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…
I found it being cradled like a baby by an autumn tree. A colourful little gem of decaying grandeur, covered with vines, rust and a thick layer of weathered dust. But what stood out at me more than the decay was the cute little cartoon elephant illustration on the rear.
At that time and even the time of writing this blog post, I was convinced the bus had been the means of transport for some sprightly group of children, all wearing their colourful pouches and caps for school. But as Lance pointed out in the comments, the inscription on the rear of the bus clearly reads ‘Chiba Flour Mill Inc.’! Boy do I feel embarrassed…
It hadn’t even crossed my mind to translate the kanji. Perhaps I can get away with saying I was just *that* engrossed in the corrosion that I overlooked it..? Hmm… Still, the little mascot wearing a baking hat makes sense now, in an ‘elephants naturally bake bread’ kinda way.
But anyway, making my way around the bus, I found a shot that immediately jumped out at me. Vines clinging to the side and leaves clogging the wheels in a throttling attempt to reclaim the bus for nature. I didn’t have a lot of light left and the skies had begun to open threateningly with rain, so I made haste snapping away.
The front of the bus, once proud and strong claimed a rather gloomy spot overcome by weeds. I had to wrestle with the wet undergrowth and weeds, pricking myself in the process, but somehow managed to get a stable posture for the photograph. I kept wondering if some old man from the village would hear me rustling around and come running out with a rake or something, but then realised that would never happen. Much more likely to be a bamboo cane or katana.
The driver’s front seat was vacant. Peering inside through a broken window, I tried to imagine the sort of person that might have sat there. I was itching to get inside the bus too, but to my dismay it was completely full of debris and rubbish. Evidently the locals here were using it as some sort of wood storage unit.
The bottoms of my trousers were drenched by this point and I realised I had no umbrella. Still, such was the awesome thrill at discovering a new haikyo (even if it was just a lowly bus), that I stuck around a bit longer, attempting to capture some of the striking red rust strains bleeding from the puncture holes.
I took one last look at the metal beast before making my way back to town. The rain had started to come down heavier now and I had a long way to walk back to the rural station and a shinkansen to catch home that night. But I was satisfied with the shoot that day and success of my first solitary haikyo exploration in Japan. Perhaps that warmed me up a bit.
I’ll be sure to post that cursed love hotel haikyo I mentioned in due time, with creepy video footage too. It was a completely different experience going at these things alone. Senses heightened, every little bump in the dark made me nervous, and it didn’t help that I’d read about the horrible history of the murder there before going. Be sure to stay tuned!