Monthly Archives: March 2010
Last July I hosted the immensely popular ‘Weird things about Japan‘ blogging festival. This time, in celebration of the new focus on Gakuranman.com, I’m holding the Spring matsuri on the topic of ‘Secret Japan’. I want you to let me in on your hidden dirty little secrets!
Ruins are known in Japan as ‘Haikyo’ (廃墟) – literally ‘abandoned place’. The word has become synonymous here with Urban Exploration, or Urbex for short, which is the exploration of man-made sites usually hidden or restricted from the general public. But with such exploration comes inherent dangers.
More respectfully known as the ‘Japanese Fertility Festival’, but let’s not beat around the bush here, this is a bizarre matsuri that is full of phallic shaped sweets, giant wooden penises and rice cakes as hard as canon balls.
The Doctor’s shack lies hidden in rural Japan, its location closely guarded by haikyoists and folk who like to explore. And for good reason – inside is a goldmine of pre-war medicines and medical books, dusty bottles and old rusty instruments.
Since coming to Japan and acquiring my Olympus E-P1 I’ve been getting into photography in a more serious way than ever before. I’ve been dabbling since I was 16, but more recently learning in leaps and bounds with the help of one professional photographer, Jason Collin.
The last rays of light were falling behind the trees as I exited a cursed love hotel, but my sense of excitement had yet to fade. So before wrapping up my solitary ruins exploration for the day, I decided to sweep the neighbourhood. A haikyo bus lay awaiting me in the undergrowth…