you?
Most of them asked me, with some confusion, “Why can you speak Japanese?”

What is the craziest thing you saw at the whole Expo?
The lines to get into some of the popular pavilions. I’m just kidding. Actually, I was really amazed by so many performances from magic shows to ethnic singing.

What are your plans now?
Back to college in D.C.I intend to major in political science and minor in music at George Washington University. CB

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