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 …
Ultraman is a Japanese icon, guardian of Tokyo against all kinds of horrible invaders since 1966. His branding can be found everywhere, from plastic bento lunchboxes to bikes, cell-phone straps, and kids’ ride. My buddy Scott was out walking the streets near his home in northern Tokyo and stumbled across this one-armed Ultraman. It doesn’t really qualify as a haikyo since it seems that it may still function, despite the missing arm and rust-coated surface. 10-yen will give your kids a ride into battle with whatever crazy alien-suited baddie the Man had to face. Scott very kindly took these photos …
Baba’s abandoned curiosity shop
The old curiosity shop in Takadanobaba has been a mystery to me for a long time. I first spotted it passively years ago, before I lived near here, most likely on a trip to the Blue Parrot second-hand book store. It’s built in red-brick, or at least the facade is, and instantly stands out when surrounded by a street lined with featureless plaster-cement buildings. It is obviously no longer in use, with papered -up windows, an overgrown window-box, and vines creeping down the sheet metal siding. Peeking inside through the veiled glass doors reveals dim shapes, one that looks like …
Haikyo Pachinko Hall
Last week`s haikyo wedding shoot at the Volcano Museum was supposed to only be the first of two locations. We scarpered out of there at double-time to make it to the Hume Cement Factory in Saitama, a place I visited only 5 months ago, along with fellow haikoyists Mike, Mike, and Lee. Liduina would don a second outfit she`d brought along, a kind of kimono, and we`d explore a whole other kind of shoot. What we found instead.
Awesome abandoned theaters in the USA
Cinema is the American cultural export, a clearinghouse genre jam-packed with iconic images, historical rewrites, and the changing face of the Western hero.
What a wrecked Bowling Alley looks like – the Toyo Bowl
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.
Relics of WW2- the Negishi Grandstand replaced by Yokosuka Navy Base
The Negishi Racecourse Grandstand in Yokohama looms like an ancient 3-headed Titan over the Negishi Plateau. It once drew crowds of thousands to cheer the racing horses from its elaborate bleachers, to wander its long hallways and admire its extravagant architecture, but that was over 80 years ago, before it was surrendered to the US military after World War Two. Now its racecourse is a floodlit naval base, its bleachers are fenced off and overgrown with ivy, its innards rest silent and dark but for the steady drip of rain-water leaking through its rotting concrete skin.