Small Pox Isolation Ward Haikyo

MJG Haikyo, Hospitals, Izu 15 Comments

Small Pox was once an incurable killer, claiming around 400 million deaths in the first half of the 20th century before its eradication.  The people who contracted it were likely to die, and had to be removed from the general population lest they spread the infection to others. The Small Pox Isolation Ward Haikyo set into a then-remote Izu cliff-side was one such place they’d be banished to, to endure the agonies of their disease while lying on a straw mattress in a wooden shack, looking out to the sea and waiting to die.

Two Hearts

MJG Stories, Surreal 6 Comments

He held the FridgePak plastic bag close up to his eyes, but he couldn’t see anything special. He saw no spark of life, no memory of love, nor any trace of meaning. He just saw the pulp of a heart. Liquidized. Red and purple, twisted through with fragments of yellow fat, white sinew, the strings and cords that held the organ together. Floating in the melted mushy blur. He squeezed the bag. He felt the texture of ground meat, some gristly chunks remaining. He felt the fluid rush of blood, filling the bag’s vacuum, the indentations of his fingers, his …

Put the Shout From a Soul

MJG Japan, Japangrish 4 Comments

I was instantly hooked by this T-shirt, on the train journey back from Izu where I and SY recently went to get sun-burned. This guy was chilling in the most lackadaisical manner, almost as if he knew I was trying to get a shot of his back. Wow, that is cool. Look at his back, what a great message. I cannot count the times I have WANTED to put the shout from a soul on heavy voice, and to send, but because I didn’t know how to do it, I couldn’t. That’s a little bit like when Abraham Lincoln used …

Waseda HDRs

MJG Uncategorized 5 Comments

As you’ll know if you’ve been following my recent haikyo explorations, I’m getting interested in the technique of HDR for photography; essentially the process of splicing together several photographs of the same thing (using software that does it all for you) so both light and dark parts of the shot come out even. Here’s one such HDR from my balcony, shot with my Tamron 17-50mm, at 17mm. You may also have gathered that I sold my zoom lens (not useful for haikyo) and invested in an ultra-wide zoom, a Tokina 11-16mm. I haven’t used it for haikyo yet, but decided …

Step into your Virgin Grave

MJG Japan, Japangrish 2 Comments

I know everybody out there longs for a Virgin Grave. Who would want a used grave, a second-hand grave? Chu-ko Haka, as they say in Japanese. How much better for a Playfull Mind is a brand-new Virgin Grave, sharp-cut, deep, loamy, fresh. Mmmmm. Imagine stepping into your Virgin Grave as a dead person and just KNOWING you were in good and capable grave-hands? I know it’s what my dead body would want.

Okawa Grand Hotel Haikyo, Izu

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Izu 13 Comments

The Okawa Grand Hotel in Izu was remarkable for the perfectly clean, skimmed and filtered swimming pool set between its two tropically ruined buildings. Shut down for at least twenty years but still plastered with signs to rent or sell, the owners clearly still have high hopes for it. In every room you can hear the lapping of the sea on the rocky beach. As we left, a gang of kids moved in to use the pool.

Sir Clowdishley and the Sea

MJG Fantasy, Stories 4 Comments

His name was Sir Clowdishley. He was once a royalty man, an astronomer to the king. He surveyed great kingdoms of heaven and charted the progress of the stars. He named whole galaxies after his two children and wife, but his family were now all dead, outlived by their celestial counterparts, lost to the sea. He stalked the ocean, walking the shores of England’s beaches, from Land’s End in the north to John O’Groats in the south. He lived off tubers and seaweed, jellyfish he found rotting on the sand, husks of old cod half-desiccated in the salty winds. He …

Kids Beer

MJG Food / Drink, Japan 13 Comments

I’ve always said more things should have beer in them. Beer is after all one of the 5 food groups, along with rye, barley, gin, and malt liquor. Sometimes sure the product people get it right, with Beer Candy, Vegetable Beer, and Beer flavored Kit Kats, but I often wish they’d just try a bit harder, go the whole hog, really commit, and inject beer into more of the things that we love. When will we have beer medicine? When will we have beer tobacco? When will we have beer books that are written in beer? Here from the sunny …

Faded glory of the Heian wedding hall

MJG Burned, Churches / Shrines, Haikyo, Ibaraki 8 Comments

The ruined Heian Wedding Hall in Ibaraki prefecture is a far cry from the Akeno Gekijo Strip Club that preceded it. Here was a wholly wholesome building, built for the profession and binding of love’s vows, decorated in the most tasteful manner with Adam and Eve mounted on winged steeds in stained-glass friezes. Despite graffiti artists lending a flurry of darker images, amongst them switch-blade toting junkies and rabid giant spiders scuttling over everything, we both felt quite at peace while strolling the large complex’s moss-carpeted corridors and open-sky halls.

Sky Painter

MJG Fantasy, Stories 2 Comments

The Sky Painter lived on the mountain and painted the sky.  He painted it blue for blue skies, and white and grey for clouds.  At night he painted it black, with white for all the stars.  When the sun rose he dashed its arcing yellow lines across the heavens, and as it sank he brushed it orange and gold over the horizon. He knew he had to paint the sky.  If he didn’t paint the sky, who would? Nobody would.  He knew that.  So he stayed, and he painted the sky. He lived on the mountaintop alone.  Sometimes it was …