reblog: Japan Field Trip – Okayama Haikyo

reblog from July 8, 2012

Its odd how cyclical life can be – when researching locations for my record trip I latched on to the idea of recording some Haikyo sites (Haikyo = “ruins” in Japanese and is now associated with urbex/abandoned buildings) in the hope of capturing elements to help recreate the desolation of Tokyo at the end of WWII. Until working on this film I was pretty much ignorant of just how much destruction occurred in the firebombing of Tokyo in WWII (more people died in the Tokyo firebombing than in either of the atomic bomb blasts) and reading eye witness accounts as part of my research made me deeply sad and also appreciate anew the unfathomable human cost of war…

Tokyo 1945

cc photo via wikipedia

I checked out a lot of the Japanese Haikyo sites and made contact with Florian at Abandoned Kansai asking him: “what is the sound of haikyo?” He kindly wrote me an incredibly inspiring reply and then shared a google map with me of some of his favourite sounding haikyo locations… and one immediately seemed familar: La Rainbow Hotel & Tower

Back in 2005, myself and a couple of friends had a lost weekend very near that very location! It was one of my arbitrarily auspicious birthdays and on the way to my favourite place in Japan Naoshima we went & stayed in an old beach front resort hotel in Okayama for a couple of nights. I loved it: when we walked in the front door the staff were wearing hawaiian shirts, and best of all, being mid week, the place was almost deserted – so we had this epic old hotel (that felt like it was straight out of a David Lynch film) all to ourselves!


The ceilings in the hallways were really low, which made it feel more than a little surreal…


Quite close to the hotel was a huge theme park


And there it is! That huge vertical tower in the middle of the photo below is the Haikyo La Rainbow Hotel! Apparently the hotel and tower was closed back in 1997, so even when we visited the theme park in 2005 it had already been abandoned for 7 years….


So eight years later following Florians advice I find myself back at the same location for an entirely different reason!


WTF kind of phallic symbol is this!?


After I’d done some recording I did a quick bit of exploring – quick because the car was parked right out front & I wasn’t too sure how much time we’d have before someone came along & asked what exactly we were doing there! At the base of that tower was this huge cylindrical structure that totally puzzled me as to its purpose, but when I met up with Florian back in Osaka he explained that it used to travel up & down the length of that huge tower, and that when exploring the site someone had found a box of old postcards with some night time long exposure photos showing the cylinder lit up! Florian also explains: “It was attached to a tower 150 meters high (the highest observation platform of its kind in the world when it was built – not only in Japan!) and it was moveable not only vertically, but the platform was also able to spin around the tower. 23 meters in diameter the viewing cabin offered space for 150 guests at a time”


While some people might consider wrecked old buildings an eyesore, to actually visit one is quite an experience. The sense of nostalgia and the feeling of the vast number of lost memories, of lives lived in such places, is overwhelming – they have an emotional ambience that is palpable & hard to fully appreciate until you’ve been there… And as nature slowly takes back its land, we start to get a glimpse of what earth will begin to look like, after humans have become extinct…



I didn’t venture far upstairs but much of the interior was covered in graffiti


And outside there were some completely random debris – whos bag was that? What was on those cassettes? The ultimate found sound source material?


Despite the barbed wire, the front ‘gate’ was wide open & with ignorance being my primary excuse I just drove in, quickly set up & recorded, packed up & made ready for exit…


Here is some of the ambiences I recorded here – unfortunately that same theme park was operating, so there are only moments of useable material. Amongst the birds you might notice the familiar twang of guy wires – the wind seems to rattle the vertical cables still tensioned to the tower… If we had more time I would have returned late at night or at dawn…. but we had other places to visit…. But its kind of interesting, looking at an old abandoned hotel while hearing a operating theme park in the distance, like ghostly ambiences… (note: all the sounds in the video are from this location but theres 2 or 3 overlapping layers)

Haikyo Okayama La Rainbow Hotel from tim prebble on Vimeo.

If you’re interested, here are some other excellent Japanese Haikyo sites:

Abandoned Kansai
(along with all the other amazing locations I have to point out these two kiwi theme parks found by Florian: Yamaguchi NZ village and Hiroshima NZ Farm park – surreal!!)

Michael John Grist

Total Japandemonium

Forbidden Kyushu



And an important consideration: The Hazards of Haikyo and Urban Exploration

Of if you’d just to see some quite amazing haikyo eye candy, try this link:

Please feel free to add a comment with links to other Japanese Haikyo sites?

Detritus 611



▶ Michael Jackson – “Thriller” Background Vocals/Harmonies Deconstructed



▶ (a great read) “He had been dead for eight hundred years, when he became my teacher”
guess the artist?



▶ A good read: Professional freedom



▶ Diatonic major triad siren sound from synchronised 4, 5 and 6 cylinder engines



▶ I play a stupid & pointless game on FecalBook: I try to eradicate ads, by either reporting them as spam or telling FB they are irrelevant & to block all ads from that company. But there is one form of ad that no matter how many times I block it, it re-appears in a new form. The ads are for crowd funded shite, usually via Kickstarter. Since disabling ‘track-off-site’ FB has no idea how to target ads at me, so the ads usually are 100% irrelevant… But still ads from Kickstarter re-appear, associated with some new variation that hasn’t been blocked already – its like a multi-headed serpent! I kill ‘Great Kickstarter projects’ and a minute later get an ad served by ‘Amazing Kickstarter Projects’ etc
While I do appreciate I could use an ad blocker, I also think this irritating aspect of FecalBook is useful as it undermines any positive benefit and will slowly but surely drive me away from that platform… But speaking of pointless kickstarter projects…



