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 little haikyo- the Sun Love Price pachinko/restaurant combo.
I dipped in, but with just my iphone camera in the dark interior I could only get blurry photos. A few weeks later I returned to shoot it properly.
I think it was pachinko or some kind of game hut because of all the gaming coins inside.
On the way to my lessons out West I take the Seibu Shinjuku line, and for years now have been amused by this ‘HAIKYO’ building:
Official HAIKYO building.
I’d resolved to go out and shoot it many times, but could never be bothered to go just to shoot a word. This time it was on the way, so worth it.
Why HAIKYO? I think it’s nothing to do with this hobby- the building is occupied by a travel agency.
Then onto SunLovePrice. My students in the area told me it was burned down about 5 years ago, and nobody bothered with it since. Was it vandal kids, or just an accident? They didn’t know. I assume nobody died, or I’m sure they would have known about that. I guess the fire service got there pretty quickly, since it’s far from completely burned down.
Its neighbor, what I assume was a restaurant- though I couldn’t get access to the ground floor to confirm.
Second floor window with photos of past company presidents hanging loosely from their frames. Remember this shot for a mirror image coming later.
The block of two, both trashed.
Vin. Ater. Tuleen 2010. Hmm…
The ground floor was totally stopped up, but the stairs up the side were wide open, with only a feeble warning rope to step over. Inside, as always, it was quiet, cool, and quite separate from the street outside. On earthquake day I felt weird to be there at all- like it was disrespectful to be ogling ruins on a day when fresh ruin was coming to Japan. Of course at that time I had no idea of the casualties the earthquake and tsunami would incur.
Partially molten umbrella, next to a skeletal umbrella.
The squat toilet is rinsed with black ash. Or I suppose it could just be a really dirty toilet.
These char-marks look like sand in a sun-baked ocean bed.
Toilet wash bowl. Did the fire smash it, or vandals coming after?
Last toilet shot, I promise.
From the second floor (first floor to Brits) I could see down to the ground floor, but it was just a tip, not something interesting to see in a photo. There was no interior staircase, so no way down. One narrow corridor, with two rooms shooting off it, one to SunLovePrice and one above the restaurant. Apartments, I guess.
Box of cassette tapes.
The floor is gone, a lone dresser stands in the shadowy corner.
Dresser and vines.
Mangled light shade. For some reason I really like this shot. Maybe for the mild background blur. and black on black.
Charred paper screens.
A polaroid dude studies. The manager?
A more interesting floor shot- boards battered through.
Final mirror matching shot- wilted company presidents upside down and looking out at the street.
I wrote about my earthquake experience in a few blogs for my hometown paper- the Bolton Evening News:
See more Japanese ruins (haikyo) in the galleries:[album id=4 template=compact]
You can also see a curation of world ruins in the ruins gallery.