Our close friends, the Rutt family had been planning to spend the weekend camping only 10 minutes away from the house, so we took the opportunity to join them, relax and get a feel for the outdoors in our future locality.
We relaxed lots, enjoyed the fresh air and although I'd Friday morning arrived with a hangover from last thursday's drinking with friends in Ebisu, by Sunday afternoon I was red cheeked with no bags under my eyes. Especially enjoyed walking our Border Collie under the brightness of a full moon surrounded by stars and spending a couple of ours in a rotemburo in conversation, followed by sitting around a roaring camp fire toasting marshmallows.
Our friends had mentioned to the campsite owners that we'd bought the house - and we soon learnt they too had a house in the same village and had been familiar with our new place for much of their lives! It's apparently the largest house in the area which had been built and owned by a senior family in the village about 150 years ago. Suzuki San, who has lived in the village all of his 73 years (Looks about 50!) was particularly keen to visit the house with us, so we went for another visit on Saturday afternoon.
His experienced eyes confirmed the main building is of excellent quality, but does need quite a lot of restoration.
A sign of quality of this house is the entrance on the South / East corner of the house which was for very special occasions or receiving important visitors, whilst the main entrance on the centre of the East facing part of the house was for normal day to day use.
Walking around the garden he suggested which trees & shrubs should be kept, as well as lots of other trees that should be removed to make more light, suggesting also that we might be better off having a lot od wood professionally removed and sold, then buy more timer as we need it with the proceeds.
He also spent time with us later offering his experienced advice on irrigation, tree root removal, roof maintenance, etc. and even showed us around his own family house which is around 110 years old, the very place he was born 73 years ago.
So we made some new friends locally - people Mark has known for about a decade & good people to know when taking on a project like this.
Whilst there, I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of trees and features.
The Kabuki gate:
This gate is huge. To give some idea - either side of the entrance there's enough space to park a car under shelter (Temporarily this is what I plan to do till the garage is built in a few years).
We hope to put some doors on the gate at some point, as there's a small door for people to get through. We'll look at other Kominka to find the design that will best suit then have these specially made & hung.
The Kabuki Gate's roof design will be the style we're hoping to emulate for the garage / workshop as well as the conversion of the outdoor barn to guest quarters, eventually.