Monster mazes, empty spaces, pretty faces and more!

Archive for November, 2010

Haikyo – Haisen and Onsen

More haikyo for you today, in fact a double bill of  two significantly different types of  haikyo .

The first is a well-known, and very public, old rail line near Takarazuka.

The second is a Japanese style hotel about three hours train ride away from where I live.

So let’s start with the train line.



The Yokai Files – Tanuki – The myth and the reality

These ceramic Tanukis (Racoon Dogs), often seen outside Japanese cafes and bars thanks to some odd word association, are probably the most recognised images of these creatures.

Don’t worry I’ll explain the word association later!

However, in Japan there is a rich folklaw tradition built up around the image of the Tanuki which means he pops up in some unusual places and surprising contexts.


Haikyo – Ski Lodge

This was another accidental discovery. During an Autumn walk we spotted this place at the bottom of an overgrown slope. I managed to persuade my non-haikyoist friends to stop and briefly check this old ski centre out. However, with the light fading, a long way to go and only me really interested I had no time to really explore.

Luckily, a couple of month later I was back in the same area with more willing friends and managed to get them to make a more thorough search with me.


Fifteen Froggies of my Own

In honour of getting a comment from Michael (aka: Gakuranman, who has some fantastic hikyo posts on his site) on my recent Haikyo – Starting Small entry I’ve decided to do a tribute to his latest blog post Fifteen Fantastic Froggie Fotos and post fifteen frog fotos of my own.

15 froggy points if you can guess which picture wasn’t taken in Japan! (more…)

Satoyama – The Basics

What is satoyama?

Satoyama is a term used to describe the land between the mountains and the arable farming land.

Typically satoyama landscapes are a balanced mix of  forested areas and terraced rice fields irrigated by water running off the mountains on the lower slopes of the mountains. Satoyama ideally see man and nature working together, with forestry and agriculture managed to encourage a wide range of biodiversity.


Haikyo – Biwa Tower

My next haikyo wasn’t hard to find. In fact everytime I’d travel down to Kyoto I’d see it from the window of the train. The colourful little cabins clearly visible against the blue sky.

The biggest mystery about this place is why the owners decided to call a ferris wheel ‘Biwa Tower’?


Costumes – World Cosplay Summit 2010

For a few years now Nagoya has hosted the annual World Cosplay Summit, making is a Mecca for costumed cuteness every August.

Growing from humble beginnings in 2003 it’s now become a large event spread over two days and featuring a number of international teams.


Haikyo – Starting Small

A couple of people have recently asked me how I first got into haikyo, and the truth is I’m not sure.


Costumes – Ken-ketsu

I first saw Ken Ketsu in Tokyo about four years ago and he’s been my favorite Japanese Mascot ever since.


Haikyo – The Basics

What does Haikyo mean?

Haikyou is a cover-all term used to describe any abandoned place. From recently bankrupt hotels to decaying ruins; like this one on the banks of Lake Biwa. Japan has a wealth of these places, being a post economic boom society with a declining population, they stand as evidence of Japan’s more prosperous and populous past. Domestic, leisure and industrial ghosts that haunt the villages and cities of Japan. (more…)