“There’s no way my butt is going to fit through there.” Mark and I were staring at the small hole in the fence and I wondered nervously if this was such a good idea after all. “Can you go over, maybe?” I wedged the toe of my knock-off Toms into a foothold and tried to hoist myself up but I could feel it creak beneath me.” Nope, it’s going to buckle.” And I wasn’t ready for a hug from a roll of barbed wire.
Just then, a car came hurtling round the corner and we both jumped back in fright. “Shit. Do you think they saw us? They totally saw us.” Mark didn’t answer. I looked up and down the road. “I’m kind of scared now. I mean, I just don’t know about this. Maybe we should keep walking, there could be another one down the…” a sudden rustling near the ground distracted me and I looked down to find him scrambling through the fence. “Well fuck, ok.”
Standing on the side of the road was one thing, but we couldn’t risk being seen idling on the other side of the fence. It was now or never. I took a deep breath, got on my hunches, dived headfirst through the hole, and promptly got stuck in the middle.
In Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis wrote, “The love of knowledge is a kind of madness.” I must be kind of mad, then, because everyone who knows me knows that I suffer from incessant curiosity. And if you read my blog, you know that that curiosity regularly centres on the morbid. A forest of suicide victims ? A prison of torture? There like a fucking bear.
It sometimes disturbs me – perhaps ironically – how much I am drawn to this darkness. Especially so when I think back to how young I was when I began poring over news articles and books and documentaries on the most gruesome of cases, the most terrifying of things.
But then I remind myself that everyone loves a good train wreck; our propensity for the macabre just manifests in different ways…gory reality TV, courtroom dramas, disaster footage, celebrity scandals, reddit AMAs…
I indulged myself most recently by exploring an abandoned hotel on Miyazaki’s most southern tip.
If any island served as inspiration for ABC’s LOST (a.k.a the best television series of all time) it was surely Ōkunoshima. Featuring a golf course, pylons, old test laboratories and its very own hatch, it is exactly where every fan wants their plane to crash. You can even enjoy polar bears in miniature – the island is overrun with an abundant population of bunnies.
The latter has earned Ōkunoshima the nickname Usagi Jima (Rabbit Island), with tens of thousands of visitors flocking there each summer to enjoy its beaches, soak in its onsen and feed and pet the adorable, fluffy animals. But the island has a much darker past, and the smoke monster becomes more and move evident as you begin to explore.
On the third day of my trip to Hiroshima, I joined up with Mark, his brother, his brother’s partner, and her daughter to do just that. As it turns out, the bunnies are the least interesting thing about the place…