Photos of abandoned power plants in Japan show the hidden beauty in ruins【Photos】

Deteriorating facilities remind us of the power of time and the fragility of man’s monuments.

Japanese Twitter user @98naykkan is no stranger to scenes of abandoned buildings in the process of being reclaimed by nature. He even mentions his penchant for searching out forgotten ruins around the country in his Twitter introduction. However, even he was surprised by the Internet’s viral reaction after posting photos of an abandoned power plant earlier this week.

▼ “You guys like this stuff, right? An abandoned power plant overflowing with greenery.”  

The photos’ atmosphere of neglect is somehow both eerie and peaceful at the same time. You can almost feel a natural power radiating from the scenery as the sunlight streams through the broken glass. Actually, @98naykkan’s Instagram account, subtitled “Abandoned World,” is completely dedicated to his collection of mesmerizing discoveries. The following are just a small sampling of his artistry.

This corridor is especially haunting.

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▼ When was the last time this car went for a drive?

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A stunning sunset reminds us of a Makoto Shinkai film

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▼ Gorgeous ivy slowly encroaching on a statue

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▼ It makes you wonder who the very last people were to sit in these chairs…

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@98naykkan even posted a video of some of his explorations on YouTube, set to a catchy beat:

His photos inspired other net users to share their own photos of similarly abandoned buildings, including other types of power plants:

▼ “I heard Twitter is like a Power Plant Festival right now, so I’m leaving these shots of the famous Okunoshima [aka Rabbit Island]‘s former thermal power station.”

▼ “Hydroelectric plant”

▼ “Hydroelectric plant (2). I’m taking advantage of this sudden surge in popularity of abandoned power plant sites covered in vegetation.”

▼ “The ruins of a hydroelectric plant covered in greenery”

But alas–all good things must come to an end. After expressing some lighthearted concerns that his followers were getting tired of seeing so many power plant ruins, @98naykkan decided that it was time to move on to posting some different photos:

▼ “I think it’s about time to bring this ‘Power Plant Festival’ to a close. As a parting gift, here are some scenes of other power plants.”

Net reactions to @98naykkan’s original tweet compared his photos to video games:

▼ “It looks like this place was used as reference for the Wii game Fragile Dreams…they’re really similar. I really like it…”

▼ “It reminds me of this”

To be perfectly honest, our first reaction after reading “abandoned power plant” in the original tweet was recalling the run-down power plant encountered in Pokémon Red and Blue. We half expected to see a Zapdos lurking in the corner of one of the photos!

Source: Twitter/@98naykkan
Featured image: Twitter/@98naykkan

Beautiful mounted policewoman from Russia gallops into hearts of Japanese Internet users【Photos】

Justice is served with an aura of gorgeous gallantry.

Law enforcement, generally speaking, is not glamorous work. At its fundamental level, it’s a job that consists of telling people what they can’t do, and usually involves a lot of looking stern, inflexible, and unfriendly.

But a stunning exception has recently come to light on Japanese Twitter, thank to @CRSVDV, who recently tweeted this series of snapshots.

Showing a knack for understated conciseness, @CRSVDV simply tweeted “Russian mounted police officer.” That’s all he needed to get the attention of thousands of other Twitter users, who gushed over the woman’s combination of beauty, elegance, and overall atmosphere of capable purposefulness.

▼ More than one admirer was amused by the combination of a woman who works on horseback sporting a pony tail.

The photos stirred up various urges in those who saw them, with some saying they suddenly felt a desire to travel to Russia and/or break the law, in hopes of creating an opportunity to meet the woman. A more law-abiding commenter instead said she’d like to cosplay as her, and other comments have included:

“I think I’m in love.”
“Gallant and cute, she’s absolutely wonderful.”
“Does it mean I have a dirty mind if I thought her tan belt was her bare midriff at first glance?”
“I wish the police uniforms looked this cool in Japan! Why are ours so lame?”

Unfortunately for the officer’s suddenly sprouted fanbase, she’s yet to be identified by name, which means that those hoping to follow her ostensible social media accounts are out of luck for the time being. They’ll just have to keep their fingers crossed that such information becomes available in the future, and perhaps that she teams up with similarly Internet famous policewoman from Malaysia, Mongolia, and China to form some sort of super-photogenic Interpol.

Source: Twitter/@CRSVDV via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Twitter/@CRSVDV

Beautiful mountain farmlands are yet another reason to visit rural Japan

As if you really needed more motivation

While large cities like Tokyo and Osaka certainly have their own appeal, the Japanese countryside is really something special all on its own. Forests, lakes, waterfalls, and beaches…Japan has it all, and almost every inch of its rural land is breathtakingly beautiful.

