Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled YouTubers explore abandoned Japanese luxury hotel, offer stark reminder that time comes for us all
Screenshot: The Proper People (YouTube)

Abandoned buildings, even though they’re nothing more than empty structures fallen into disuse, are incredibly eerie to look at. This is especially true when it comes to places formerly filled with life, like shopping malls, amusement parks, or, in the case of a recent video from YouTube channel The Proper People, old hotels that nobody visits anymore.

After traveling to Japan’s Hachijo Island, the channel’s Brian and Michael headed to the Hachijo Royal Hotel. Built in the 1960s during a boom in national tourism, the enormous luxury hotel closed in 2006 and has stood abandoned since. The Proper People’s video shows it as it looks now, falling apart in some places and remarkably well preserved in others, but overall completely empty and in the process of being reclaimed by nature.

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The two start off documenting abandoned cars and trucks, rusting apart and covered in foliage, then enter the building itself. The huge lobby is scattered with leaves, but hasn’t been vandalized, even though a few of the hallways leading off from it are filled with trash bags. Some of the hotel’s various rooms are overgrown with vines and tree branches that have entered through collapsed walls and ceilings while others are time capsules from the past filled with tennis rackets, TVs, and loose bedding. In the lounge, a playable piano sits undisturbed.

It’s a haunting, fascinating look at how even the most carefully constructed buildings start to fall apart and crumble back into the surrounding ecosystem when left untended over as short a period as 14 years. It’s also a really good mood corrective for anyone who was happily spending their day not dwelling on how ephemeral our lives—and the ways we devote them toward creating things that are but a speck of dust on the grand tapestry of the universe—truly are when we stop to think about it.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.

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