Monday, May 30, 2011
Demise of a Classic Old Tokyo Manor
Two evenings ago I was walking home in the rain from Jiyugaoka Station, and spotted about 10 fire engines, a horde of people, and a huge billow of smoke that drifted up into the sky in spite of heavy rain from an approaching typhoon.
The sad fact was that a classic Taishō period (1912-26) mansion was up in flames, and the firefighters were struggling with a huge blaze that consumed a wonderful, historic wooden building.
Today I went back to see the outcome.
The photo (right) was taken just over the front gate, where a wheelchair was disturbingly left and police tape wound across the entrance. The destruction is pretty intense - the whole building is a skeleton now, with the refuse of burned telephone books, kimono, furniture, a TV, and even a coveted old reel-to-reel tape player parked on the small roof above where the front door used to be.
For Okusawa, a generally wealthy area, this is an incredibly big space. And sadly it was probably the largest old house I'd seen in Tokyo - till now.
This is the way the place was 18 months ago.
The trees surrounding the huge property made it difficult to get a decent shot from the street; I always intended to climb the wall (discreetly!) and get a couple of good photos. Now, sadly, it's too late.
I just hope the people got out of there safely.