There is one aspect of the lovely Japanese countryside that is part man-made, however: “satoyama” (里山). The word literally means mountain (山, やま) village (里, さと), but it’s much more than that. Satoyama refers to farmlands that are built on the base of a mountain or on the edge of mountain forests.

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Satoyama include crop fields as well as forests of trees cultivated for lumber and firewood, but the first thing that comes to mind when we think of satoyama is rice paddies. Green land divided into perfect sections, with mountains rising in the background, is one of the most quintessential scenes of the Japanese countryside.

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The neat lines of the rice paddies combined with the wild nature of the forested mountains behind them is a feature unique to satoyama. Of course, terraced rice paddies are also included

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Mt. Fuji is an excellent area to find satoyama, because the majesty of the mountain makes them very picturesque. Mt. Fuji is already gorgeous, but when it’s reflected in the water of a rice paddy, its beauty is doubled, so it’s a popular spot for photographers.

The carving of vegetable fields into mountainsides, not just rice paddies and not just at the base of mountains, is another kind of satoyama. These are amazing not only for their beauty but also for the mere fact that they were created and are maintained on the side of a mountain.

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One key to the beauty of satoyama is the verdure of the crops. Japanese farms typically grow green plants like cabbage, potatoes, eggplants, and, of course, rice, as opposed to browner crops like wheat (though there are also wheat farms in Japan). This makes the farmland look like an extension of the mountain, and that could be why the Japanese countryside seems so lush for most of the year.

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The old-style farm buildings that dot the farmlands could also be considered part of the visual charm of satoyama. Though the term itself refers mostly to landscaping, viewers can still appreciate the addition of these quaint, man-made features amidst the green of the fields.

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But the thing that makes satoyama really special to Japanese people is that they don’t just sit on the border of the mountains; they work together with them in the name of biodiversity. Rice paddies are home to many insects and amphibians, who serve as sustenance for birds, and the cultivated mountain-base forests are host to a variety of plant and animal life. They’re an important ecological asset to the country, and that is what differentiates satoyama as a unique kind of farmland.

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Given the cultural and ecological importance of satoyama and Japan’s reverence for nature in general, it’s no surprise that they have also been deliberately drawn into the scenery of many anime. My Neighbor Totoro, for example, is set in a colorful and detailed rendering of a satoyama northwest of Tokyo, which left a lasting impression in many viewers’ hearts and minds.

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While, sadly, many satoyama are falling into disrepair (in part because of the modernization of Japan), beautiful satoyama still exist all across the country. Merely traveling an hour outside of Tokyo in just about any direction will bring you to picturesque satoyama views, so on your next trip to Japan, take some time to enjoy the sights of these beautiful mountain farmlands.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@taitan21

Rain transforms Tokyo Disneyland into a kaleidoscope of breathtaking lights【Photos】

Don’t let the dreary weather dampen your day–your dreams will definitely still come true.

Everyone’s experienced the gut-wrenching disappointment of rain ruining their long-awaited vacation plans. While it might be easy to write off such a day as a failure, some recent photos snapped at Tokyo Disneyland prove that life always has a silver lining.

Twitter user @kah05disney, who happens to have an annual passport to the Tokyo Disney Resorts, visited Disneyland last week at night and happened to capture some of the most breathtaking scenery we’ve ever seen, all on her trusty Nikon D750.

▼ “Disneyland’s 35th anniversary celebration on a rainy day. The reflections in the puddles at my feet were exceedingly beautiful.”

The reflections of the buildings and lights on the wet ground make for a truly magical combination at the Magic Kingdom. In fact, dare we say that we hope it rains the next time we venture over?

It’s clear that @kah05disney has a penchant for both photography and Disney, as plenty of her photos illustrate:

▼ Both in the day…

▼ …and at night

▼ What a fun effect!

Incidentally, Tokyo Disneyland celebrated its 35th anniversary this year on April 15, which means visitors can enjoy a special anniversary celebration called “Happiest Celebration!” until March 25, 2019. Mark your calendars and don’t worry if the forecast predicts rain–you just might be in for a rare treat instead.

Source: Twitter/@kah05disney via ITmedia Inc.
Featured image: Twitter/@kah05disney

Mie man arrested for collecting photos he took of female coworker while at work

Charges cause many to wonder where the line between stalking and a secret crush lies.

