Odaiba Cannonades

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 1 Comment

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 …

Fuchu US Airbase Heyday

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 164 Comments

Since publishing my 2008 explore and photos of the abandoned US Air Force base in Fuchu, Japan, it’s been one of the most popular pages on this site. See it here. It has attracted hundreds of veteran airmen from the 50’s onwards to comment and reconnect with old friends and colleagues- some of whom at times sent me photos from …

Tokyo’s Urban Battleship

MJG Architecture, Featured Story, Haikyo, Japan, Residential, Tokyo-to 15 Comments

Tokyo’s urban battleship glides through the ever-changing cityscape like a predatory shark- its mad crescent fin stocked with slate-grey torpedoes and radar foils- hunting out fresh prey for the saw-blade teeth ratcheted down its flat-iron side. Built in 1970 by the retired Imperial Navy general Watanabe Youji, the urban battleship building (GUNKAN) was apparently inspired by a World War 2 …

SunLovePrice Haikyo

MJG Entertainment, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 8 Comments

At the time of the Great Tohoku Earthquake in March I was teaching at a composer’s office 10 minutes west of Shinjuku. During the quake and aftermath it was a bit crazy, but soon things calmed down and it was time to go home. All the trains were stopped so I started walking, and on the journey ran across this …

One-armed Ultraman

MJG Entertainment, Haikyo, Statues / Monuments, Tokyo-to 3 Comments

Ultraman is a Japanese icon, guardian of Tokyo against all kinds of horrible invaders since 1966. His branding can be found everywhere, from plastic bento lunchboxes to bikes, cell-phone straps, and kids’ ride. My buddy Scott was out walking the streets near his home in northern Tokyo and stumbled across this one-armed Ultraman. It doesn’t really qualify as a haikyo …

Baba’s abandoned curiosity shop

MJG Entertainment, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 29 Comments

The old curiosity shop in Takadanobaba has been a mystery to me for a long time. I first spotted it passively years ago, before I lived near here, most likely on a trip to the Blue Parrot second-hand book store. It’s built in red-brick, or at least the facade is, and instantly stands out when surrounded by a street lined …

Tama Lake Ruins in Black and White

MJG Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 1 Comment

The Ruins on Tama Lake changed little since the last time I came to visit. Perhaps the wooden huts of the Red Blossom restaurant have canted a little further towards collapse, and the walls of the Akasaka love hotel were holed and splintered a little more. A new fence has gone up, with warnings of CCTV cameras watching 24/7. Wires …

Hotel Queen Haikyo

MJG Hotels / Resorts, Sex Industry, Tokyo-to 3 Comments

The Hotel Queen is another abandoned love hotel on the banks of Lake Tama. I first saw it the first time I went out there to shoot the Akasaka and the Red Blossom about 2 years ago. At the time it looked semi-abandoned, with a chain roping it off. I tentatively strode over the chain only to be blasted by …

Overgrown Toyota at Tama Lake

MJG Cars, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 10 Comments

The last time I went to the Akasaka Love Hotel on Lake Tama was November 2008. Winter was just setting in and had not yet sloughed away the summer`s ripe vegetation, meaning that this gorgeous neglected Toyota was mostly buried in foliage. I took a few shots of it scraggled with greenery but they didn`t stand out. Now winter reveals …

Ruins of Tokyo’s Apocalypse

MJG Art Ruins, Fantasy Ruins, Tokyo-to 7 Comments

Tokyo has been ravaged. It was meteors or earthquakes, tsunami or nuclear holocaust, though the cause hardly matters- no one’s left alive to remember it anyway. The apocalypse came and killed everyone, leaving only bits of our cities behind. Tokyo Genso is the site of a Japanese game artist who is passionate about the apocalypse. His site features huge amounts …

The death of Metabolism- the New Sky Biru

MJG Haikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 16 Comments

The New Sky Building in Shinjuku belongs to the stable of architecture known as Metabolism, a 1970’s movement in Japan to create utilitarian, utopian, bolt-on and off structures that can change and evolve as needed.  It was a grand-sounding vision that never went mainstream, as Metabolist buildings were often a nightmare to construct and far too much effort to actually …