In Japanese it is called “haikyo” (“廃墟” for those longing for the exotic) but in English it is most commonly called “urban exploration”; the Japanese is more poetic though: “abandoned ruins” or else what is left behind when cities move –forwards or backwards. And it is not strange that visiting such spots in Japan is a favorite hobby for many: due to sheer urbanism (often expressed within the limits of the same city), economic fluctuations (especially in the last two decades) and the various natural disasters that are an inseparable part of life in the Japanese islands, the country is filled with carcasses of buildings, very often still containing proofs of the life they once had.
If to the above we add the Japanese fixation with photography and their fascination with anything old, rusty and timeworn (one of the basic elements of classic Japanese aesthetics is “sabi” which is either rendered with the character “寂” meaning “patina” or with the character “錆” meaning “rust” we end up with a sweet and sour cocktail, often depicted in an unbelievably beautiful way in pictures (usually by amateurs) like the ones in Haikyo.org and in Totoro Times but usually consumed on site, walking in the empty rooms, climbing shaky staircases and looking for the marks left behind by the people who once dreamed of their future in the exact same spots.
I am not sure that I understand why this activity hasn’t reached (or maybe “caught up in”?) Greece yet; maybe the culprit are once again the glorious ruins left by the people who lived here before over twenty centuries. The history of the very old is beyond any doubt anyway but what happens with the history of the less old; of the ones from last year or from yesterday? If we care for our continuity, documenting this history is, I believe, of equal importance.