Japan’s Apocalypse Roads

Mike Grist Bridges / Roads, Featured Story, Haikyo 5 Comments

It’s fairly well known that Japan’s construction industry is running rampant. There are lots of statistics about how many more roads, airports, and dams Japan has than other developed nations. The system seems to function in the stead of social safety nets in other countries; if you can’t get a job, well, the government will put you to work building more roads. It results in a countryside covered in concrete, and thousands of rural projects that fall into dis-use, since they were never needed anyway. This is the fate awaiting them. Apocalypse Road I don’t know much about this road …

GUEST HAIKYO – Okinawa’s derelict Cactus Theme Park

Mike Grist Featured Story, Guest Haikyo, Haikyo, Okinawa, Theme Parks 1 Comment

The impetus for starting a series of Guest Haikyo posts came from a fellow haikyoist’s web-hosting disaster. Paul’s site Misuterareta (abandoned) was recently lost in toto when his blogging platform ‘Vox’ went under. It seemed a real shame, and I suggested putting excerpts of some of his content up on my site. Happily he ran with the idea, while at the same time starting the long process of getting his old posts back up in full on his new Misuterareta site. I haikyo-ed with Paul once, where we hit up Namegawa Island and the Yui Love Hotel, and he exhibited …

GUEST HAIKYO – Sun Park Hotel

Mike Grist Featured Story, Guest Haikyo, Haikyo, Yamanashi 1 Comment

Recently I was chatting to a few other haikyoists about re-featuring some of their explores on this site. The first to agree with it was Brian McDuckston, of Japan Bash and Ramen Adventures. On Japan Bash Brian explores Japan on his motorcycle, and occasionally discovers haikyo first-hand. I owe my coverage of the Hotel Royal to Brian (here’s his post, here’s my post), who spied it in passing from his bike. His site Ramen Adventures has been featured on Japanese TV and in the New York Times! We’ll start with Brian’s discovery of the Sun Park Hotel in Yamanashi. You …

Dawn and the Fetchling

Mike Grist Dawn Rising, Featured Story, Jabbler's Mons, Stories, Story Art, Writing 1 Comment

I commissioned this sketch of Dawn from an artist I found online. Dawn is the lead character in the book I’m working on now- Dawn Rising, set in my Jabbler’s Mons fantasy universe. The artist took a few passes at rendering Dawn and his scars, but in the end unfortunately gave up before finishing, so the image at right is what I’m left with. His scars look a little too much like war paint, but otherwise I think this is close to what Dawn (he is a boy, yes) looks like. I’m talking to a few other artists now about …

The Butcher’s Milk Carton Stationery

Mike Grist Featured Story, Japan, People / Culture Leave a Comment

Nogata is a little town in the west of Tokyo famous for two things: 1- The train station Gundam statue is near it in Kami-Igusa. 2- The father of the butcher down the street by the police box across from the station makes wicked stationary items out of milk cartons, and gives them away if you buy more than 600yen worth of meat. I teach a group of lovely retirees in Nogata, and one of them brought this excellent, sturdy, and very pretty desk-organizer to class to show off show and tell. She had heard about it from a TV …

Dreamland in Outdoor Japan

Mike Grist Featured Story, Haikyo, Haikyo in the Media 7 Comments

The Nov/Dec edition of Outdoor Japan features an article with photos by me about Nara Dreamland. I wrote about it on my site here, but the version I wrote for OJ was quite different, emphasizing the adventure, tension, and exhaustion much more. It’s always great to see your work in print, especially with photos. They did a beautiful job with the layout- using the silhouette parts of the Corkscrew ride for text. I’m really pleased. This page on the OJ site tells you where you can pick up your copy of the magazine.

Haikyo 2011 Calendar

Mike Grist Featured Story, Haikyo 3 Comments

My haikyo 2011 calendars have arrived! I ordered 5 for the whopping cost of about $60 (with a bulk order discount), and a shipping cost of $30 to Japan. I’m really pleased with their quality- they’re on good stiff card, the print is sharp, the design is clean, and they’re plenty big enough to scrawl all your necessary info onto. For those inclined to buy- here’s a link to the lulu page. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And if that’s not enough to convince you- check out my video walk-through of one sample calendar, giving you a great idea …

Sports World Retrospective

Mike Grist Featured Story, Haikyo, Izu, Theme Parks 30 Comments

Sports World was a large sports and water park in Shizuoka, Japan. It was opened in 1988, closed in 1996 after the company went bankrupt, lived on as a ‘haikyo’ or ruin for 14 years more years, then was demolished early in 2010. It was my favorite haikyo in Japan, so it’s sad to hear that. It was one of my earliest explores, and also one of the most exciting- as I stayed in the abandoned hotel overnight. Hearing the news put me in the mood to make a retrospective post, in memorial. While sifting through the 3 trips I …