Ruins of the USAF base Camp Drake in Japan

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Saitama 219 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 …

Burnt Down House haikyo

MJG Burned, Haikyo, Residential, Saitama 5 Comments

When I went on the wedding haikyo shoot a few weeks back we stumbled upon this burnt down house. Normally I`d bypass it in favor of the target- in this case we were looking for the Hume factory, but that turned out to be demolished. We had some time to kill, so after looking into the nearby Pachinko Hall we …

Haikyo Pachinko Hall

MJG Entertainment, Haikyo, Saitama 5 Comments

Last week`s haikyo wedding shoot at the Volcano Museum was supposed to only be the first of two locations. We scarpered out of there at double-time to make it to the Hume Cement Factory in Saitama, a place I visited only 5 months ago, along with fellow haikoyists Mike, Mike, and Lee. Liduina would don a second outfit she`d brought …

Memories of Nichitsu 4. The Dr.’s brain in a jar

MJG Ghost Towns, Haikyo, Hospitals, Saitama 26 Comments

Nichitsu is a tiny little village huddled in a chilly mountain pass, far from the nearest population center. Come an emergency the Doctor’s office would have been the only ER, so its few rooms were crammed full of equipment, now forgotten and lying in shadow: rusted iron operating tables, toppled X-ray machinery, birthing stirrups lying in puddles of water and …

Nichitsu 3. A fire truck in the ghost town

MJG Ghost Towns, Haikyo, Saitama 5 Comments

Nichitsu Ghost Town stretches for around a kilometer, from the semi-functioning mine shacks at the mouth of the last tunnel, up past the Junior High School, the heavily dilapidated wooden apartments, and buildings stacked off the steep hillside on concrete supports, round a hill of white lime-chips, past the Doctor`s office hidden somewhere in the thicket of buildings, up to …

Nichitsu 2. Elementary school in a Ghost Town

MJG Ghost Towns, Haikyo, Saitama, Schools 16 Comments

At the dead-end of a blast-hewn road snaking up through the mountains north of Tokyo, imprisoned by sheer moss-rocked walls looming overhead like rotting Gothic colonnades, the Nichitsu mine ghost town lies in wait, wreathed in a low mist and perennially dusk-lit by the overhanging crags. It hums with a crippling weight of nostalgia, of enfolded memories playing out again …

Japan’s ropeway that died

MJG Haikyo, Ropeways, Saitama 9 Comments

Scrunched up behind thickets of winter-boned brush off the banks of a man-made lake, the last remaining carriage of the Okutama Ropeway hangs slack in its berthing perch. Once a completely false folly, a gaudy ride of a few minutes across a narrow artificial lake, taking in the view of TNT-blasted canyon walls, unnecessary ringing roads, the bridge beside it …

Demolished remnants of the Tai-Hei-Yo Cement Plant

MJG Haikyo, Mines / Factories, Saitama 6 Comments

The Tai-Hei-Yo Cement Plant Haikyo in Chichibu, Saitama, was once one of Japan’s biggest producers of concrete, a massive complex woven through with miles of piping, studded with huge firing kilns, silos, 30-story smoke-stacks and immense clinker vats. Throughout its 50 year plus history it stripped the mountains around it bald of limestone, filled the skies with thousands of kilograms …