I was surprised (and sad) to discover in May that my children's old elementary school in my neighbourhood, Shinmei Elementary School near Nakano-ku's Minami-dai intersection, is currently abandoned, unused, and fenced up. Apparently, it is scheduled for demolition. A new school building is supposed to be built to replace it. I only discovered it by accident, as I was out for a walk one day looking for interesting things in the neighbourhood to photograph.
So where are all the local elementary school children going to school? Temporarily, they are going to another nearby school, Tada Elementary. I know Tada. It is adjacent to the Tada Buddhist Temple, the Tada Cemetery, and the Tada Shinto Shrine. In the days when the land here was still agricultural, the Tada family owned a lot of real estate. They still have the shrine and the temple.
When the school year started in April I did not notice a paucity of elementary school children because when I go to work I go in the opposite direction. My route causes me to notice the Fuji High School students directly across the street from my apartment who use the same local subway station that I use every morning. But that route is unrelated to the comings-and-goings of the local elementary school children.
Empty buildings make me feel sad because they cause me to imagine all the human life that went on inside them - life that feels present and is real, and that does not deserve less consideration simply because it's in the past.
But I could be wrong.