Checkmate?

When it comes to entertainment, Tokyo arguably offers more than what’s manageable — sometimes even what’s unimaginable; however, more often than not such activities require cash, and quite often considerable amounts of it too.

But that said, there are alternatives, and whilst a calming and yet competitive game of shogi in the park may well be cold, it costs next to nothing.

Japanese chess (shogi)

Which for some may well be seen as essential.

Japanese chess (shogi)

Cocksure Japanese cosplay?

Cosplay, in all its various garish guises, is something I’ve never been able to really comprehend, but regardless of my utterly irrelevant reactions to this kind of recreation, there’s no denying that to bravely go out in such bold regalia,

Harajuku cosplay

requires real balls.

Harajuku cosplay

Silent and now abandoned seminar house #1

Tucked away on an Izu hillside overlooking the Sagami Sea, the Okawa Seminar House, presumably once bustling with students and lecturers alike, is now not only silent, but slowly disintegrating.

abandoned Japanese building

But thankfully not enough, at least as far as the latter is concerned, to erase the signs of its one-time owner, Tokyo’s Nihon University — reminders of which are randomly dotted around the somewhat deceptively large complex.

abandoned Japanese building

However, why the facility closed its doors and said no to more seminars isn’t clear, and it’s arguably rather strange, at least considering the state it has been left in, when one considers that the University is the biggest such institution in Japan, boasting a colossal 68,000 undergraduates. Yet nevertheless close it did, and calendars along with long unread notices suggest that it was the best part of two decades ago when it did.

A situation that means the building’s numerous rows of desks have been silently sitting unused for an awfully long time.

abandoned Japanese building

And the blackboards are now only covered in grime,

abandoned Japanese building

or the names of groups.

abandoned Japanese building

Plus, away from the confines of academia, the games room is equally ghostly.

abandoned Japanese building

Leaving the corridors free to be roamed alone, with once locked doors no longer a problem.

abandoned Japanese building

Meaning plenty of rooms to peruse.

abandoned Japanese building

And the odd piece of apparatus to ponder.

abandoned Japanese building

Although a fire, unfortunately,

abandoned Japanese building

would pose much more of a problem.

abandoned Japanese building

But in time even that will be irrelevant, if in fact it isn’t already, as nature is slowly,

abandoned Japanese building

but surely,

abandoned Japanese building

taking back the building.

abandoned Japanese building

Next week, in part 2, I attempt something a little bit different, and take a close and concentrated look at a single piece of furniture found in the office.

Palmed off?

Quite what titbits of the future this fella may have detected with his torch is unclear, but more than likely it will have involved something along the lines of a long and happy life, an equally marvellous marriage and conceivably even a kid or two.

Japanese palm reader

That Friday feeling

Work may well mean more in Japan than in many other parts of the world, but it doesn’t mean that the warm fuzzy feeling of finally finishing on a Friday is any less fulfilling.

And it’s a sentiment that is undoubtedly boosted even further when the bold and bright lights of Shinjuku beckon.

Shinjuku