Another day, another haikyo. This time there were four of us along for the adventure, Mike and I of course, as well as Jason, who was present for our first ever haikyo, and Scott, a haikyo virgin. Our destination this time? A Russian village theme park in Niigata! One of the top rated haikyos in Japan, we headed way out into the countryside to have a look.
The drive up was the opposite of the drive to Izu the week before. Traffic was negligible and we practically flew down the highway. Perhaps we were a bit too enthusiastic though, as we got pulled over by the police for doing xxx km/h in an 80km/h zone. In our defense though, everyone else was doing that speed. Anyway the police let us off with a warning, something I've never experienced before. In Canada, once you're caught, you get a ticket. End of story.
The entrance to the theme park was dominated by a Russian style church.
Since we arrived at the haikyo in the evening, the church was one of the first things we explored. Why are churches so scary at night?
The shot below was taken in the less intimidating daytime.
There were two mammoths, one just a skeleton, and the other (below) a full representation. Neither of them were real. With a few exceptions such as this one, most of my night shots didn't turn out too well.
Once you've done a few haikyos you'll start to feel the need to rachet up the excitement level. One haikyo can start to feel like any other haikyo unless you make things more interesting for yourselves, which we accomplished admirably this time around by sleeping over in the theme park's abandoned hotel. I can testify that even with a group of people, when the sun goes down, and you're in an abandoned building, and you only have your flashlights, the absolute darkness and silence is extremely oppresive. None of us wanted to venture out into the hotel halls alone.
UK Mike however, has slept over at a different haikyo before, but much more impressive is the fact that he did it alone. Don't know if I could do that....
This was the presidential suite, and not the room we stayed in for obvious reasons. I can't figure out why some people get enjoyment from senseless destruction. What is the point of trashing a room?
Actually, with a few exceptions like the one below, most of the rooms were almost perfectly preserved. If it wasn't for the lack of electricity and water, they'd be regular hotel rooms.
A view of a foyer from above. Either somebody pulled down the chandelier, or it fell by itself. I'm inclined to believe the first theory given that most of the hotel was in pretty good shape.
Another view from ground zero.
A dining room in the hotel where nothing much has changed except that thick dust was covering the tables.
While filming video, I saw someone walk past that open door in the background of the picture. I was on my own from this point on, the other guys doing their own thing in another part of the park, so I'm pretty sure it wasn't one of them. Whatever it was, it moved silently, and didn't speak to me. Perhaps just my imagination as I don't really believe in ghosts.
A corridor outside has been completely overgrown with vines. A lot of my favourite haikyo shots are those where nature is taking back what's rightfully hers. A fairly common theme in this post as you'll see.
A museum filled with random junk and a lot of stuffed birds.
Which opened onto a courtyard surrounded by what were once shops and restaurants. Someone had a fire going here recently, and tried to use a bench as fuel.
You think your office is unorganized? Think again.
I saw a rat scuttle behind some shelves while walking around here. Scared the crap out of me.
This is the walkway up to what was once a train museum.
There were lots of these statues of children around. They were extremely well preserved, but a bit creepy.
Soon they'll be lost in the foliage.
Entering the train museum I was greeted by this mannequin lying down on the job. I guess she's given up waiting for customers. Couldn't get many other shots as after this it was fairly dark inside.
This ugly little mammoth was on one of the paths. It looked like it had seen better days...
Another great shot of vines completely covering some unidentifiable things in the park. This whole area couldn't be entered due to heavy foliage and huge spiders. Reminded me of this horror novel I just read called 'The Ruins'.
One of the last buildings on the tour, a large restaurant. The vines were actually crawling inside.
A car, almost fully digested.
And video? Well as luck would have it, my external hard drive where I had recently placed all my pictures and video decided to break down. Luckily, these above pictures had already been saved to my hard drive before the others were lost. If I somehow manage to recover the others, the video will go up. In the meantime you'll just have to imagine it. Think of empty restaurant halls, kitchens, hotel corridors, dark rooms and creepy music. You'll have to take my word that it was a great video...