When entering any school it’s only natural to expect a noisy greeting from the sounds of the students within, but not in Nichitsu mining town, as an ever-dwindling number of children due to the gradual decline of the area’s mining activities meant the community’s school was eventually forced to close its doors in the early 1970s — a decision that now makes the institution a very different place indeed, even before one actually enters, with no need anymore to change from outdoor shoes, to indoor ones.
And where kids once careered down the corridors.
Or clattered in and out of classrooms, regardless of the rules.
There is now only silence.
A silence that’s all the more noticeable due to the signs of so many sounds — especially those made by the students who once studied here.
Like drums left discarded.
Or pianos that are now unplayable, let alone unplayed.
Plus a varied selection of recorded music. In this case a nostalgic piece of vinyl that for some reason T.M. didn’t take home.
Instead choosing to leave it behind in a room that’ll never again have any festive cheer funnelled through its speakers.
And in Japan, where all manner of rules are continually, almost religiously, repeated, this discarded and slightly damaged megaphone seems especially subdued.
Silently suggestive of the sounds that were once an integral, and no doubt sometimes irritating, part of the school.
For those interested, there are my original posts on Nichitsu, covering the doctor’s office, dwellings and day to day life of those who once lived there, as well as a more recent visit to the now further decayed doctor’s place.