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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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, …

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 …

Burned ruins of Japan’s only strip club

MJG Haikyo, Ibaraki, Sex Industry 11 Comments

The Akeno strip club haikyo is something of an oddity in Japan, as the only actual strip club I’ve seen here. Of course there are similar venues; hostess bars, soaplands, love hotels, but they each cater to a slightly different crowd and provide a slightly different flavor of tawdry service. To find a straight-up strip club complete with central podium, …

My Kids

MJG Science Fiction, Stories 5 Comments

“It happened 2 years ago,” he says. “What did?” Silence. “You don’t remember?” “Did I ever know?” Silence. Reflection. “I don’t think you ever did.” “Then that’s good.” “Yes. It is.” Image from here.

The sadness of Namegawa Island

MJG Chiba, Haikyo, Theme Parks 33 Comments

Namegawa Island is a big failed bird theme park, one that up until fairly recently held its own against the twin Disneys standing astride the Chiba peninsula, past which any bird-aficionados would have to run the gauntlet to reach it. It sits perched on a precarious jag of forested coastline, completely blockaded from the mainland by a wide swath of …

Alegria’s Hair

MJG Fantasy, Stories 5 Comments

The first time Tarragon Ray saw the giant Alegria, he was a baby. He was lying in his father’s arms, staring goggle-eyed up at the clouds and the big blue sky. He could hear the comforting crack of his father’s whip, and the low braying of their humpback pony as it strained against its hauliers. He could feel the joggle …

Lost Japan

MJG Book / Movie Reviews 5 Comments

Lost Japan is an ode to an idealized, forgotten, and headily cultural past, written by an inveterate literati to whom pure artistic beauty is one of the loftiest goals imaginable. In this book we see the gentle beginnings of bugbears for the author that in time would evolve into the strident arguments of his masterwork- ‘Dogs and Demons: The Fall …