Odaiba Cannonades

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 3 Comments

160 years ago, Japan and America looked at each other down the barrels of cannon. Japan was in isolation, and America (the whole world, really), wanted in. Five island forts stuffed with cannon (‘daiba’) were built across Tokyo Bay to repel foreign invasion. They were never used. The foreign invasion came, and Japan opened its doors to the world. Now …

Mizune Freighter Tracks

MJG Bridges / Roads, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 6 Comments

60 years ago the Mizune freighter line built one of the biggest dams in Japan. The line was specially constructed in the 1940s, with some 20 tunnels and bridges snaking through the west Tokyo mountains, to ferry supplies from the sleepy hiker’s village of Okutama to the construction site for the Ogochi dam on Okutama lake. It must have cost …

The ancient glare of Angkor Thom

MJG Haikyo, World Ruins Leave a Comment

Angkor Thom is a behemothic ruin, 9 square kilometers of temples, lakes, terraces, and dusty faded glory all bound in by a ten-foot wall. Much of it now is paved with roads built by the South Koreans, the Chinese, the Indians. Our guide happily explained the times and dates each country came along and chipped in their bit to keep …

The sun-bleached ruin of Angkor Wat

MJG Cambodia, Haikyo, World Ruins 1 Comment

Angkor Wat is the last, greatest remnant of the ancient Khmer empire, a sprawling citadel and temple complex built nearly 1000 years ago, now resplendent in ruins. Doubtless you’ve heard of it. It’s the biggest tourist attraction in Cambodia, with thousands of visitors parading through its grand porticoes every day, clad in day-glo Crocs and local-bought elephant-pattern pants, mooning over …

Ruins of the Russian Village Revisited

MJG Haikyo, Niigata, Ruins / Haikyo 22 Comments

4 years ago I went to the Russian Village– one of the grandest failed theme parks in Japan, abandoned 20 years ago and left to fend for itself. On that first trip I camped overnight in a still-pristine hotel room, admired the mint-condition giant mammoth sculptures, and was even able to loot a few tatty matroska dolls from a (mostly …