Remnants of a man’s life in a rotting hotel room

Unlike long vacant homes and schools, abandoned hotels tend to contain very few reminders of the people who worked or stayed in them. And the Tower Hotel, which can be seen here, was no different, with room after room of faded hope and lost guests.

Except one that is, as tucked away in a dark corner of the building was a space once occupied by Kanbe Tadashi.

abandoned Japanese hotel

Whether he was actually living there it’s hard to say, but judging by all the stubbed out cigarettes, it’s a room where he certainly spent a good deal of time. However, with the hotel closing, finding a new job at the very least would have been a necessity. An undoubtedly stressful time that quite likely saw him spend a lot of time sat here. Smoking heavily. And silently staring out of the window. All the while wondering where he would end up next.

abandoned Japanese hotel

Perhaps sometimes looking at his reflection in the mirror too. Each and every time dealing with the horrible realisation that he wasn’t getting any younger, and work would be increasingly difficult to come by.

abandoned Japanese hotel

But, with interviews hopefully beckoning, and future work of some description in the service industry ahead, leaving several of his suits behind doesn’t seem to have made any sense. Clothes that appear to hint at an ending of sorts, but an end to what it’s impossible to say.

abandoned Japanese hotel


  1. Martin says

    Wow, that’s really depressing. One can only hope he won the lottery or something and bought new clothes. Excellent photos and narrative though.

    • says

      Thanks, Martin. Yes, it was a very depressing room, and like you say, all we can do is hope something good happened to him.

  2. Magnus369 says

    Considering the personal info, and the clothing (and oddly, the condition of both seem almost new in the pictures…), I’d say a quick dig through the obituaries would probably give an answer.

    • says

      Yeah, the clothes in particular appear fairly new, until you notice the colour of those trousers…

      Good point in regards the details on offer, but to be honest, I like the element of mystery that goes with haikyo. Such speculation always makes the buildings more interesting to me.

  3. Don says

    Lee, you are really hitting it spot on early in 2013! Beautiful tempo in the presentation of the prose and photos – love it.

  4. says

    Very impressive, yet very depressing. It sort of hits too close to home for me having been made redundant in 2011 at an age too close to 50. Found a new job in Luxembourg but I can really feel the pain you are describing in your photos and text.

    • says

      Thanks, but apologies for bringing back bad memories. Obviously not something you want to be reminded of. Really glad to hear things worked out though. Hopefully things were the same for Kanbe-san too.

  5. Winnie_dc says

    Gosh, what a post – the items of clothing hanging up still really add to the air of mystery as to what happened to this guy. Doesn’t really seem to point towards a happy ending though. Great post as always.

    • says

      Thank you!

      Yeah, while there’s certainly the possibility of a (relatively) happy ending, considering his age, not to mention the conditions he was possibly living, it’s hard to think otherwise…

  6. Theresa Amlong says

    Love your narratives. I can empathise with his plight. Gives one a bit of an uncomfortable feeling, doesn’t it? But the hope for him is there too. So mysterious and intriguing.

    • says

      Thank you.

      It does. Certain haikyo. Or in this case certain rooms. Do give off that feeling. Like peering into someone’s past. Invariably a past tinged with sadness too. But yeah, the hotel closing could have been a blessing in disguise for him. Obviously we’ll never know, butlike you say, it’s intriguing to think about it.

  7. winnie says

    Awesome post!

    We could think on the brighter side, maybe everything would be fine for Kanbe-san.

  8. MrSatyre says

    Great post as usual, Lee. Hopefully he didn’t do himself any harm; but perhaps we’ll never know (and perhaps that’s as it should be). I hope the left clothing is a sign of an epiphany and he left the old life behind in search of a new one.

    • says

      Thanks a lot!

      Yes, that’s the way I see it. I don’t think we really need to know one what happened to him. That’s a nice way of looking at the left behind clothes though. Hope it’s true.

  9. Willy says

    More dilapidation…
    It’s kinda odd, but I suppose in some way anyone could imagine there own personal history as a scrapped CV in ruin. A fair chunk of the contemplative to say the least…
    Thought provoking as usual Lee.. you do good work.

    • says


      A few are lucky finds, but generally the internet. A lot of research is usually needed though.

  10. Mattefan says

    There’s whole life behind these beautiful pictures.
    It’s incredible to think how every person hides an entire existence we can’t know.
    But these photos are more than enough to make us imagine decades of someone’s life and wonder what happened.
    Hope he’s fine now.

    • says

      Yes, hints about a life we will never know. Although like you say, there’s enough for the imagination to make some guesses.

  11. Zedd says

    I liked this post, but it was very brief… What hotel was it? Did you take any other pictures of the site? I’d love to see more than the few photos.

    • says

      Yeah, there’s a link to the main story (and more photos) in the description at the beginning of the post.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *