Nichitsu 1. The Ghost Town’s Junior High School

MJG Ghost Towns, Haikyo, Saitama, Schools 4 Comments

The abandoned Nichitsu Mining Town sits cramped into a narrow valley at the head of a long and buckled road in the mountainous western edge of Saitama. It was once a thriving company town with hundreds of families, the women staying at home in their rickety timber apartments, the children at the large wooden high school, and the men down in the mines digging for tin. But that was at least 20 years ago- since then the town has been relentlessly pounded by avalanches and ravaged by decay. All around the buildings stand with their roofs and walls caved in, …

Volcano Museum 1. First Road Trip

MJG Gunma, Haikyo, Museums 7 Comments

Up in the mountainous north-west corner of snowy Gunma prefecture, at the foot of the once-active volcano Mt. Asama, lies a beautifully weathered abandoned volcano museum. Ruptured by avalanche scree and scoured by the harsh winter winds rushing down the valley, it stands as a lone sentinel guarding the jagged granite slopes leading up to the volcano’s cone. Its paintwork has all flaked away revealing the white bone of plaster and the black of slate-brick, its windows and railings lie in broken shards at its feet, dislodged in the earthquake tremors shot out by the great dormant volcano it rests …

Last hurrah of the Kappa Pia Theme Park

MJG Haikyo, Kanagawa, Theme Parks 13 Comments

The Kappa Pia Theme Park in Saitama prefecture was in the process of being demolished when I went to see it. The grand rusted roller-coasters, creaking tea-cup rides, teddy bear-winning sideshows and themed restaurants I’d hoped to see were all gone, leaving nothing but troughs of rumpled mud and occasionally a bare concrete platform with rust-pocked rivet marks where a ride had once been tied down. Now, any record of the park’s existence at all must be gone. I only wish I’d gone there sooner to see it in all its faded glory.

Zoshigaya Cemetary

MJG Guides, Japan 3 Comments

The other day I took a stroll over to Zoshigaya Cemetary, one stop down the Arakawa street-car line from where I live. I meant to only shoot photos, but soon realized that photos couldn’t do the scale of the place any justice, so I decided to take some footage instead.

Tama River Ride

MJG Guides, Japan 10 Comments

After the success of our Arakawa River Ride, both Jason and I were chomping at the bit to get out and cycle-camp some more. Jason was keen to hit up the Arakawa again, whereas I wanted to try something new: the Tama river.

Killin Jack the Malakite

MJG Jabbler's Mons, Stories, Story Art Leave a Comment

My buddy Canadian Mike painted this- after many attempts to capture the mood of Jack vs. the Last Bunnyman. It’s from the opening scene of my story Killin Jack the Malakite, recently published in the zine Atomjack. Jack is the ape-like guy on the right. The Bunny is in the middle of the graves, just finished burying the last Bunny child, now leaping for Jack. I love it. It’s dark, but the colors are silvered out by the pale moon-light. I love Jack’s bulk, and the Bunnyman’s dynamic flight. Mike’s a great painter- we’ve talked some about turning Jack into …

Clay Head @ A Fly in Amber

MJG Books, Stories, Surreal 4 Comments

My story Clay Head published at A Fly in Amber! There’s a giant head in my living room. It’s made of grey clay, and it sings through the night. It sings songs about America. Sometimes boogie-woogie or the Big Bopper. It sings Buddy Holly. It sings about the plane that crashed and sometimes the song about the crash. It sings about whiskey and rye. I don’t know why the head sings. I don’t know why the head is in my room, or why I let it stay. Read the full story at A Fly in Amber.

Axis and Allies

MJG Uncategorized 2 Comments

Yesterday I had Canadian Mike and Alex round and we finally got down to some serious Axis and Allies gaming. Mike had his parents bring the game over with them when they came for his wedding last month. We wanted to play last week but ended up just playing Halo and Rock Band at my place.

Doomsday – 0.5/5

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

What a load of garbage. Doomsday is an adolescent male’s mash-up fantasy of a bunch of other post-apocalypse SF-type movies, executed abysmally, with some of the worst writing I’ve seen.  Take large chunks of 28 weeks later and Escape from New York, mix liberally with dashes of Mad Max, Resident Evil, and Lara Croft, throw in a little Alien- set the whole thing in some 80’s vision of the future (2023) with both cannibal hedonist street punks AND medieval knights living in castles, and this is what you get. We open with a lot of voice-over, similar to 28 weeks …

The Mist – 1/5

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

Frank Darabont directed the Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and now The Mist. It’s a story about a dense white mist that rolls down on a small American (Canadian?) town, bearing all kinds of nasty critters within it. Well- I didn’t like it. I didn’t believe it. It wasn’t so much the SF- though the spouting of garbage like ‘interdimensional rifts’ should only be done with proper preparation, and only if necessary, and in this it wasn’t either. Rather it was the characters acting like idiots, wimps, and cowards. The hero starts off like a hero. He takes fairly fast action, …