Sunday, 31 October 2010
It was a slow build up and then the snowball effect. This old farmhouse is just too big to start renovating. Endless. The house was more of a huge barn than a house and the holes in the walls where the clay walls had fallen out and bird's nests in the rafters and un-entered-for-years-rooms are somehow charming. At first there was an ambitious plan of making six massive cabinets that would at least get a fraction of the boxes and stuff off the floor. They filled up as they were completed and it didn't really seem to be making a dent in the volume of silk farming equipment weaving looms and cocoon reelers and a collection of old wood waiting to be made into something, a far out of control collection of everything. Space is a luxury in Japan and it quickly fills up as free storage for friends!
There are massive smoke stained rafters and beams and pillars. The third floor will have to wait but the second floor has been ripped out and is now being put back together. One convenient aspect to old Japanese farmhouses is that when you rip out the floor and replace it you also are ripping out the ceiling below. So here are a few snaps of what is going on. Thanks to my students for putting up with the hammering and sawing as you go about your work below. The space on the second floor will be a weaving workshop with room for more looms.
Luckily there is a small cedar mill a few kilometers away that reminds me of the cedar mill in Canada that kept me going for nine years. The house is getting an upgraded and remodeled gentrified look. All the poetry is being wiped out with every rotten piece of flooring replaced and each hole patched. Mentioning this to the Buddhist Priest/carpenter who is helping , he flatly replied that it was "Bad unhygienic poetry and it would be far better off with cleanliness." But maybe the dirt should have been scrubbed away, the holes in the wall left as they were and then a foot of sawdust thrown on the floor and trampled down and the weaving class expanded onto that instead of the theme restaurant direction these renovations are headed into. On the other hand, 'The smell of decay can be covered with the sound of construction.'