In 2007 the Seika Dormitory in central Tokyo went up in flames. The roof was burnt away and flames roared up the building’s old stairways and licked at rooms full of possessions, melting and burning some unrecognizably, leaving others coated in a thick mask of sticky black ash.
Skeletal roof girders remain.
Did anyone die in the Dormitory fire? I don’t know. I hope not, but so many of the rooms were left with so much stuff that seemed still in good-ish condition (heaps of books, vinyl records, clothes, diaries, photo albums) that I have to wonder. The dormitory was for Chinese exchange students to stay at, so hopefully they just decided not to go back and salvage anything
I felt quite uncomfortable wandering around this haikyo. The abundance of personal stuff left in rooms, everywhere, sometimes unburnt, sometimes melted beyond recognition, coupled with the very recent date of accident (2007) made me feel like a kind of ghoul. I don’t want to feel that way, and it’s not the reason I go to haikyo. I’m more interested in older ruins and more impersonal ones, where nature has invaded and altered the place. In those ruins you can get the sense of a new beginning even in the death of a structure.
In the Seika dormitory it just stank of death and sadness, dreams perhaps burnt away, lives left half-lived then abruptly cut off- whether anyone died there or not.
Overwhelmingly it felt sad to be inside.
Central hall, flanked by 4 rooms either side, 3 stories high.
One of the lesser-burnt rooms. Perhaps it has been ransacked for valuable already, with all the boxes lying around.
One of the worse-burnt rooms. Everything here is charred rubble.
A chair on a bed, I don’t know why.
Melted washing machine.
As a result I guess I didn’t photograph the individual rooms that much. They just seemed too individual. In one room clothes were laid out on the bed as if to be worn the next day. In another room a child’s diary filled with colorful drawings poked its head out of a desk drawer. Who was I to come and rifle through these things?
So mostly I stuck to the structure. When I emerged onto the roof I actually felt some of the weight slough off. It felt good to be back in the open air, able to pretend this was just another ruin with a great view of the city.
A little overgrowth does the heart good.
Peeking back into the destruction.
Overlooking from the top perch.
A half and half view.
Glimpsing the exterior.
I had an idea of something fun and playful to do with the video at my next haikyo, but this didn’t seem the place to try it out. Maybe the next one.
See more explores in the Ruins / Haikyo galleries-[album id=4 template=compact]
You might like my dark fiction here, inspired by ruins.