"It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you. Without a dope beat to step to." Aaliyah
I used to have a little series called “On da block” where I would take photos of people around the area I live in.
You can check out some of the old posts here:
So yeah, I moved house about a year ago to a completely different part of Tokyo. However, like my previous area it is a residential area and
there are a lot of people hanging around doing something.
After a week of living here I figured out the fastest route to get to the station from my house. On this route there is a house that is
a ゴミ屋敷 Gomi Yashiki” (gomi = rubbish yashiki = mansion” which translates to rubbish/dump house). It is an abandoned house which has pretty much become a rubbish dump site.
What was weird is that the house next to it is really beautiful house… Having an abandoned house overflowing with rubbish in such a populated location was pretty mind boggling.
After a few months the weather changed and the house started to stink badly,
Once in a while I would see an old guy sitting outside of the house. He would normally be either reading, piling in rubbish or trying to stabilize the rubbish to stop it from overflowing.
I wanted to try and talk to him on a few occasions but I never followed through.
A few days ago when I was out taking a stroll in the morning I walked past the house and saw him there. I decided to try my luck and see if I could uncover the mysteries of the man and the building.
I walked up to him and he is sitting there on a chair he brought with him, listening to an mp3 player with several packs of newspaper surrounding him.
I watched for a while as he took newspaper out of a package, ripped it into strips and made stacks of it.
I greeted him with a hello and asked him how he was doing.
He looked up acknowledging me and smiling but not saying anything.
Hmm… what to do now?
Since he smiled I decided to push my luck and try to talk to him a bit more.
I asked him if it was his house and he said,
"Mansion!". Mansion in Japan means a block of flats/apartments.
I looked up and for the first time noticed that it was in fact a small apartment block and not a single house. I am guessing he owns/owned the mansion.
I told him my name and asked him for his but he just looked up, smiled and carried on ripping newspaper up….
Not too sure what to do I took a few pictures of the building and the garbage. He stopped what he was doing and looked at the camera.
I gestured at the camera and asked him if I can take a picture and he put down the paper he was holding and sat up straight.
He initially had a big smile on his face but then covered his mouth with his hand. Maybe he was shy or something, but I could still see the smile projecting through his eyes.
He then gestured me to come towards him. I came and he signaled me to give him the camera.
I froze for a second… Did he want to see the picture I took? Or was he going to take the camera and smash it into the ground or throw it into the garbage…
I decided to take a leap of faith and very slowly gave it to him.
He gestured me to stand against the wall and then took a photo of me… It was the x10 so the top has a few dials on it next to the shutter button. He pressed the menu dial a few times before finally finding the shutter button and taking a picture.
He gave me the camera back and got back to shredding newspaper.
I asked him where he lived and pointed at around the corner.
I then remembered seeing him come out of a house around the corner a few times in the past. I said goodbye and went to check out the house.
I got to the house and saw an unfortunate sight…
His house had started showing symptoms of the Gomi Yashiki he was camped outside of..
The front is starting to overflow with garbage, and you can vaguely see some garbage through the glass door..
In the end the mysteries I set out the solve remain unsolved and I am left with the following questions:
Who is that guy?
What happened to the mansion?
Can he talk properly/coherent?
What will happen to his current house?
Maybe I will try and speak to him again next time I see him. He gave off the vibe that he is all alone in the world..