Police in Kameyama City, Mie Prefecture, arrested a 25-year-old man on charges of violating the Anti-Stalking Control Law. He is said to have taken numerous pictures of a female coworker without her knowing using his smartphone camera.

The incident was uncovered in October of last year when a man doing some weeding in an area of thick grass stumbled across a plastic box containing several items including a USB memory stick. On the stick were over 100 images of a 24-year-old woman that appeared to have been taken without her knowing.

Police managed to trace the images back to the suspect who had secretly taken the photos of a coworker with whom he was infatuated while she was in and around their workplace. The man reportedly admitted to the charges saying, “I took the pictures because I liked her but I couldn’t bring myself to speak to her.”

Reaction to the news online sided largely with the suspect. Many felt that he was simply a shy person suffering from a case of unrequited love rather than a threat to anyone’s safety.

“You can get arrested for only that? Shocked.”
“I sympathize with him.”
“While it certainly is unpleasant to photograph someone without them knowing, does it really fall under the anti-stalking law?”
“This makes me furious. They regulate smartphone cameras like they were guns.”
“I know how he feels… that’s a terrible story.”
“The man who picked up the memory stick seems more suspicious. Why did he snoop around like that?”
“We live in an age where being shy is an arrestable offense.”
“That’s scary. So anytime I take pictures in public places where there are other people I can be arrested for it?”
“His motive seemed more cute than malicious.”

The investigation is still ongoing and police are looking into whether or not similar incidents involving other women exist. They also have yet to interview the woman whom he had photographed.

Perhaps the best lesson for men in this situation is to not become a victim of your own shyness if not only to avoid potential criminal charges, but to just know where you stand with the object of your desires and whether or not you’d be better off moving on with your life.

Our own writer Seiji Nakazawa is a good example of this. Although timid by nature, he never misses the opportunity to put himself out there and let women know how he feels.

Sure, he’s been shot down countless times, is still single, and has an ego more bruised an battered than Billy Batts after telling Tommy to go and get his shinebox, but he’s better off for it… At least we think he is.

I mean, he hasn’t been arrested yet, so he’s got that going for him.

Source: Tokai TV, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Inset image ©SoraNews24

Super blue blood moon appears over Tokyo, poses with Skytree, other landmarks for beautiful pics

Even if something happens once in a blue moon, it’s still not as rare, or gorgeous, as this.

Last night, people in Tokyo had their breath taken away, as well as several of their adjectives commandeered, by the appearance of a super blue blood moon. Rather than a celestial body born into extreme luxury, the super blue blood moon is the incredibly rare combination of a full moon that appears larger to the eye than normal (supermoon), the second full moon to come within a calendar month (blue moon), and the red color the moon is seen with during a lunar eclipse (blood moon).

In Tokyo, the phenomenon began to manifest shortly before 9 p.m., and was punctuated by office workers on their way home, as well as downtown diners and drinkers, turning their eyes skyward to appreciate the view.

Some of the most striking images were captured near the Skytree, the 634-meter (2,080-foot) spire that rises from the city’s Sumida Ward.

With its futuristic design, the Skytree adds an even more otherworldly look to the blood moon, which, depending on the angle, sometimes seemed to be almost balanced atop the tower’s tip.

▼ Skytyree (right) and Tokyo Tower (left)

▼ A time-lapse video of the moon moving across the heavens behind the Skytree

The orange glow of Tokyo Tower made for less contrast with the blood moon, but also imparted a warmer, more relaxed atmosphere to the sight.

Meanwhile, over on the west side of downtown, the scarlet moon appeared to pass through the paired towers of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, also known as Tocho.

And for those watching in less urban parts of the country, the blood moon looked less sci-fi and more mystical when sharing a field of vision with structures such as Ibaraki’s Toyoda Castle and a pagoda in Nagano Prefecture.

The next morning, it was back to overcast conditions with snow in the forecast, but at least when it needed to, the weather cooperated and gave Tokyo a gorgeous reason to step outside and look up in the cold.

Source: IT Media
Featured image: Twitter/@tetsu_skytree

Goodnight, Kitty: We stay in a hotel room dedicated to the queen of kawaii【Photos】

Hello, Kitty. And hello, crossover branding!

We’ve written before about the Hello Kitty hotel room in Osaka, but did you know that Tokyo, home of Sanrio, has its own Kitty-chan rooms at the fancy Keio Plaza Hotel? Recently, we were lucky enough to be invited to stay at one of them and have brought you back this photo-packed report.

