Highgate Cemetary West

MJG Churches / Shrines, Life, Ruins / Haikyo Leave a Comment

A few months back we went to Highgate Cemetary West side on a guided tour with su’s family. We had her sister and two boys staying with us in the living room for 2 weeks. The whole trip was crazy fun, unlike anything we’ve done before, except for maybe big family events when WE were the kids! How odd to be on the other side of that… Highgate West is pretty fantastic – except for the areas where they’ve been cleaning and conserving. They see their mission there as being to bring the cemetary back to its original glory. My …

Mad Mark’s Castle, Albany Bulb

MJG Abandoned Art, Grafitti, Ruins / Haikyo, USA, World Ruins 1 Comment

Mad Mark’s Castle is a glorious achievement, a hand-built faerie castle made of scavenged rebar, concrete and plaster that stands proudly atop the Albany Bulb in San Francisco Bay, offering a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Completed in 2000 and adopted ever since as an ever-changing graffiti canvas by the numerous artists haunting the Bulb, it remains a stunning piece of one-man art in itself, and the culmination of ‘Mad’ Mark (Marc)’s life’s work. Mad Mark’s Castle by Peter Merts. Mad Mark’s Castle interior (Great Hall) by Peter Merts. I’ve never been to the Albany Bulb or even …

Ruined Cartmel Farmhouse and Priory

MJG Churches / Shrines, UK Leave a Comment

Cartmel is a tiny village located at the bottom of the Lake District in the NorthWest of the UK, famous for two things- a racecourse that brings in punters nationally perhaps once a year, and L’Enclume, a Michelin-stared restaurant now dubbed the best restaurant in the uk. Also there are plenty of ruins… This past weekend I went up to Cartmel with my wife SY, firstly to attend my brother’s wedding (congratulations Joe and Vicky!) as best man, which was an excellent experience, and secondly to take a mini-holiday in the middle of nature. Cartmel stood out to us because …

The Spirit of Dreamland

MJG Theme Parks, Zine 1 Comment

Several months ago now I was contacted by a reader of my haikyo book, Ruins of the Rising Sun (now retitled Japan in Ruins), who let me know that it, along with my website, had really meant a lot to her. Now, as a writer and photographer, that really meant a lot to me. Reaching out through words and photos was a huge part of not only why I wrote that book, but also why I wrote all the individual posts on this site that contributed to it. So, I wrote back, letting her know how touched I was by …

What lies beneath …

MJG Life, Ruins Types Leave a Comment

This via weburbanist, in turn via Maskull Lasserre. “Creatures large and small seem to have eaten their way out of the confinement of everyday items like rolling pins, axes, pianos and chairs in the hands of Montreal-based artist Markus Laserre. Previously known for his incredible skulls carved into the pages of books, Lasserre now reveals unexpected life (and death) within wooden objects.” Check out the whole article and more pictures at weburbanist. MJG says- I love this, especially the artist’s coat hangars with the wooden skin stripped back and the underlying bones showing. Yes. Show me the true reality of …

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 three of those islands are gone, incorporated into recent land developments. Two remain, one preserved, the other conserved as a habitat for birds. But why were they built at all? Why was Japan so afraid of letting foreigners in to …

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 millions to blast those tunnels and build all those bridges. Still, the line was abandoned after completion, and now remains high above the still-operational road to the dam, like a hidden super-highway for local fauna. A concrete bridge along the …

Fuchu US Airbase Heyday

MJG Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 203 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 the Base’s heyday to include in a heyday page. This is that page. Thanks to 4 airmen in particular- Carl Lindberg, Cliff Cockerill, Bill Lambert, Dale Lingenfelter, and Donn Paris for taking the trouble to scan and send the photos …

Nara Dreamland Heyday

MJG Haikyo, Heyday, Nara, Theme Parks 9 Comments

Nara Dreamland, Japan, was Asia’s first Disneyland clone- opened in 1961 and continuing operation until as recently as 2006. Over that 45-year span millions of people were entranced by its mimicked delights- the Matterhorn mountain, the fairytale castle, Main Street, etc… Even now many thousands are still entranced by Dreamland abandoned, as its rides grow dusty and weeds shoot up through its empty concrete boulevards. Some of those thousands have left comments on my main Dreamland page– sharing their memories, including several veterans who passed through US bases in Japan in the 60’s and went to Dreamland on R & …

After the conflagration: a ruined Tokyo dormitory

MJG Haikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 21 Comments

In 2007 the Seika Dormitory in central Tokyo went up in flames. The roof was burnt away and flames roared up the building’s old stairways and licked at rooms full of possessions, melting and burning some unrecognizably, leaving others coated in a thick mask of sticky black ash. Skeletal roof girders remain. Did anyone die in the Dormitory fire? I don’t know. I hope not, but so many of the rooms were left with so much stuff that seemed still in good-ish condition (heaps of books, vinyl records, clothes, diaries, photo albums) that I have to wonder. The dormitory was …