Remnants of the US Air Force Base in Tachikawa, Japan

Mike Grist Haikyo, Military Installations, Tokyo-to 627 Comments

The abandoned US Air Force (USAF) base in Tachikawa is a bramble-choked memento from the early days of Japanese/American war and peace. It was annexed by the USA shortly after World War II, in co-operation with the still-active nearby Japan Army (SDF) Base, then abandoned in the 1970’s as the Vietnam war came to a close. Its three huge chimneys are still visible from the exterior, brick-red and lined up like masts on a rudderless ship, slowly sinking deeper into the smothering sea of green jungle. Its airstrip now swims with weeds, and bamboo forests have grown through the foundations …

Overgrown Toyota at Tama Lake

Mike Grist Cars, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 10 Comments

The last time I went to the Akasaka Love Hotel on Lake Tama was November 2008. Winter was just setting in and had not yet sloughed away the summer`s ripe vegetation, meaning that this gorgeous neglected Toyota was mostly buried in foliage. I took a few shots of it scraggled with greenery but they didn`t stand out. Now winter reveals its pale bones, most of them broken backwards and jiggling loosely on rusted hinges. A Toyota.

The lonesome haikyo bridge at the heart of Tokyo Bay

Mike Grist Bridges / Roads, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 9 Comments

Months ago now I ventured out on a slow work day to meet fellow haikyoist and photographer Adrian Tan. He had the low-down on a haikyo in central Tokyo, something fairly unusual to stumble across, and rarely worth going to once you do- as city center ruins are all very much alike, and very much alarmed and guarded. Standouts like the New Sky Biru (also a tip-off from Adrian!) are the exception rather than the rule. But when he suggested going to shoot a haikyo bridge, my curiosity was definitely piqued. Haikyo bridge, Toyosu. Not HDR.

Ruins of Tokyo’s Apocalypse

Mike Grist Art Ruins, Fantasy Ruins, Tokyo-to 7 Comments

Tokyo has been ravaged. It was meteors or earthquakes, tsunami or nuclear holocaust, though the cause hardly matters- no one’s left alive to remember it anyway. The apocalypse came and killed everyone, leaving only bits of our cities behind. Tokyo Genso is the site of a Japanese game artist who is passionate about the apocalypse. His site features huge amounts of his often excellent art, occasionally describing his destructing technique, and show-casing his work in magazines like ‘Liberal Time’ and at otaku conventions. He takes photos around Tokyo, and via Photoshop kills all the people and ages the city through …

The death of Metabolism- the New Sky Biru

Mike Grist Haikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 16 Comments

The New Sky Building in Shinjuku belongs to the stable of architecture known as Metabolism, a 1970’s movement in Japan to create utilitarian, utopian, bolt-on and off structures that can change and evolve as needed.  It was a grand-sounding vision that never went mainstream, as Metabolist buildings were often a nightmare to construct and far too much effort to actually ‘transform’ by re-bolting. Another example is the Nakagin Capsule Hotel Tower in Shimbashi- slated for destruction. Bolt-on modules up the left side.

Tokyo’s vast underground temple-drains: the G-Cans

Mike Grist Catacombs / Caves, Haikyo, Tokyo-to 15 Comments

The G-Cans Underground Temple in Saitama is probably the most massive underground flood management system in the world- comprised of 100s of kilometers of tunnels up to 50 meters underground connecting 5 vast silos and one immense water tank: The Temple. The complex spans 6.3km between Showa in Tokyo and Kasukabe in Saitama, with the power to pump 200 tons of water per second into the Edogawa river. Wow. Image from here.

Kaze no To and Umi Hotaru, Tokyo Bay

Mike Grist Haikyo, Tokyo-to, Vaults 19 Comments

From the 25th floor lobby of the Dentsu HQ in Shiodome there’s an awesome view across Tokyo Bay, taking in Hamarikyu gardens, Odaiba, the Rainbow Bridge, and in the distance, fogged by pollution and heat distortion- a weird-looking dome-shaped structure out in the middle of nowhere. Weird dome, at 200mm zoom from the edge of Odaiba.

The Life and Death of the Sofitel Hotel

Mike Grist Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 17 Comments

The Sofitel Hotel once stood on the Ueno park skyline like a bizarrely massive chest of drawers, at once a paean to modern design aesthetics and traditional Shinto values. It was demolished in December 2006 after only 12 years of offering 83 4-star rooms in central Tokyo, leaving a weirdly-shaped gap on the city-scape viewed from Shinobazu pond. Like the cherry blossoms that frame so many shots of the Sofitel, it was only a temporary beauty, one that serves to remind us of the short time we`re here, and how any one of us can be called away at any …

The death of Nakagin, the world’s first capsule hotel.

Mike Grist Haikyo, Hotels / Resorts, Tokyo-to 26 Comments

The Nakagin Capsule Hotel Tower in Shimbashi was the first of its kind in the world; a wholly modular building comprised of a concrete stack with latch-points for pre-fabricated one-piece rooms to bolt on to, with a built-in life cycle for obsolescence and upgrade. The work was the real-life embodiment of master architect Howard Roark’s vision, a character from Ayn Rand’s seminal Objectivist book The Fountainhead- a building so perfectly self-contained, ergonomic, and integrated that it would allow the whole of humanity to live in ultimate comfort with maximum efficiency- the true victory of function over form. In reality however, …

Apartments behind the barricade- abandoned

Mike Grist Haikyo, Residential, Tokyo-to 11 Comments

The Osawa Apartments Haikyo in Sagamihara is a high-walled preserve for the recent past, shuttered in behind a plate-metal security fence 15 feet high. Outside the fence traffic races by on a highway slip road, and elementary school children play baseball in their school yard. Inside those sounds are deadened, and nothing moves but for the steady slow creep of vines, spreading like a green blanket over the cracked car parks and up the dusty building’s sides. Around the complex bicycles lie rusted in fallen racks, tangled through with weeds, and 6-mat rooms rest empty behind locked screen doors, their …