Gundam Building, Shibuya

MJG Architecture 1 Comment

The Gundam building in Shibuya rests on its axled haunches like the ultimate guard-dog, anxiously awaiting the day it will be called into service to leap-frog into battle to protect its city, tackling Mothra or some other evil invading alien with its fire-eyes and laser tail. It also keeps a close eye on those ‘satellites’ launched out of North Korea, ready to leap up and catch them in its big red mouth as if they were frisbees. Mobile suit, baby!

Collect your free drugs from this forgotten hospital

MJG Haikyo, Hospitals, Tochigi 10 Comments

The Toyoshin Convalescent Centre is an oddity already sunk from the consciousness of the neighbouring area, something the local kids don’t even notice as they walk past it to and from school. No fences or barricades of any kind guard its door or driveways, packets and vials of medicine lie side by side with discarded medical records and X-ray equipment on its shelves, but no-one ventures inside because- why would they? The place is a shell neither ominous nor dangerous- something old men potter around inside singing enka songs while searching for scrap firewood, a non-place already fading from existence.

One Eighty

MJG Science Fiction, Stories 3 Comments

Dray wakes up with the message light on his mobile phone flashing redly in his eyes. He rolls over on his futon, reaches out into the cold, and pulls it under the covers, flicks it open. Time is 11:00, 2 hours ‘til work. Checks the last message, sees it’s from his girlfriend, and plays it back. It’s not what he expects. Her voice is frantic and she sounds terrified. “Dray,” she cries, connection hissing fuzzily. “Dray, you have to get here, I’m going crazy, there’s a, argh! (thudding booms), man at the door, remember I told you, he’s trying to …

Ueno’s Masahiro Tatematsu

MJG Heaven Artists, Japan 7 Comments

Masahiro Tatematsu is another heaven artist like Yukinko Akira, regularly putting out a unique and innovative street-entertainment product that had to pass multiple auditions to get through. He is a self-styled bicycle percussionist, playing  a motley assortment of xylophones, mini drums, cymbals, castanets, a Tanzanian thumb piano, tambourines and more, all of which fold up and fit into the panniers on his bike. While performing he syncs these instruments together with an erudite patter explaining the blues scale as he plays it, or the African scale, or what jazz syncopation is. Masahiro Tatematsu.

Tokyo’s vast underground temple-drains: the G-Cans

MJG Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 15 Comments

The G-Cans Underground Temple in Saitama is probably the most massive underground flood management system in the world- comprised of 100s of kilometers of tunnels up to 50 meters underground connecting 5 vast silos and one immense water tank: The Temple. The complex spans 6.3km between Showa in Tokyo and Kasukabe in Saitama, with the power to pump 200 tons of water per second into the Edogawa river. Wow. Image from here.

Relics of WW2- the Japanese station that ordered Pearl Harbour

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tochigi 13 Comments

On December 2nd 1941, just 6 days before the Japanese opened hostilities in the Pacific War against the Allies by bombing Pearl Harbour, a coded signal went out from the Kemigawa Transmission Station in Tochigi to all the Empire of Japan’s military forces: 1208, or CLIMB MT. NIITAKA 1208; the order to join the war. CLIMB MT. NIITAKA referred to Niitaka mountain, the tallest in all of the then-Japanese Empire (now Taiwan). 1208 referred to the date of commencement- the 8th of December Japan time, the day the Japanese surprise-attacked Hawaii. Kemigawa front face.

Tanglewood

MJG Fantasy, Stories Leave a Comment

On the southernmost fringe of the tanglewood forest, beyond the kingdoms of men, in the midst of a purgatorial wasteland blighted with perpetual winter and savaged by endless storms, there stands an inn where the battle-lines between sanity and madness meet. Here, where soul-consuming demons walk freely as men, where nightmares parade their garish hues like common whores of the street, where only the boldest or the most benighted seek to tread, our story is enacted. Image from here.   Focus on your writing while you make money using the video poker dictionary , video poker software , video poker …

Nihombashi Kimono 2016-ers

MJG Japan, People / Culture 5 Comments

Every year on the playground of a primary school in Nihombashi hordes of kimono-wearing ladies gather for a kimono festival photo-shoot, bunching up tight and staring up to the sky with a fist raised in the classic ‘ganbarimasu!’ yes-we-can pose to be shot by swarming paparazzi on the rooftops above. This time I moved amongst those authentic PRESS journalists like a cuckoo in the finch’s nest, subterfuging my way up the scaffolding to look down on the gathered kimonoistas, finally able to see their bunching this year overtaken by the Tokyo 2016 Olympic bid. Tokyo 2016.