Ryogoku Station Area

Going from right to left; the end of the platform of Ryogoku Station and then the old station building (now being used as a restaurant and souvenir shop), and then the Kokugikan sumo arena (green-roofed structure) where the Tokyo sumo tournaments are held, with the Edo-Tokyo Museum behind it (to the right, in the building with the unusual shape).
     In 1989 or 1990, I was wandering around in Ryogoku at about 10:00 p.m., when I stumbled upon an old concrete building that had what was clearly a hotel front desk inside the unlocked door, but obviously not in current use, and there was not a soul in sight.  Letting the desire to solve mysteries rule my actions, I pushed the door open and wandered into the building.  For the next 30 minutes I wandered around inside, wandering around dimly lit halls, going down to a creepy basement, and going up to the top floor where there were abandoned rooms facing the river - which must have been a nice view before the mammoth freeway was built between the hotel building and the river, but about all I could see was an elevated concrete river of cars, trucks and buses.
     Eventually, I bumped into a man in one of the hallways in the upper-center of the building with dark rings under his eyes (a lawyer by trade and an apparent habitual overtime worker) who (after getting over the initial surprise of suddenly meeting me) told me that the hotel had been built when Ryogoku was a rail terminal - before a bridge had been built over the river - and that it had been somewhat of a luxury hotel before WW-II and then the US military had used it as woman's residence for female members of the military during the occupation.  At the time I stumbled upon it, the building was being used as an office building (with the old rooms upstairs left as they were) and the owner wanted to tear it down, but a few stubborn tenants were still holding out.  I looked around the slightly spooky hallway and commented to the man "It looks like there could be ghosts here", to which he replied with a purely serious face "Yes - there are ghosts here".  I started to laugh, but when I looked into his eyes, he really didn't seem to be joking, so I decided to take his word (and my feelings) for it.
     I was taking video at the time and so I have not a single still picture of the building, which I greatly regret.  Someday I'll go through those old video tapes and get some screen capture images....  FYI, the (now gone) hotel and river are in the opposite direction from the viewpoint of this photo.
                                                                                                                                       Copyright 2004, by Lyle (Hiroshi) Saxon - Images Through Glass, Tokyo, Japan