Monday, 28 February 2011

The Battleship Building

In other parts of the world it's called Urban Exploration ("Urbex"), or "infiltration". In Japan it's called Haikyo.

Basically it's the hobby of taking photos in abandoned spaces, such as old buildings, theme parks and factories. My brother had taken pictures of an old power station in Sydney that was used in the Matrix film, that looked quite cool.

Strange as it might seem, I like the look of decay, how the elements have taken over man-made objects and turned them into a "living" thing. Rust never sleeps.

I like the stylised "distressed" look of a Marilyn Manson video, or the stench you can almost smell in a typical J horror film, like "Dark Water" or "The Ring".

While not quite a haikyo yet, I heard about one place conveniently located close to Shinjuku that I really wanted to see. From information I found, it has been scheduled for demolition since last year.

EDIT: It's actually been restored, and was not to be torn down.

I was in Shinjuku today, but it was raining so I didn't bring my SLR. In fact I was probably not going to go there. The rain didn't seem too bad, so I decided to have a look.

If I didn't know of it I'd have walked straight past it. It's sandwiched quite tightly between two tall buildings, so it's quite easy to not see it, but when I did I was so happy it hadn't been torn down yet.

By the look of the top of the building, and the compartments it bears a resemblance to a battleship.

I would've attempted to enter had it not been raining, and that I only had my iPhone camera for pictures. That, and this sign also deterred me from attempting an entry. I don't understand much kanji, but I got translated "立ち入り禁止", as in "no entry" :( There were quite a few workmen, and the hallway was lined with blue tarps, so no real way to sneak in.

I hope to go there again though. If anyone knows a way in, let me know. I don't want to get in trouble, or worse, deported for doing this, but haikyo adventures sound really interesting, ne?