▶ Learn to play the drums by waving drum sticks around in the air seems odd, just like the supposedly genius UI that featured in a scifi film a while back (Minority Report?) where people spent all day waving their arms in the air. While it looked kinda nifty, have they never heard of friction? Have they never heard of feel?
Someone who is a far better drummer than I once described drumming not as hitting the skins, but of lifting the skins – the rebound being of such rhythmic and acoustic significance. In contrast this Kickstarter project does away with actually hitting anything (imagine learning to play the piano by wiggling your fingers in the air) and combines it with a simple video game, much like the Taiko drum game I played in Japan a decade or two ago (except with it you actually hit drums) For a bonus they throw in a SaaS subscription platform, for the ‘get rich doing nothing’ stretch goal. No thanks.



▶ too cute



▶ lol DJ promo photos








Garden progress



Trying a slightly different/better technique for starting seeds this year:

The biggest threat to young seedlings for me is goddamn slugs! Last year I started heaps of seeds, they got to about an inch high & then all disappeared overnight! I abandoned those and bought seedlings, but this year decided to find solutions, and pegging plastic (offcuts from when I built the greenhouse) serves multiple purposes: slugs can’t get in, and there is a humidity and temperature boost of starting the seeds inside what is basically a mini greenhouse… So far so good!

Peas x lots

More peas & tomatoes

Lettuces x lots & more tomatoes

Not sure I’ll need the tomato seedlings as I already have 16 tomato plants going… And the lettuce will need some thinning, but I want to grow mass peas! When I was a kid growing up on the farm, every year my Dad would sow a strip 100m wide across a paddock, and it was a ritual to go and pick peas for dinner. Fresh peas are so tasty, but as a plant they are also nitrogen fixing, so they help build up the soil for future seasons…

Tomatoes and Blueberry plants:

Main Raspberry plants:

Those are the delicious black heirloom raspberry plants from my Dad, and like all raspberry plants they ‘sucker’ – send out roots which surface and form new plants… So in that netted structure there are now 3 raspberry plants, but I also have been trying to propogate new plants using a technique I read about…

Basically you take one of the long canes and bend it down, into a bucket of soil and back out again. I had to put a brick on top to stop the cane lifting back out, but six months later the cane has started to form roots, and I then cut the cane from the main plant.

Another one I have going started from a root that popped up. I dug it out and put it in a planter bag and am training it vertically, wrapping it around the poles & clips I use to prop up tomato plants as below (there is a banana palm behind it)


Corn & Courgettes

Lettuces, Beetroot, Brocolli and will plant the pea seedlings along the side with the fencing for them to grow up…

The rest of the main greenhouse has citrus (limes, mandarin, orange) avocado x3, fig, dwarf peach, tamarillo…

I also recently cleared some space & added the desk & chair, as it is such a lovely warm environment and quite peaceful, so I figure it could be a good place to turn off wifi and go do some writing, surrounded by the smell of plants growing!


It’s my first time growing avacado – I have three plants and the other two are leafy but this one has gone ballistic! Here’s hoping each of these buds turns into an actual Avacado!


Have to be patient to grow asparagus, as you dont get any to eat from the first season and I’m not sure I’ll get much this year, in its second season….

Love my Redpath greenhouses – it’s like cultivating my own tropical jungle!

See this post from 2018 from when I built the first one.





nuzic 180



▶ Motion – Dust



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▶ new Japanese dubtechno label & compilation





Detritus 610





▶ 2021 Drone photo award winners



▶ This looks handy: Shove makes Ableton Push 2 usable in other DAWs by bringing back some of the basic functionality like lighted pads, scales, modwheel/pitch bend, etc..



Small vehicles of Tokyo



▶ Interesting new MIDI sequencer: NEST



▶ The Piano-Smashing Fad?



This thread is crazy – on a par with ‘Brice Carrington, fake Hollywood sound designer’ crazy!!



▶ Cyriak Animator Pro









Bar-tailed Godwit 4BYWW reported in from Pūkorokoro Miranda at 07:51 this morning. Made it in one non-stop flight which lasted about 8 days 12 hours. She was off North Cape around 21:00 yesterday and looks to have flown overland from Northland rather than following the coast. She probably arrived sometime after 03:00 this morning and although the exact distance flown is difficult to determine it looks like she flew at least 12,200km giving her an average speed of 59kph.”

How amazing!

If humans were allowed one inter-species super power, my choice would be Sleeping on the wing

“Wakefulness enables animals to interface adaptively with the environment. Paradoxically, in insects to humans, the efficacy of wakefulness depends on daily sleep, a mysterious, usually quiescent state of reduced environmental awareness. However, several birds fly non-stop for days, weeks or months without landing, questioning whether and how they sleep. It is commonly assumed that such birds sleep with one cerebral hemisphere at a time (i.e. unihemispherically) and with only the corresponding eye closed, as observed in swimming dolphins. However, the discovery that birds on land can perform adaptively despite sleeping very little raised the possibility that birds forgo sleep during long flights. In the first study to measure the brain state of birds during long flights, great frigatebirds (Fregata minor) slept, but only during soaring and gliding flight. Although sleep was more unihemispheric in flight than on land, sleep also occurred with both brain hemispheres, indicating that having at least one hemisphere awake is not required to maintain the aerodynamic control of flight


Also: “no animal can get by for very long without sleep. And nobody has managed to explain why this is the case”


Also: Ralph Hotere: Godwit/Kuaka