The Grand-daddy of all Love Hotels

MJG Haikyo, Kanagawa, Sex Industry 33 Comments

The Hotel Royal haikyo is the grand-daddy of all love hotels, streaking 7 empty stories up into the big blue sky, a giant vermillion flag on the lakeshore calling out to all and sundry in a mega-watt alto- ‘Need some discreet time alone with your loved one? Come on down!’

The People in the Walls

MJG Stories, Surreal 4 Comments

The people in the walls are an infestation. They crowd around the living room in their inch-thin insulation space and watch me while I go about my life. Some of them have drilled peep-holes. I cover the holes with paintings I paint myself, and vases full of flowers which they sometimes steal and eat. I paint paintings of the people in the walls. I suppose they look a little bit like aliens. They have big and flat grey heads an inch thick. They look a lot like stick men. They are normally smiling stick-thin smiles, which creeps me out. I hang the paintings of the people in the walls over the holes in the walls the people hide behind. I …

Barry Eisler (Author of John Rain)

MJG Japan, People / Culture 3 Comments

Barry Eisler is the author of the world-wide bestselling John Rain hit-man series, now 6 books in total, translated into 20 languages, winner of multiple awards and plaudits. He was in town this past week for a sneak preview of the movie made from his first book- ‘Rain Fall’- to which he’d invited his Tokyo fans via his website. I found out about the preview the day before and just managed to snag a seat in the screening room, in the process briefly meeting the man himself: Me and Barry Eisler.

The Life and Death of the Sofitel Hotel

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 15 Comments

The Sofitel Hotel once stood on the Ueno park skyline like a bizarrely massive chest of drawers, at once a paean to modern design aesthetics and traditional Shinto values. It was demolished in December 2006 after only 12 years of offering 83 4-star rooms in central Tokyo, leaving a weirdly-shaped gap on the city-scape viewed from Shinobazu pond. Like the cherry blossoms that frame so many shots of the Sofitel, it was only a temporary beauty, one that serves to remind us of the short time we`re here, and how any one of us can be called away at any moment. The Sofitel and Cherry Blossoms. Thanks to sevargmt for this image.

Harajuku Cosplayers

MJG Japan, Manga / Anime / Cosplay 29 Comments

At the meeting point of the painfully fashionable Omotesando street and the city-looping Yamanote train line, triangulated between Harajuku`s ultra-hip boutique fashion zone Takeshita street, the soaring lines of Kenzo Tange`s 1964 Olympic Gymnasium, and the giant red tori gate at the entrance to the 88 year old Meiji Jingu shrine, you`ll find the Harajuku cosplayers. `Cosplay` is a Japanese popularization of a common concept: costume play. In other cultures such dressing-up has traditionally been reserved for Halloween parties, college toga parties, and masque balls. In Japan, cosplay is perennial- on the bridge outside Meiji Jingu they can be found ever Sunday come rain or shine.