Saturday, October 31, 2009


「え~、子供の頃、何が怖かったかと言えば、薄暗い小学校の音楽室に飾ってあった作曲家の顔。あんな怖い物ありませんでした。 バッハ、シューベルト、メンデルスゾーン、そしてベートーベン。中でも一番怖かったのは、ヘンデル。えー、未だに音楽が苦手なのはあの肖像画のせいかもし れませんね。あの。今の小学校にも飾ってあるんでしょうか?もしあった先生、すぐにはずして下さい」
『古畑任三郎: 絶対音楽感殺人事件』

Erm, if we're talking about scary things when you were a child, I have to mention the faces of those componists, hanging in the dimly lit music rooms at school. There was nothing scarier than that. Bach, Schubert, Mendelssohn and Beethoven. The scariest among them was Händel. The reason why I am still bad with music might be because of those portraits. And... Do they still hang those portraits at schools? Teachers, please remove them."

"Furuhata Ninzaburou: The Perfect Pitch Murder Case"

One recurring motif in detective manga is the school curse. From elementary to high school, all schools have a school curse. Some might even have seven of them. (Or the ever clever: "That is the one of the seven school mysteries. Number eight!"). From the cursed staircase to the old abandoned X building to toilet-ghost Hanako, Japanese schools are not safe.

I have only seen this motif in manga, which are meant for kids, which explains why schools often appear as the setting for a mystery. But I guess there is some foundation to all this motif. Because Japanese schools can be creepy. "The old abandoned X building" does really exist.

Kyushu University has several campi spread across Fukuoka, with the Itou campus said to be one of the best equiped campi in the world. Most circles and clubs are also situated there and therefore it's quite aggrevating that Itou campus is in the western part, that is to say, the other side of Fukuoka. Which is way too far with the bicycle. And way too expensive with the bus. The International Student Center is located at the Hakozaki campus in the eastern part of Fukuoka, the original Kyushu University campus dating from the post-war period and home to faculties like letters and law.

Which is all fine and dandy, 'cept for the fact that they didn't really do maintenance here. Or something. It's just ugly. Which was incredibly shocking the first time I came here, having visited Waseda, which sorta set a high standard. But nowadays, I just imagine myself to be on a set for a horror flick or some mystery movie with cursed school buildings and stuff. For example, one of the buildings only has dimly lit corridors like on the picture. The four-floor building actually is not in use except for like a couple of international student classes a week and some crazy experiments from some sort of technical faculty which quite often sometime result in gigantic explosions. During class. The exterior is not much better. The name of the building is actually "the old Engineering faculty building" and I am expecting After-School Magicians running around commiting murders every time I get into that building.

There are actually loads of buildings on the campus which are deleted from maps (by blanking them), which feels like a futile attempt to erase the past or something. But those buildings are quite clearly still there. Like the old aircraft faculty building, which looks like the creepy tower from Professor Layton and the Curious Village (it looks worse up close). I fear it will collapse one of these days. Or this prison-like building, on which I could find no information.

But the creepy buildings are something I can get used to. And am slightly used to now. But the one thing I can not ignore, is this. And this. And this. Every 10 minutes, right across the campus. While I'm long past the stage of getting surprised every time one goes by, having the voices of teachers and students drown out every few minutes is kinda hard to ignore. You can actually count the number of windows at full resolution. They come that close.


  1. What the..?!
    It might work good to keep people awake though, or do they not sleep in your classes?

  2. Our classes are either very small (5~10 persons), or you get split up in smaller discussion groups, so not much opportunity for sleeping during classes. Of course, you need all the concentrating power you have anyway because it's so hard to hear wha/ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM/ during discussions.

  3. Amazing, I could just imagine a scene from a horror movie in a place like that.. Do you know Gunkanjima? I want to go there sometime, it looks very interesting and spooky!