Long-gone memories of the BE lab

Mike GristHaikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Shizuoka 6 Comments

The BE labs haikyo in Shizuoka is mis-representing itself somewhat by posing as a lab; at best it was a spa-resort for people who worked at a lab, somewhere far off and long ago. It sits in the crook of some distinctly un-Japanese rolling hills, looking rather like a bunker with its zig-zag concrete front-eave and fence-wires on the flat-slab roof.


Lukas had a good time mocking us on the entry to this ‘lab’. We pulled up in his little car (already damaged from a run-in with some steel fencing while looking for a now-demolished hospital) around mid-day, the clouds slinking gloomily overhead, sometimes hssing out a fine misty rain.

“What could this be?” mused Lukas, holding an old Aquarius bottle out before him, hand quizzically stroking his chin. “It seems so strange, and ghostly, I wonder what the history of it is?”

He stowed the ‘artifact’ and hurried off to inspect a pile of garbage by the side of the ruptured car park. “Look at this!” he enthused, holding up an old newspaper. “Where did all this stuff come from? What’s it doing here?”

Mike and I laughed.

It was Lukas’ first time on a haikyo, and he very graciously agreed to do all the driving (in his car), and charge us nothing for the pleasure. What a gentleman.

Inside the BE labs was an excellent run-down lobby, with a sunken ping-pong waiting area that let in a lot of irregularly dripping water. We split off to our explorations.

I went straight to the roof, where there was not much to see. I entertained myself tossing fallen branches onto the tin-rooves below, hoping I might ‘freak out’ Mike or Lukas as they were exploring. I didn’t hear any screams though, so assume I failed. Next time!


After that disappointment I worked my back down. In a second floor room I came across something quite astonishing- a brightly plumaged bird simply sitting on the inside windowsill, looking at me. I held my breath, needlessly changing my 50mm lens for an 18-50mm lens thinking I’d get a better zoom. Ha, of course the max on both is 50mm. With the zoom then maxed out (as it always was), I proceeded to zoom by foot, and the bird weirdly held its ground. Each step closer I took I thought- OK, he’s about to fly off, any second, any second.

But he didn’t. I was able to get right up into his face, snapping from virtually zero range, and he hardly budged. Only when I backed away slowly did he decide to take off, our photo session finished. Wow.


In a futon cupboard in one of the rooms there was a skull and skuzzy fur, from perhaps a crow or maybe a cat or dog. Back down in the lobby I bumped into a couple of old guys- they chatted at me in quick Japanese which I understood a fraction of. I think the older of the two either used to work at the ‘lab’ or take his holidays there. I tried to ask him a few questions about it but whatever he said in return I couldn’t really follow. Mike and Lukas both bumped into these chaps a little later- Mike comments on it humorously on his site here.


Things drew to a close fairly quickly, though Mike took the opportunity to tell me how I always ‘have to take longer than everyone else’ basking in the glow of a haikyo. Hmm, I suppose true. It just seems to me wrong to hurry through. Even after I’m done exploring and taking photos, I feel I should linger a bit longer, some weird way to ‘pay my respects’.


Anyway, we got done, and hurried off in search of another haikyo. We ended up with the Rojin Home I told you about last week.

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BE labs haikyo from Michael John Grist on Vimeo.


Location – Shizuoka

Entry – Off the highway and walk straight in.

Highlights – The bird that just stood there while I got right up in his face to shoot him, totally bizarre. Lukas clowning around.


You can see all MJG’s Ruins / Haikyo explorations here.

Comments 6

  1. Nice photos Mike. I especially like the upended chair one.

    It was funny to see those names on the blackboard. I remember Tim writing them when I was taking pictures of the chairs in the corner.

  2. Seeing the bird in the video made the bird look fake. Is it confirmed as real?

    These leisure places are build with so much horrible concrete, so hard looking, not a place I could relax in. I noticed it right off.

    I suggest setting your camera in video mode up on the gorillapod up near the ceiling and don’t tell the others. Capture some true candidness.

  3. Post

    Mike- Thanks, almost couldn’t believe the bird at first.

    Lee- Cheers, and I wondered if you might like the chair one, it has darkness and depth of field, which I’d wager you’re a fan of.

    Tornadoes- Yup, lots of clubs.

    Can- Thanks, and probably too scared now I think about it. It only flew away after I had retreated. It may be that I was blocking the only way out, the only open window, but hadn’t realized it at the time.

    Jason- Hmm, a difficult thing to confirm. Lukas was there and I showed him the room where it had been, so unless I brought the bird in my bag and hoaxed everyone, it must have been real.

    Concrete, right, a very popular building method here. Show the bones!

    Gorillapod in the ceiling is a great idea, cool angles, but to spy on the others? I’d just have to cut most of what they said anyway…

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