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Archive for September, 2010

Looking at my urban exploration log I realized that I had a pretty good run lately.

It all started when I met Michael of Gakuranman fame in late July – he was in Kansai and suggested to take on the famous Maya Hotel together. Since I already scouted the surrounding, but never went in, it was a fun exploration of an impressive location; followed by a revisit of the Takada Ranch Ruin. Two weeks later I started my summer vacation to Europe which included a side trip to the Zone of Alienation with its famous cities Chernobyl and Pripyat. Back to Germany I went to Luxembourg for two more explorations with a kindergarden friend of mine.

Soon after I got back to Japan I received an e-mail from Michael John Grist who planned to come to Kansai to tackle my haikyo nemesis, Nara Dreamland. I wanted to meet the guy more than I wanted to avoid the Dreamland, so we went there on a warm late summer night and for the first time I got in and out without spotting security… And finally I went on a little trip myself again to visit the Gakuranman in the Nagoya area to take pictures of the mysterious Doctor’s Shack, one of the few haikyo that are kept a real secret in Japan – even if it appears somewhere on the net or in a book there are barely any hints about its location and I’m really grateful Michael took me there; another awesome exploration, punished with about 30 mosquito bites!

Maya Hotel, Pripyat, Luxembourg, Nara Dreamland and the Doctor’s Shack in a row… it’s hard to do better than that! Now it’s time to write up the stories and show you some really, really interesting pictures!

(You can find all the articles related to Chernobyl and Pripyat by *clicking here* – the picture was taken *here*.)

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I’m terribly sorry that it took me a while to publish this article, but I finally finished to write the sequel to the blog entry about Osaka Expoland I announced quite a long time ago.
On my way back from my second trip to Sekigaraha Menard Land I thought it would be a good idea to pay Expoland (エキスポランド) another visit. It had been a couple of months since I explored it for the first time and I just wanted to have a short look again – to find out what happened to the Caribbean Resort and the other remaining buildings. Like with my first trip there I expected it to be a quick stop, maybe even without taking pictures. But again I was wrong…
I rode the Monorail from Minami Ibaraki to Banpaku-Kinen-Koen and pressed my camera against the window to get some elevated shots of the park. Since I accidentally changed the settings of my camera right before I reached Sekigahara Menard Land the pictures turned out to be very blurry and while I was wondering about that I realized that there were people in the park! In a park that was closed down for good more than two years earlier and that was being demolished during my first visit in December of 2009 – what an intriguing surprise! (I’m sorry for the picture quality of this posting again – it wasn’t my day…)
This time the main gate to the park was wide open. On top there was a sign that informed all people passing by about the newly installed Farm Expo. So what they did was cutting off about 20% of the park with typical Japanese site fences, revamped the existing buildings in the area into shops, painted and reopened the restaurant and heaped up some soil to use as a planting area. One of the former water rides was converted into a stable for pigs and halfway between that stable and the organic food stands were a couple of chickens in a cage for children to pet. The former clown house was converted into a farmer’s market, selling all kinds of herbs and produce.
The first time I went to Osaka Expoland the sky was overcast (later it started to rain) and the place was empty except for a few construction workers and a guard – quite a depressing sight. During my second visit the whole area was flooded by warm light and crowded by happy families enjoying a nice spring day. The atmosphere couldn’t have been more different and I was kind of glad that they actually made good use of this really nice location as I thought they would tear down the whole place to build more apartment buildings and a shopping mall. It’s the first time I’ve seen a formerly abandoned place being reconverted and at least in this case it was a really good decision – although it means that I’ll have to go back there one day to find out what the future holds for Osaka Expoland.
Oh, and in case you are wondering what happened to the Caribbean Resort: It wasn’t demolished, but fenced off and therefore not accessible during my second visit in April.
(You can find out where Expoland was by clicking here.)

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Recently I’ve been on a trip to Europe and of course I couldn’t resist to do some urban exploration outside of Japan for the first time. This posting is just a teaser, but there will be more pictures soon. Lots of them. Maybe you can guess where I went?

(Or you can find out where the picture was taken by *clicking here*.)

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