No, not the game. This particular Monkey Island (‘Sarushima’ in Japanese) is located off the coast of Yokosuka near the mouth of Tokyo Bay, and during World War II served as an artillery battery and first point of defense of the Japanese homeland. After the war the anti-aircraft guns were removed, a ferry service began, the beach was opened to tourists, and walking trails were prepared around the various defensive bunkers carved into the rock. Now it’s a great spot for a BBQ and some sun-bathing. Long walkway troughs cut through the jungle and rock.
After the grand luck of Dom and Liduina contacting me for a wedding haikyo shoot a few months back, I figured I couldn`t bank on the same thing happening again. If I wanted to shoot models in haikyo more, I`d have to get out there and find them myself. So I put out a casting call, not sure if anyone would reply. Well, several did, which was great. The first I organized a shoot with was Sara, at the Keishin Hospital.
Often ruins have a few tags littering their walls, messages and names left by some dumb-asses in their bid for eternal glory. Scrawls, defacements, junk.
Keishin Hospital was once a pre-eminent site of super high-tech radiology equipment, leading the charge as Japan raced into the modern era. Some 2o years ago that dream fell by the way-side though, and the place was left to the vandals. They tore out everything that could be torn out, leaving only a few metal fixtures too heavily stapled down. Then came the taggers, followed by the true grafitti artists, and the young people shooting documentaries, and the cosplay kids playing truant from school. Keishin has a whole other life, now that it’s dead. In this part we’ll look mostly …
The remnants of the Sun Hills Hotel in Kanagawa lay hunkered down and spartan on the banks of Sagamiko lake, the blank concrete foundation of a proud edifice that never once opened to the public, hosting only the village’s truanting kids and vandals before it was unceremoniously torn down. Now just its 2-story underground car park remains, haunted by chirping crickets and families of hikers on sight-seeing breaks. Sun Hills car park.
The Hotel Royal haikyo is the grand-daddy of all love hotels, streaking 7 empty stories up into the big blue sky, a giant vermillion flag on the lakeshore calling out to all and sundry in a mega-watt alto- ‘Need some discreet time alone with your loved one? Come on down!’
Deep within the solid rock of the Negishi Plateau in Yokohama, spreading beneath the old race-course Grandstand and Yokosuka Naval Base, lies a twisting warren of hidden World War 2-era caverns. Once filled with ancient munitions, bustling troops, and rooms full of military dossiers, they now rest in lonely silence, unexplored for up to 20 years, their secrets stopped up behind entrances back-filled with avalanche scree and trash, overgrown by thick vines in loamy earth, and walled off with sheets of blast-concrete.
The Toyo Bowl in Kanagawa was a mammoth venture when first dreamed up, the second biggest bowling alley in the world behind the Nagoya Toyo Bowl, featuring 108 bowling lanes spread over 3 huge floors, along with a large pachinko hall, restaurants, gift shops, arcades, and a creche. It boasted state-of-the-art ‘natural lighting’ and ‘beautiful blue carpets’ on all floors. It encapsulated the vaulting ambition of the mid-Bubble era, when anything was possible and bigger always meant better. Now the ragged carpets, stripped lanes, trashed pachinko hall and scattered broken balls tell the story of how well that ambition fared.
The gutted shell of the abandoned Keishin Hospital stands blank and ghostly on the rural Kanagawa sky-line. It once housed state-of-the-art radiology and cancer departments, now the only pieces of equipment remaining are the chairs bolted to the floor in the dentist’s office. Up close its walls are a vibrant cacophony of ever-changing grafitti, its forecourt a wash of shattered glass and empty spray-paint cans, its encircling car park overgrown with a thick smog of twisted brown underbrush. All record of its previous life has been erased by decades of vandalism, theft, and neglect.
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