Japan’s haikyo theme park Western Village (closed in 2007) takes its cowboy conceit in some unexpected directions; most interestingly of all the Wild West ghost house. Within its silent black-velveted walls we can find all manner of creepified Western stalwarts; skeletal pistoleers, death as a frontier dentist, zombified tomahawk-wielding Indians, and of course cowboys with their pants down.
Yes. There is more than one occasion of cowboys with their pants down. Each time they are displaying long and gruddy underjohns- perhaps intended to sync up with John Wayne with his fly unzipped. Maybe you can spy some of them in the video.
The piece de resistance though is of course the chap getting his tooth pulled by Death.
Death pulls a tooth, from outside.
I managed to get inside the ghost house, of course pitch black, and get up close and personal with some of the models.
Forlorn wooden tooth.
This was an uncomfortable spot to shoot from- squashed in beside Death and the wall.
Blood-spattered window from the inside out.
Ghost house mwa ha ha!
I’ve walked around in haikyo ghost-houses once or twice before, so I wasn’t too freaked out by anything in there. It was very dark of course, and there were skeletons and the like, but with a flash light in hand, and of course no power to propel the ghosts at you or make them cackle or whatnot, they’re really not very spooky. More humorous, a bit sad-looking when you can see them clearly. But of course that’s no reflection on them- they were never meant to be seen clearly.
See the GALLANTRY ride in Nara Dreamland for more examples of looking-a-bit-crappy-by-torch-light.
Exactly what is this? Creepy lady buried half in stone, in a store-room of the main ghost walk- perhaps undergoing maintenance (getting her toenails repainted?)
Also lipstick and eye shadow. Very fetching, madame.
Prospector skeleton at a party.
Grim-looking murder victim.
I guess this hand would tap its finger when it was alive.
On the outside, giant tooth, happily free of blood.
Next along, across from the Jail and Game Center, was a kind of fun-house, with oddly slanting walls and floors. Amongst all the attractions that had been blocked off, someone had staved in a few wooden boards in the door to this one. It was fun to canter around in, but not for much more than a couple of minutes.
Tilted floor. See more in the video.
Beyond the main cowboy boulevards lay a rope bridge across the ‘Rio Grande’ to MexicoLand, an area pretty spartan of cool stuff actually- though it featured a large and elaborate putt putt gold course, and at the far end a pretty stunning collection of two authentic steam train engines, and a few cars.
On the Western Village side of the Rio Grande was a bank of laser guns, while on the other an array of American flag laser targets. If you think about that it doesn’t make a lot of sense- why would cowboys shoot at American flags on the Mexico side?
Well, better not to think about it then…
Laser targets to be shot across the ‘Rio Grande’- see more in the video.
Star sensors in the flag.
First up was the giant Mexican fort, with peeling plaster and Mexican-style designs. I’ve since seen that it’s possible to get inside here- and that there are in fact several classic cars hidden away. Wow. I didn’t have a lot of time to linger and check it out though, and bypassed it in favor of getting to the far side.
Entrance fort to Mexicoland. Very rustic.
Beyond the fort were the train tracks. Several different sets actually, some for kiddie trains and some presumably for the real behemoths yet to come.
This smiley French-looking train cop keeps discipline on the rails with a sturdy truncheon.
Beyond the rails, extensive putt-putt golf.
Tee-pee putt putt golf.
A horse in the bush is worth two in the hand.
Faux waterwheel evokes feel of Mexicohttp://www.michaeljohngrist.com.
Water shooting game.
Far entrance and giant weedy car park.
Toy trains and steam trains
Start off with an awesome kids train.
This is all I expected to find at the park- the real steam trains really took my by surprise.
Then move on to the real trains.
Before the engines though, this gorgeous red caboose.
Rusted and rain-blasted.
Interior and moldy.
Now the two trains. These are real steam trains- one labeled from the Baldwin locomotive works in Philadelphia.
Real steam train controls.
Giant flaky fuselage.
And again because I love it, a second shot.
Now the video-
Next up is the final surprise from the Western Village; outside and inside Mount Rushmore.
Western Village series:
Explore more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:[album id=4 template=compact]
See a curation of world ruins in the ruins gallery.
You can also read my SF & Fantasy stories inspired by ruins.