Ruins of the USAF base Camp Drake in Japan

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Saitama 319 Comments

Camp Drake was a joint US Army/Air Force base in Saitama, active until the 1970`s. It contained a hospital which handled troops coming out of Vietnam and also a communications array. Now about half of it remains, an overgrown jungle with only a few remaining buildings set back behind several layers of fencing. The other half has been eaten up by parks and a junior high school. Tanks in a shed by the commissary.

Izu roadside haikyo

MJG Haikyo, Izu, Restaurants Leave a Comment

Here`s a haikyo I chanced upon almost a year ago in Izu, while haikyoing with Mike (and Jason?). It`s not particularly awesome in any way,  it just has some nice peeling red and white paint, and a cool Coke fridge. Front yard.

story craft #7 The Engine of Fiction

MJG Story Craft 4 Comments

Everybody knows, it`s about conflict. Without conflict a story has no reason to be, it`s just a pretty picture, a post-card. I think about this a lot with regard to the Dawn book I`m working on. I went to a writing group on Sunday and took along three different potential opening scenes. They each belong to three separate drafts, and are different ways of presenting the beginning of the tale. I asked the 5 other members in the group to let me know which one got their attention the most, and why. Of course I would hoping they`d choose the …

The Servants

MJG Book / Movie Reviews Leave a Comment

This is more like it. After traisping through the self-indulgent waffle-house that was The Lonely Dead, I felt ready to give up on Michael Marshall Smith, but The Servants proves he’s still got it.
That said, I`ve got some pretty hefty reservations to lodge.

story craft #6 Building the Maze

MJG Story Craft 1 Comment

I was writing several scenes (of my first Dawn book) set in a graveyard recently, trying to get across the wealth and variety of gravestone types within it, but not really succeeding. I got frustrated and disappointed. If I couldn`t show-case the bizarre variety of an ancient and storied graveyard, how could I expect to sell people on a whole fantasy world?

story craft #5 Make Them Real

MJG Story Craft 2 Comments

I just saw the movie Kickass, and loved it. Of all the superhero movies out there, it was the one that most made me actually get up on the edge of my seat as the main guy goes into battle. He seems real, and it seems like he could get hurt. He of course does, quite a lot.
At the same time, you`ve got Hit Girl bouncing around like your traditional super hero, just about impervious to damage, killing dudes in their slews. The film-makers get to have their cake and eat it too.

How is it done?

Japan’s abandoned Jungle theme park #1 outside

MJG Haikyo, Izu, Shizuoka, Theme Parks 18 Comments

Japan’s Jungle Park is an immense abandoned green house, an indoor botanical garden sheltering nearly 10,000 square meters worth of sweltering tropical habitat. It was built in 1969, and its peak of operation came in 1973 when it received 750,000 visitors per year. By 2003 over 10 million people had passed through its vast and humid acreage, but its facilities were showing their age and fewer and fewer people were coming each year. It was closed in the fall of 2003, and has lain fallow there like a giant white tent for the past seven years. Jungle Park`s main entrance.