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 along, a kind of kimono, and we`d explore a whole other kind of shoot.
What we found instead.
We turned up at the zone where the Hume Factory should have been, but I couldn`t find it. I rechecked all my maps, thinking `I brought us here once succesfully, how could I have lost it?` I began to feel worried, as the crew in the van were waking up and all wondering `where is it, are you sure you know where it is?`
We drove in circles for about 10 minutes, scrutinizing the skyline for cement towers, checking the Hume photos on my site against nearby available features. Eventually we came to the sorry conclusion- it was gone. The entire factory had been completely demolished, with not a shred of metal or mound of earth to show for it. Where it had been was only a bare expanse, very different in profile from what I`d found the first time. We made certain by checking the old photos. An entire factory uprooted and removed in a few months.
So, instead we cast about for something else to shoot. I remembered this Pachinko hall from when we first were looking for Hume, so directed us towards it.
Shooting up the big diamond sign.
It`s a generally unremarkable ruin, but it has its charm – especially the big diamond sign. I had fun challenging the others to find a way in to the 2nd floor, of course remembering how we`d set ourselves that same challenge when we first arrived. They accomplished it.
Looking down on AC fans on the ground.
This time it was a bit different for me because I went onto the roof. There`s something very haikyo-ey about roofs anyway, whether the place is a ruin or not. I remember once walking out onto a hotel rooftop in Czechoslovakia. I was around 12 I guess, on a holiday with my Dad. I don`t remember where he was, but we had free time and I headed up to the roof. The door was open. I stepped up to the edge of the roof and looked down. It was probably over 10 stories. I felt, wow, my life is really in my hands. There`s no one up here to protect me, no fence, no locks. It was pretty thrilling.
Behind the Pachinko sign.
Does everyone know what Pachinko is? It`s basically an idiotic kind of fairground game, played to compulsive levels in Japan and ridiculously popular. Any cluster of humanity, even smaller towns, will have at least one garish pachinko hall blaring its dumb music out into the night. Inside people watch steel balls drop down through a griddle of pins. Balls that drop into the right slots earn more balls, which collect in big plastic buckets on the floor. Balls can be exchanged for prizes, which can be exchanged outside the hall itself for actual money (very simply sidestepping a law on gambling).
Pachinko halls are super noisy, and often super smoky. Serious players generally wear ear buds to cancel the noise, as the sound of several dozen screaming and clattering pachinko machines is deafening.
Anyway, this is a ruin of a pachinko hall. All the machines are gone though, leaving only a hollow interior. To see the ruin of machines, go look at the Toyo Boru.
Fuses clustered on the roof.
Bits of roof-trash.
Must have been impressive when it was lit up.
Token interior shot.
`Art` interior shot. Curtain blinds like spilled entrails…
Liduina takes a cellphone shot of mirror-pole graffiti.
You can find more ruins explorations in the galleries:[album id=4 template=compact]