Today I've added a new word to my slowly growing Japanese vocabulary. Joining phrases for "one beer, please," "thank you" and "delicious," is haikyo, the word for urban exploration.

I was introduced to this term by the Web site Tokyo Times (via Dinosaurs and Robots), which has recently posted the third part in its series on Nitchitsu, an abandoned mining town three hours west of Tokyo and a site that now sits near the top of my list for urban ruins I most want to visit.

According to Tokyo Times, Nitchitsu housed around 3,000 people at its peak in 1965, but everyone has since moved out, leaving behind an astounding array of personal effects. The former doctor's office is especially intriguing with its piles of surgical intruments and shelves of preserved specimens, including what appears to be an honest-to-god brain in a jar.