10 Office-Front Facades, Ginza

MJG Architecture 4 Comments

Ginza is the core amygdala in the tightly-twined morass of Tokyo’s brain, a nerve center firing off directional impulses telling people what to wear, how to look, what to buy, and who to be. Amongst the district’s densely packed grid of un-signposted streets some of the grandest global corporations can be found- De Beers, Mikimoto, Hermes and so on, parading their garlanded facades like buxom debutantes at the inaugural ball. Look a little harder though, down a few of the shadier backstreets, off the beaten track, and you’ll find the hidden gems of Ginza, the subtle impulses that cut through …

10 Store-Front Facades, Ginza

MJG Architecture 6 Comments

Ginza is the bustling beating heart of high class fashion and commerce in Japan, a labyrinthine grid of broad and narrow streets bristling with corporate headquarters, flagship stores, and chic designer boutiques, sprawled over several square kilometers just a few stops from Tokyo station. Amongst its ultra-elite avenues and alleyways are some incredibly bold front-facade designs, ranging from tie-stores built out of solid glass bricks to port-hole crazy office towers. This is the first in a 2-part series- the second is ‘10 Office-Front Facades‘, coming soon.

The Giant Robot and the Myna Bird

MJG Science Fiction, Stories 5 Comments

The giant robot stalked the empty world, looking for its lost arm. It had fought in many wars, from the beginning to the end. In ancient Thrace it had brought down the gates of Thermopylae. In Samarkand it had crushed the Czar’s men underfoot. On the fields of the Somme it had walked the no-man’s land and razed the flags of the Third Reich. Towards the end had been the lasers. The large bombs; the A-bomb, and the B-bomb that followed it. Artillery that could shred its skin, and tanks that could push it over. Then there had been the …

The Mad Ruins of Kentucky’s Waverley Hills Sanatorium

MJG Hospitals, USA, World Ruins 13 Comments

The Waverley Hills Sanatorium in Jefferson County, Kentucky, opened in 1910 in the thick of a Tuberculosis groundswell, then an incurable disease rife in the swampy backwaters of rural Loisville. The infected went to Waverley to be quarantined, and most likely to die- their bodies trundled out down the ‘Body Chute’ by night so as not to disturb the other patients. Described as one of America’s most haunted locations, Waverley boasts a total body count of around 60,000 over its 51 year life-span. It was shut down in 1961 as TB was gradually being eradicated, changed hands a number of …

Final Fantasy: Dissidia Potions

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 5 Comments

Dissidia is the latest mano-a-mano fighting game in the Final Fantasy continuum, to be released by Square Enix on December 18th. It sounds totally cool. There is no chance I will buy it and play it. It features awesome heroes like ‘The Onion Knight’ whose special skill is emanating onion fumes so his enemies weep uncontrollably, ‘Zidane Tribal’ who kicks pig’s bladders at his enemies, and ‘Cecil Harvey’ who gives history lectures so dull they’re like a protective shield of ennui around his body. In cooperation with Suntory, Square Enix unleashed (not for the first time) the full power of …

13 views of Fuji Terebi, Odaiba

MJG Architecture 12 Comments

13 views of Fuji Terebi, Odaiba, mimics a well-known tradition in Japanese art: collected ukiyoe (wood-block) paintings of Mt. Fuji from multiple locations and angles, in varying weather conditions. This style of art became famous with a collection of 36 prints from artist Katsushika Hokusai around 1830, copied many times by many different artists in many different styles. Here- I add my take on it, with the Fuji Terebi (television) building in Odaiba.

First dslr- Nikon d90

MJG Uncategorized 11 Comments

I’ve been shooting my haikyo and structures photos for months now with a Canon Powershot compact camera. It was the best camera I’ve owned- which is not saying a great deal- though it is a nice compact. But too many times I’ve been to haikyo in poor conditions and: 1- come back with poor photos due to low-light conditions, and 2- felt shamed by other haikyoists packing dSLRs, getting more value from the location with their superior cameras. So- I sped the levelling process and bought a Nikon d90 with 3 lenses in the past few days- thanks to Jason …

Demolished remnants of the Tai-Hei-Yo Cement Plant

MJG Haikyo, Mines / Factories, Saitama 6 Comments

The Tai-Hei-Yo Cement Plant Haikyo in Chichibu, Saitama, was once one of Japan’s biggest producers of concrete, a massive complex woven through with miles of piping, studded with huge firing kilns, silos, 30-story smoke-stacks and immense clinker vats. Throughout its 50 year plus history it stripped the mountains around it bald of limestone, filled the skies with thousands of kilograms of CO2 from its furnaces, and helped drive Japan into the 21st century. Now it’s a half-demolished scrapyard, strewn with piles of twisted metal wreckage, yellow chemical pools, bulldozers and cranes.

The death of Nakagin, the world’s first capsule hotel.

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 26 Comments

The Nakagin Capsule Hotel Tower in Shimbashi was the first of its kind in the world; a wholly modular building comprised of a concrete stack with latch-points for pre-fabricated one-piece rooms to bolt on to, with a built-in life cycle for obsolescence and upgrade. The work was the real-life embodiment of master architect Howard Roark’s vision, a character from Ayn Rand’s seminal Objectivist book The Fountainhead- a building so perfectly self-contained, ergonomic, and integrated that it would allow the whole of humanity to live in ultimate comfort with maximum efficiency- the true victory of function over form. In reality however, …