When MJG and I did our sweep of Ibaraki haikyos, only three out of six destinations on our itinerary were still standing. It's always a letdown to find out that a haikyo has been demolished after hours of searching, but the last place we explored, a group of empty buildings near the ocean which may or may not have had some some connection with an old harbour, made up for it.
Meeting other haikyoers on a haikyo is a pretty rare occurance as it's not exactly a mainstream hobby. As luck would have it though, at this particular haikyo we didn't just meet some other people that shared our interests, as the title states, we met some cosplay haikyoers! For those unfamiliar with the term 'cosplay' it's a contraction of 'costume play' which basically means people playing fantasy/role play games while wearing costumes. Cosplay may not have been invented in Japan, but they sure made it famous.
The whole complex was behind a small fence that was easily bypassed. This was the first of four buildings we found, just a huge, empty warehouse whose doors were wide open. No challenge here and little fun to be had...
The second building was a ways off, completely surrounded by vegetation and locked up tighter than a drum. We walked around for a while, but all doors and windows on the first floor were boarded up with either sheets of metal or thick and heavy wooden boards. It seemed hopeless to me, but after scouting around for a while, MJG announced that he would attempt to climb up some rusty old pipes and get in through a second story window, one of which had been left open, perhaps by a previous haikyoer. I was dubious whether it could even be done, but Mike once again surprised me with his climbing skills, getting up and through in less than a minute.
I wasn't at all confident that I could repeat the process though, so working from both the inside and outside, we managed between us to pry one of the wooden boards on a window open wide enough for me to crawl through.
However, the inside was fairly disapointing as it was completely empty. Just a huge collection of large, empty rooms. There were two floors, the first of which was pitch black and silent except for a few places where a bit of light managed to get past the boards on the outside.
The second floor was much the same, except that the windows were unboarded and the rooms brightly lit. The second floor was also inhabited by birds, some living, some dead.
There was also a very small third floor which gave us access to the roof.
From the roof we could see this red building in the distance. Had we not been able to get to the top of the previous building, we would've missed it due to the thick foliage. As it was, getting here required some time as tall grass, vines and spiders impeded our progress.
This smoke stack on the other side of the above building provided an ideal landmark to help us find our way.
This building housed an incredible amount of useless rotting junk, and two strange kiln-like contraptions that made me think of pizza ovens.
Green light frames some plants growing behind the pizza ovens.
A short distance away there was a final small building, and in it we happened across the above mentioned cosplayers. There were three of them, the two girls pictured below, and a guy photographing them. I initially expected them to be annoyed by our interruption, but they were all very friendly and let us take some pictures.
Any otaku would probably be familiar with these costumes, but for those of you who don't take your cosplay too seriously, their regalia (which was really quite detailed and striking, the girl on the left claimed she made her sword herself) is from the role playing video game Final Fantasy.
Mike and I might look a bit drab in comparison, but don't be surprised when you buy the next version of Final Fantasy and find that the two of us are playable characters!