Volcano Museum 5. Documentary

Mike Grist Featured Story, Gunma, Haikyo, Haikyo in the Media, Museums 9 Comments

Well over a year ago now a Belgian film-maker called Jeroen Van der Stock got in touch with me about making a haikyo / ruins documentary in Japan. He had the concept but seemingly no solid structure at that time, so we met up for coffee to discuss ideas. I went along because it seemed a kick- I’ve had other meetings about haikyo books and TV shows that fell through quickly- so I didn’t have high expectations. A year and a half later, Jeroen has pulled the first stage of his haikyo documentary vision together. He got funding from a …

Ruin of the White Root Mine

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo, Mines / Factories 5 Comments

The White Root mine is old, so old that only the faintest outlines of its bones remain. Squint hard and you might see fragments of its ribcage scattered over the hillside, parts of a cracked skull just visible through the topsoil. Once it must have been huge, swathing up and down the valley and pumping out smoke, now there’s just a single slurry run and a few walls left. I went there ages ago, on the same road trip that took me to the Gunma Ski Lift, Hume Cement Factory, and back to the Asama Volcano Museum. Some kind of …

Volcano Museum 4. Haikyo Wedding

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo, Models, Museums 23 Comments

I`ve been thinking for a long time about shooting models in a haikyo. I bought a flash (SB-600), a flash-stand, and even took a lesson on flash, but still the thinking remained thinking and not shooting. I had no desire to go on a practise shoot that wasn`t in a haikyo, but I was too shy to take a model solo to a haikyo without any experience. Quite a quandary. In the end the answer came to me, in the form of Dom. Dom found my site and got in contact about his vision for a wedding photo shoot; him, …

Volcano Museum 3. Return in HDR

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo, Museums 22 Comments

This was my second time to go to the Asama Volcano Museum. The first was on my first haikyo road trip back in 2007- back when I was packing only a cameraphone to shoot with and cared far more about the explore than I did about the photography.

Volcano Museum 2. History

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo, Museums 8 Comments

The Mt. Asama Volcano Museum was a mould-breaking facility opened in 1967, offering insight into the life-cycle of the most active volcano in Honshu (the main island of Japan), and into the area of volcanic rock surrounding it known as Oni Oshi Dashi (exiled demons).

Bones of a Gunma Ski Lift

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo, Ropeways 9 Comments

The Gunma ski lift was the glace cherry on a sumptuous cake of weekend haikyo. We’d headed up into the northernmost quadrant of Gunma seeking a mine/factory, one of the last few within a reasonable drive of Tokyo.

Jason Collins’ haikyo show

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo 4 Comments

Back in December of 2007 I rented a car with 2 friends and we set off into the mountains of Gunma on our first haikyo trip. It kicked off a boom in interest in haikyo that has led to articles decrying us, book chapters written by us, articles showcasing our photos, and now a gallery exhibition by one of the core 3 that set out together in 2007.

Volcano Museum 1. First Road Trip

Mike Grist Gunma, Haikyo, Museums 7 Comments

Up in the mountainous north-west corner of snowy Gunma prefecture, at the foot of the once-active volcano Mt. Asama, lies a beautifully weathered abandoned volcano museum. Ruptured by avalanche scree and scoured by the harsh winter winds rushing down the valley, it stands as a lone sentinel guarding the jagged granite slopes leading up to the volcano’s cone. Its paintwork has all flaked away revealing the white bone of plaster and the black of slate-brick, its windows and railings lie in broken shards at its feet, dislodged in the earthquake tremors shot out by the great dormant volcano it rests …