The big update ... and the unveiling of the big dream.
I have made allusion to a "big dream" project for the past year or so now, but I never made it "public" (at least not on my blog) because in the beginning I was sick of feeling pressure, mostly imagined, to do what I say I am going to do, and of mentioning projects that somehow never seem to really happen, and by the time it was clear that this was something that was happening, I just never found the "best" way to introduce it on my blog. I was also pursuing a few other big dreams as well, and felt guilty about wasting time blogging about them instead of actually pursuing them.
Big Dream/Update 1:
Dream: Get the heck out of Tokyo.
Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time may have noticed that I have no overflow of love for life in Tokyo. I have been aiming to escape for some time now (in fact, back in the first year of my blog I mention how I almost moved to the nearest mountain area of Fujino. That dream apartment was rented a few hours before I called the realtor to say "I'll take it". In retrospect, I tell myself, that was a good thing, of course, who knows what would be different now if I had actually made the move.
Anyway, after a year in the beautiful small town of Karlskrona, Sweden, followed by several months in the mountains of Washington and Nagano respectively, I am once again living in a small mountain valley village. The big difference this time is that this time Tomoe will be joining me soon, and we will cease to be Tokyo residents.
Calling it a small mountain village is a bit misleading. In fact, it is one of the major ski resort areas of Japan - home to the '97 Olympics. During the summer, however, its quite quiet. This is Hakuba. This is where I am working from a month ago. This is where Tomoe and I will make our "base" as we search for a traditional Japanese style house in the surrounding, yet more remote, mountains.
So far I have a few leads, one that seems almost exactly what we are looking for... Imagine, a large traditional Japanese farm house with more then enough fields right outside the door (many houses we have found would require us to rent fields some distance from the house). This house is much larger than we need, complete with a room for the horses, which used to be a source of heat in the cold snow-country winters. The only down-side of the house is that it is snuggled closely into the side of a mountain shortening the amount of direct sun-light available to houses in more wide-open areas. The other negative, and something we will have to negotiate with the landlord if we decide we want it, is a ban on wood-burning stoves. The owner is afraid of fire.
Did I forget to mention that it is only 5,000 yen ($50) /month?
I am currently living in an abandoned hotel, a remnant of the bubble years and the big Olympic boom. The kitchen leaves something to be desired, and I always wait until I can get to the office to use the "comfortable" toilet, but my employer give me tickets for the local hot-spring bath, and I have a south facing room with two big picture windows. For the past month it has served me well. Once Tomoe gets here next month we will be moving into a smaller cabin owned by a new friend.
I will be sorry to give up the 5 am sunrise-light wake-up call, but am looking forward to not having to walk so far to the kitchen.
Hopefully it will not be long before we close a deal on a place of our own.