We stayed in a Princess Kitty room at the Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku; a frilly, pretty-in-pink confection that somehow has a grown-up feel despite its fairy tale imagery. It’s one of two Kitty-themed rooms they offer. The other is called the Kitty Town room and is also available at the Tama location, next to Sanrio’s Puroland theme park. Kitty Town embraces a bright colored pop esthetic and has a larger-than-life-sized stuffed Kitty kids are sure to love.

Image: Keio Plaza Hotel

Arriving at the hotel, I got to check in via the dedicated express check-in desk, which was a nice touch. In moments, a bellhop was taking me up to my room, easily identifiable from the other rooms by the Hello Kitty bow on the door. The eight Kitty rooms are located on corners of the building, giving them a slightly larger floor plan than the standard rooms.

The first thing you notice in the Princess Kitty room, other than the giant 3D Kitty-chan looming over the beds, is the high-heel lounge chair and bow-shaped couch.

Surprisingly comfortable for a piece of furniture shaped like a foot torture device.

Even the water bottles are sporting that famous bow.

In fact, there is very little in the room that isn’t Hello Kitty branded or related to the character in some way. The attention to detail is honestly impressive. About the only thing without Kitty-chan’s face on it is the carpet, which the PR person tells me later is because they thought guests would feel bad about putting their dirty feet on her cute mug.

Hello Kitty appliances in the room included the hot water pot, the hairdryer, the bathroom scale and this funny little humidifier.

▼ Some tart signed the bathroom mirror in lipstick!

Although I am not a huge fan of Kitty myself, I can’t deny that this room is working some magic on me. It does feel fun and fancy, and I’ve laughed out loud a few times, having found those little button eyes peeping out at me from unexpected places.

Hello Housekeeping

Another perk of this room is a bundle of limited edition goods that you are encouraged to take home with you, including a very cute doll. The PR rep tells me that the Keio Kitties are the only ones in the world with those cute cheek blushes and eyelashes. At various times, the outfits on the dolls change to match holidays or promotions. I also got one wearing a Keio bellhop uniform.

▼Is there any job Kitty hasn’t tried?

Image: Keio Plaza Hotel

The stationery set. When was the last time you absolutely had to take one of these home from a hotel room?

There was also a lot of stuff for primping princesses and princes, including a large vanity area outside of the bathroom and a well-stocked amenity box. Considering this and the adult ambiance, I can see this room being more popular with young women on a girls’ weekend than a family with kids, for example.

Additionally, since the hotel is located right next to Shinjuku Station, it’s an ideal place for exploring Tokyo and the nearby nightlife district of Kabukicho. Or for something a little fancier, the hotel has the Aurora Sky Lounge on the 45th floor, where all the seats face out towards the killer night view of Tokyo. That’s where I ended up on the night of my stay, enjoying the view despite some drizzly rain.

Image: Keio Plaza Hotel

Finally, each plan associated with these themed rooms has some special food and beverage treat included, like a Kitty-shaped cake, special cocktails only available for guests in these rooms, or a posh room-service breakfast. We opted for the last one, having found out about the Kitty cocktails a little too late.

▼ Despite her youthful image, since Kitty White was created in 1974, she is actually old enough to drink.

Here again, the attention to detail is impressive. There was the cute tablecloth, of course, but every dish had also been Kitty-fied in some way. The brand on the omelet and the bread on the sandwich stand out, but the vegetables in the salad and the crouton for the corn pottage had also been cut in the shape of Kitty-chan’s face and the fruit and yogurt had been topped with a pink chocolate bow.

▼ Treading on Kitty’s face is a no go but eating it is fine, apparently.

It also bears mentioning that the breakfast was really good! The orange juice was freshly squeezed, the coffee was thick and plentiful, and it was all still piping hot when it arrived in my room. Lounging around in my pajamas, enjoying the view from my room and my third cuppa, I was feeling very royal indeed. Guests in the Kitty rooms can also go to the restaurant for the standard breakfast buffet if they prefer, but it would be a real shame to miss this fun experience.

I had initially been a little dubious about staying in a Kitty room, thinking it was too childish for me, but as I was getting ready to check out, I found myself feeling a bit sad to be going back to the “real world.” It’s probably a rare hotel room that can foster that sense of attachment so quickly, so whether you are a Kitty fan or just looking for a unique experience during your stay in Tokyo, I can definitely recommend a night with Kitty White at the Keio Plaza.

Coming from Taiwan? You can fly here on a Kitty-branded jet!

Images ©SoraNews24, except where noted