The Yui Grand Love Hotel is an abandonment with a more sordid past than usual, if urban legend is to be believed. According to the story, a gang of bosozoku riders (noisy yakuza-ish motorcyclists) kidnapped a schoolgirl into one of its rooms, where they abused and killed her. I’ve no idea if that is true, but stories of her haunting of the place are apparently so rife that people actually queue up outside at night to go into the room where she died, to hear her ghostly wails. All in very poor taste, and again I’ve no idea if there’s any truth to it, it sounds like the kind of thing another haikyo writer might invent to jazz up an otherwise fairly normal location.
This was my first haikyo with a fellow haikyo blogger who I didn’t actually know from real life; Paul from Misuterareta. Hooking up with people from the Internets was always low on my list of intentions, but as it happened the stars aligned just so that it worked out, and to both of our benefit. We went on a Friday afternoon to check out a lead Paul had on another Hotel Royale in Chiba, supplied by his wife’s family. I rented a car, the first time to do so without someone else to fall back on as co-driver, picked up Paul and we were away.
It was all quite alright. Any concerns I had about picking up some weirdo or having an awkward few hours in the car with an unknown person faded away as Paul and I chatted our way to Chiba. It was actually a great chance to cross-pollinate some ideas- I passed on to him some recommendations of books and TV shows, while trying to make him see the error of his ways in liking the awful show Heroes. He put me onto Silent Hill the game, one of the leading titles in the ‘survival horror’ genre, which he described as just liking walking through haikyo, but with monsters.
I bought the game for Xbox 360 recently and spent a good few hours playing it. It’s pretty fun, though I die a lot which is very frustrating. I’d prefer more puzzles and story and cerebral stuff to the constant blurring of very difficult fighting, requiring me to return to save points many times. I ended up watching the movie Silent Hill, recognized just about every plot point and technique from the game, so am not sure now how much I’ll bother to play it. Still, has been a good experience, and helpful as people often compare the haikyo I go to as being ‘just like something out of Silent Hill’.
OK, onto the Yui Grand, once named the Hotel Royale. We rolled up in a love hotel block surrounded by fields. The forecourt was overgrown and blocked off with a tall but easy to climb metal fence, which we made short work of. Once inside we generally went our own way. I struggled to capture much of an interesting external shot- I think all these very recent places, built out of concrete or plaster, just do not look so good. They don’t have the same organic, actually ‘built’ look about them that older brick-built buildings in the West have. Rather than being constructed on-site to a specific plan, they often have the feel of mass produced cookie-cutter items straight off a production line, but perhaps for a few funky flourishes. There’s no point complaining about it though, it’s just the nature of construction in Japan, along with the general lack of anything old.
Look here to get some comparison. There’s no industrial mills like that here.
Into the Yui. The ground floors were mostly shredded and empty, with a few ponds I initially took to be lounging spas but Paul later confirmed to be fish ponds. There were remnants of lobby-type furniture, and at the end of the building what would have been the office, complete with the Epson Smaller Office Computer, which looked more like a full-size keyboard and stand than a computer.
Upstairs was where the bounty was, with several layers of haikyo ‘art’ daubed over the walls. I often wonder what kind of art ‘tag’ I could leave, that would add something to the location rather than just take away from it like goofy vandals do scrawling their names inexpertly in spray paint. I had a few go’s at ‘creative non-destructive interaction’, basically just posing bits of haikyo stuff in interesting and odd positions. It didn’t really take though. What I saw in the Yui, both the ‘Inochi’ (life) character and hand-prints in blood-red on wall-paintings, quite impressed me. Simple, easy, but very effective.
I’ll keep on thinking. In the mean-time, I did some post-production work on these pictures, an area I’m also looking into. Changing colors, cloning out distractions, cutting and pasting bits and pieces.
After the painted rooms there was a room that had been thoroughly ripped apart and burned. It struck me as very odd that this room alone had burnt, but the fire had not spread to the
rest of the place and brought the whole building down. I wonder if this is the room where the bad things went down, and the presence of the angered ghost caused the room to incinerate, like something out of Silent Hill?
I struggled to get good shots in this room. I compiled an HDR you can find in the gallery below, but I’m not so happy with it and that’s why it’s not in the main show-thread. I did get an interesting shot of melted metal fibres in the windowsill though.
Around that time we were about done. I looked into climbing up the tower but there was no ladder or stairs at all, so gave up. Also there was no access to the roof, so I didn’t bother with that either. We climbed the fence, got back in the car, and set out for the hidden Theme Park, Namegawa Island.
Location – Chiba.
Entry – Over a fence.
Highlights – Bloody hands on the wall, inochi, burned room.
RUINS / HAIKYO
You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here:
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