Japan’s Russian Village Theme Park sprawls empty and forlorn atop a small hill set back from the main road, shrouded by a thick raft of cedar trees that hide its embarassing failed extravangance from the world. Built 2002 and abandoned after just 6 months, the endeavour was ill-fated from the start: a theme park in the middle of nowhere with no rides. Russian church in Japanese mountains. Now its giant fake mammoths rest unseen in their dark and musty show hall, the vibrant blue onion-domes of its vaulting ‘Russian’ church slowly tarnish to white, and the shops once filled with Matroska dolls and Russian jewellry lie in vandalized ruin. Fake mammoth bones in the park’s central attraction. I went to …
Shimoda has some of the most beautiful and pristine yellow-sand blue-ocean beaches in all of Japan. Commodore Perry certainly picked a choice spot to roll up at in his black ships- further up the coast other trade envoys were met by steel-toting Samurai’s stood on the grey-sand grey-ocean cock-roach infested trash-havens of Enoshima and Kamakura. Not for Perry though, and not in Shimoda. Shirahama, Tatadohama, and Ohama beaches are gorgeous, sun-kissed, and every time I’ve visited them- about 50% empty.
Deep within the solid rock of the Negishi Plateau in Yokohama, spreading beneath the old race-course Grandstand and Yokosuka Naval Base, lies a twisting warren of hidden World War 2-era caverns. Once filled with ancient munitions, bustling troops, and rooms full of military dossiers, they now rest in lonely silence, unexplored for up to 20 years, their secrets stopped up behind entrances back-filled with avalanche scree and trash, overgrown by thick vines in loamy earth, and walled off with sheets of blast-concrete.
My story the Mistman just went live at Byzarium! “There was a village in the mountains at the top of the world that was always shrouded in mist. Its name was Ballahee, and in it lived a small community of people, good people, who tended to their crops on the mountainsides, and looked after their sheep and their hardy goats. The villagers had many problems, such as the cold winters and the wolves in the scrub-woods, but by far their biggest problem was the mist. The mist had always been there, and the villagers knew there was nothing they could do to stop it. They could barely see each other out on the street, but that was normal, and they …
Snake Cat lives in the city’s gutters and drain-pipes, crawling along on his side, hunting Snark and weevils, distending his jaw to swallow them whole. He is lithe and lissome like freshly steamed yew, he can contort into the shape of the letter ‘O’ or even the letter ‘A’. His tail is prehensile like a monkey’s and he uses it to slide down power-lines and into the homes of unsuspecting Wombles- whom he also eats. This was a rare day-time sighting of Snake Cat. Crawl, Snake Cat, crawl! Video after the break.
- Page 1 of 2