Hmm... not really sure what to make out of this.
Kojo Moe factory freaks love industry landscape
Published: March 10, 2010
There are many kinds of otaku (geek) in Japan and many kinds of moe (萌え, -philes). However, this is one of the most unexpected we’ve come across so far.
The last couple of years has seen a boom in “factory love” (工場萌え, koujou-moe), manifesting in numerous night-time cruises around industrial areas, photography books, blogs and mixi communities — all spreading the word that processing plants, manufacturing facilities, chimneys…yes, these can be beautiful! Of course Japan famously already has three particularly beautiful sights (日本三景, Nihon Sankei): Matsushima in Miyagi, Amanodate in Kyoto, and Itsukushima in Hiroshima. Should we also add Mitsubishi, Toyota and Panasonic factories to this list?
The cruises (known as “factory night view jungle cruises”) are particularly popular, with boats full even in the winter. Kawasaki and Yokohama, Chiba and the Hanshin area all have cruise services leaving just as the sun goes down, costing around 4,500 JPY ($50) per person for ninety minute tours.
What kind of people are these factory freaks? Photography enthusiasts, of course, and older husbands and wives. However, surprisingly, also groups of females and young couples. Although bay cruises have always been a good place for a date, factory-spotting doesn’t on paper sound like the kind of weekend activity likely to attract that demographic. Many of the boat trips include drinks, though, and on-board guidance, which would make it more of an “experience” and enjoyable for all.
When looking into this we were also reminded of the abandoned former coal mining hub that was Hashima Island in Nagasaki Prefecture, re-opened to tourists last year. Domestic sightseeing might just be going industrial…