An abandoned Japanese school boasting a life-size anatomical figure

Pretty much all abandoned buildings have a distinct character and atmosphere, but schools – especially the older, wooden ones – have a silence all their own. A surprising serenity that the likes of homes, villages and most certainly clinics, don’t always have.

And E Elementary School, tucked away in a rural community a few hours drive from Tokyo, was no different.

old and abandoned Japanese school

Established in 1872, the school underwent various changes, both in an administrative and structural sense — including a fire in the early years that completely destroyed the fledgeling institution. The final, and now slowly crumbling building was completed in 1957, but 28 years later its last ever students graduated; the merger of 6 elementary schools the cause of its demise.

Unfortunately a clearance of sorts occurred then — or at least some time later — as several of the rooms are empty, whereas others are packed full of desks, chairs, books etc. But luckily there are still enough things left in place to provide a sense of what the school was once like. Or at least what it was once like minus the usual succession of classes and activities.

old and abandoned Japanese school

Not to mention a complete lack of children.

old and abandoned Japanese school

And like most schools of this kind, the aforementioned silence was further exaggerated by remnants of sounds that once echoed round the rooms and corridors — both of the played, and recorded variety.

old and abandoned Japanese school

The latter now only playable digitally, rather than on the turntable below.

old and abandoned Japanese school

Plus in a similar nod to changing technologies, there was the welcome treat of a couple of wonderfully retro TVs. Reminders of a time when screens weren’t black, flat and ubiquitous.

old and abandoned Japanese school

old and abandoned Japanese school

But without a doubt the real treat was the life-size anatomical figure whose body parts and internal organs were liberally scattered about the building’s most interesting room.

old and abandoned Japanese school

A fascinating presence that somehow still felt in keeping with the school’s faded atmosphere:

old and abandoned Japanese school

One that clings firmly to the past.

old and abandoned Japanese school

While at the same time still watches over the present.

old and abandoned Japanese school

Stares and beers in a Tokyo bar

Some places are way more photogenic than others, and despite the limited space, the bar below is definitely one to go back to — hence its numerous appearances on these pages over the years. It has arguably the grubbiest lamp one could ever imagine. Character and customer-wise it sometimes seems like it’s stuck in the past. Plus inquisitive stares are often an additional part of the scene. The latter of which I got lucky with again in this latest photo.

Stares and beers in a small Tokyo bar