Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Last days

Last October I photographed inside an old, private Japanese house (for a potential project which hasn't come to fruition yet). Here we are in April, and the house is now torn down after it was decided only in February it couldn't be kept up any more. It survived the 1923 earthquake, the 1945 fire-bombing of Tokyo, the 2011 quake (and survived both quakes even though parts of its extensions are just supported by wooden poles on top of stones). But it couldn't survive the commercial needs of maintenance. I couldn't go inside to photograph last week, but thanks to a friend's introduction, the workers allowed us to photograph the house from outside. These are a few before-and-afters.

The house had been inherited a long time ago by Christian nuns. They were still living in it when I took the photos last October but they are now elderly and have moved to another place. There was no one left to maintain the place now – not enough Christians in Japan to fund its upkeep, I guess – and so it was sold. And not enough rich people who want to spend money reforming or maintaining such a place of their own. So my guess is, an apartment block will be built there since there were two joined houses and a sizeable garden before. Everywhere, wooden things with character disappear, and concrete things without replace them! (Of course, new buildings are earthquake resistant, but then this one survived two very sizeable quakes!)

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