A return to Nichitsu mining town #2: The school

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.

Nichitsu school

And where kids once careered down the corridors.

Nichitsu school

Or clattered in and out of classrooms, regardless of the rules.

Nichitsu school

There is now only silence.

Nichitsu school

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.

Nichitsu school

Like drums left discarded.

Nichitsu school

Or pianos that are now unplayable, let alone unplayed.

Nichitsu school

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.

Nichitsu school

Instead choosing to leave it behind in a room that’ll never again have any festive cheer funnelled through its speakers.

Nichitsu school

And in Japan, where all manner of rules are continually, almost religiously, repeated, this discarded and slightly damaged megaphone seems especially subdued.

Nichitsu school

Silently suggestive of the sounds that were once an integral, and no doubt sometimes irritating, part of the school.

Nichitsu 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.

Petal picture practice

With the brief cherry blossom season just about beginning, even though the blooms aren’t yet at their beautiful best, those who favour photographing flowers fortunately still have the pleasure of a few other petals to get some last minute practice on,

Japanese photographers

before the real business soon begins.

Japanese photographers

When it’s spring again, I’ll bring again…

Old women’s favourite, Max Bygraves, once warbled that, ‘When it’s spring again, I’ll bring again, tulips from Amsterdam’. A thoroughly commendable sentiment and no mistake, and one that without a doubt has a much better ring to it than, ‘When it’s March again, I’ll try to manoeuvre again, tulips to Tokyo’s Marunouchi district’.

However, as un-lyrical a line as the latter may be, it has actually been managed, with beautifully coloured blooms briefly brightening up at least a bit of the capital’s business quarters — an event that proved very popular with men in masks.

Marunouchi tulip fair 2010

Mothers with mobiles.

Marunouchi tulip fair 2010

And more amazingly, massive mutts.

Marunouchi tulip fair 2010

Japanese workers working #25

Conscientiously waving their red sticks about at the side of the road in a bid to ward people away from already well cordoned off construction sites, Tokyo’s enormous army of suitably attired safety facilitators are arguably as common a sight in the city as convenience stores and coffee shops, although whilst often just as uncalled for, they are at least considerably less characterless.

Tokyo red stick waver