Just the word “Japan” can make you think of manga, maid cafes, and bright neon lights. But Maan Limburg, a Dutch photographer, sees Japan as a bunch of empty conservative housing in the countryside.

Her pictures of these places, including houses that were openly destroyed by natural disasters and closed theaters where the lights were still on, are now in a book called “The Lost World,” which came out in May. One in every 1,500 people in Japan is over the age of 100, making it one of the superior countries with the oldest people. As more young individuals move to cities to find jobs, it’s getting harder to keep up with the countryside. And that’s not the only big thing that changed the way Japan looks. Events like earthquakes, typhoons, and the nuclear disaster at Fukushima have also caused a lot of damage or forced people to leave their homes. This is where akiya, or ghost houses, come in. In 2014, the government released a report that said if things keep going the way they are, about 900 villages and towns in Japan will “go extinct.” There are so many empty homes that some places are even giving them away for free. But even free houses aren’t always the answer to the problem of akiya in Japan. Even though other countries with aging populations have given or sold very cheap houses to foreigners, they often come with a visa or permit to live there. 

The country has always been a great place to live in. And its events being recorded in a book is a thing to remember.