A friend recently sent me a cutting from the WSJ (Jan 24, 2011) about a new pursuit for avid Japanese tourists: they are flocking to industrial sites, like steel mills:
There are charter bus tours all over Japan to view factories, power plants, oil refineries, smoke stacks, cement factories and all the other sites I’ve enjoyed making quilts about. I’m not alone! I’m a factory lover!!
The buses stop at selected points for much camera clicking accompanied by “amazing!” and “factories can be beautiful places”.
At least part of the reason for the phenomenon is the loss of such sites to other countries; as, in the USA and much of Europe, major manufacturing plants have been moved to India and China. People are beginning to realise that these sites have a strange sad beauty of their own. Even as they polluted our air and water, at the same time their oddly elegant shapes and configurations of dynamic diagonals so rarely seen in solid square domestic architecture have added to the richness of the landscape.
Kojo Moe means “factory infatuation” and it’s growing rapidly. What were bleak industrial zones are now being penetrated by busloads of camera laden sight seers. Reservations for night time tours (known as “factory night view jungle cruises”) of brightly lit chemical factories against dark skies are booked up for months ahead.
The trend has become so popular there are specialized internet groups devoted to it, several books, and many old industrial towns are now encouraging tourists. They are trying to change the laws so that old factories and plants can qualify as World Heritage sites!
As Ken Ohyama says: “factories are cool-looking”!
Arn’t they just?!!
Cement Works 40”h, 42”w
Thanks for reading! and now to head out with my camera………..Elizabeth