Oya-Part 3-The Abandoned Building Cliche

Oya-Part 3-The Abandoned Building Cliche Photo 1

I have a dirty little secret…..
Ok I have more than one, but the one I’m admitting to today, feels in photographic circles worse than admitting you like Justin Bieber at a Carcass concert.

I love abandoned buildings.

There is a strange quiet, yet nervous feeling that can only be achieved by ignoring a “do not enter” sign, climbing over a fence and finding yourself in a decaying building alone in the dying rays of the setting sun.
(season with autumn leaves for extra feeling of inevitable passing of time to taste)
It’s hard to explain to anyone who has never had the pleasure, but it is one of those victimless crimes that provokes clammy palms and a sense of ones mortality, that the other victimless crimes do but with much easier to deal with day afters.

So, it was with no small excitement that walking along after finding ourselves with an hour to wait for a boondocks bus after visiting Oya temple we came across an urban explorers wet dream, an abandoned building with no fence and a sign in a language I could pretend not to be able to read.

Cue kid in a sweet shop face and a perfect 30 minutes of clammy palms and a sense of my own mortality.

In case you missed them:- Oya-Part 1 and Oya-Part 2

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  • awesome building. What are the squatting rights like in Japan?

  • Hi there Uchujin,
    All very interesting. Several questions, but for now I’ll just ask one very simple one: why does admitting you “love abandoned buildings” to you seem like it “feels in photographic circles worse than admitting you like Justin Bieber at a Carcass concert”?
    R

  • @Pachiguy – Thanks for the comment.And if you have more questions please ask away!
    The reason it “feels in photographic circles worse than admitting you like Justin Bieber at a Carcass concert” is because in Japan at least it’s such a cliché to take pictures of abandoned buildings I feel ashamed to do it.

  • “In Japan at least it’s such a cliché to take pictures of abandoned buildings I feel ashamed to do it”
    Do you think this is something specific to Japan? My modest flickr experience says not, really.
    But there may be some very strange and not fully explained psychosexual urge among male Western foreigners – one that you and I may even share – to search out the abandoned as an antidote to the dominant pristine, something I could go further into but won’t for now.
    The one thing that baffles me is your total lack of curiosity – and this is something you share with many other ruinistas – about what you are looking at beyond a cute Nikon shot. Without the background, we really are in the realm of the pornography of ruins.
    R

  • @Pachiguy, Thanks again for your comment.
    Clearly the abandoned building cliché is not specific to Japan, as you say, a simple fickr browsing will make that clear.
    All I meant was that it falls into a certain category of photography here, on par with the cos-players in Harajuku, that I’m not sure I really want to be associated with.
    There are several stock subjects for “male Western foreigners” who have delusions of grandeur and call themselves photographers in Japan and whilst I am not completely innocent I would like to think that I avoid them whenever possible.
    As for your last sentence, your bafflement at my lack of curiosity, let me explain.
    I simply don’t give a shit what the building was or why it’s abandoned.
    My interest in them is more experiential, the feeling I get from being inside them. That’s it. (which is maybe why photographing it and putting it on my blog makes me feel slightly uncomfortable)
    I stopped caring long ago about the why’s and wherefore’s of anything that goes on here. Researching the background of this (or any other) building would spoil the experience for me with needless economic and political details that have nothing to do with me.
    In a country where my presence is barely tolerated I have learnt to see things as the natives do – 100% surface and nothing deeper.
    It is indeed a “pornography of ruins” (I love that! gonna steal it and pretend its mine) and I have no shame in admitting that I love a good bit of pornography every now and then.
    Cute Canon pornography, not Nikon.
    (oh and just for the record, I prefer mine without the pixelation;-)

  • Understood with your comments, although a part of me finds it
    a tad sad, and nothing sadder than your comment, “In a country where my presence is barely tolerated”… Goodness knows, I have a less than unshaking love for this country, but I’ve never felt less than tolerated. Not a great feeling, but then again… I would love to have a drink with you – can I offer to buy you one or two at my bar?