I often find old and seemingly abandoned structures while hiking and exploring in the Japanese countryside; including houses, sheds and even complete farm compounds and one building I remember which seemed to include the old community post office! Many of these structures remain in relatively good shape though most display serious signs of decay and structural degradation. The mountains of central Japan are blessed with plentiful rainfall and warm and humid summers which encourage rapid and prolific plant growth, and its not uncommon to find old buildings which have been completely reclaimed by the forest. Now when I move through the mountains I tend to keep my eyes alert for odd-shaped mounds of green or brief glimpses of tiled roof peeking through a dark grove of trees.
The most incredible find I can recall was a fully furnished old home roughly 100 meters off the road which had been completely covered in dense plant life and surrounded by young trees. The place was very spooky and as I picked my way through the green canopy on a rainy afternoon I noted that I was passing along a garden path where beautiful stones had been laid along with an old stone lantern. These splendid items remained in place despite the owners permanent departure and gave the garden an uncanny feel. I found the front door was open, and when I peeked inside I could see a tatami room at the end of a corridor where a kotatsu table was standing with what appeared to be a tea pot resting atop. I could see a kamidana god shelf positioned on a high shelf and many household furnishings. Vines had crept through the doorway into the house and I could hear the dripping of water from various holes in the roof. The sight was quite unsettling and I quickly retreated away to the road and have not returned since. I am not a superstitious person though something about this particular abandoned house gave me the sense that I was trespassing on a forgotten life.
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