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Help Wanted ("Will you be my friend?", asks Mona)

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Help Wanted. Pass it on, please. Permalink To This Post

We are finally getting around to applying for status as an official WWOOFer host (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) - despite the fact that our farm will soon be covered with snow for six months. Of course you need not be a paying WWOOF member to come stay with us, so if you or anyone you know is even remotely interested in giving a few days, a week or maybe longer worth of your time to mainly entertain Mona, as well as help with the various duties listed below, in exchange for room and board, please contact me! kevin@onelifejapan.com

Who We Are / What We Do

We are an international couple with a kid (American, Japanese, and a mixture of both) living in a small Northern Nagano village. Among other things, we run an eco-tourism bicycle touring business, grow our own food, and are starting a health food bakery/food production business and farm-inn/backpacker accommodation.

Durring the non-snow months we farm and gather wild and organic vegetables and rice for our own consumption and some for sales online and at local events.

Durring the winter months our area is covered with two or more meters of snow. We offer some short hiking and cultural tours to experience Japan's "Snow Country", as well as focus on inside work, preparing for the next spring-fall seasons, web-development, research, etc.

You can learn more about our business and lifestyle through the blog you are reading now, and our business website.

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Volunteer Duties:


* Entertain Baby Mona


Volunteers will not be a "nanny", but while my wife and I work at home we need someone to entertain the little girl and give us some a little concentrated time to get our work done without her "helping" us to write emails and cut vegetables.

Families with small children are more than welcome to come out for a weekend or whenever you have time off!

Volunteers should enjoy dolls, picture books, stacking blocks, crayons, Sesame Street, playing in the sand/snow, singing, and tickling.

* Prepare For Winter

Getting fields ready for next year - weeding, helping to till, gathering compost, etc. Helping to tidy/organize house, helping with some do-it-yourself building projects around the house as we prepare to be certified as a farm-inn / backpackers accommodation.

* Snow Shoveling

Once the snow comes (mid-late December) help shoveling snow around the house.

Volunteers should be able and willing to do some physical labor, and get dirty, but need not be weight-lifters.

* Office Work

May include: Compiling customer email lists, updating website, preparing news letters, organizing files (digital and analog), web research on topics related to our business, web promotion (twittering, blog updates, etc).

Volunteers should have basic 21st century computer and web skills.

* Random

Anything that pops up. Maybe helping our neighbors in their fields, washing the van, accompanying us on a shopping trip to the city, scouting a bike or hike route, make a bike trip to the local produce vendor to buy Mona some grapes, etc.


Working Hours


Hours are always changing and flexible, but expect to work up to 6 hours/day at various tasks. Very rarely will anyone be asked to spend the entire day on any one chore.

In Return

In return for your assistance, you get a room with a bed and warm futon, and lots of home-made/home-grown, mostly-vegetarian, healthy meals. (For good workers we throw in a pillow)

Depending on how long you stay, we can give plenty of free time to explore the area on your own on bike, foot, ski, and snow-shoe. We are 1.5 hours by train from Nagano City. For longer volunteers, you will have time to make a day or overnight trip to there.

Aside from sporadic train service, there is little public transport. Volunteers should be self-motivated to entertain themselves, and fit and willing to walk/ride a bike or hitch a ride on their own if you want to see more of the village in free time. When we have business that takes us to other areas, we will be sure to take volunteers with us whenever possible so you can see more of the larger region.

We have no TV, but you can use the high-speed wi-fi connection, so bring your own computer if you need it to stay entertained, or else bring a book.

Hiking opportunities. There are a few hiking trails in the area, and plenty of nearby forests to enjoy. In winter you can enjoy snow-shoe hiking just outside the front door.

Skiing (December 25 - March). The local ski hill is very affordable and never crowded. We are 30 minutes away from a much larger ski resort (Nozawa) area as well. There are also ample areas for safe and easy "back-country" skiing accessible by a short snow-shoe hike. We have snow-shoes and some cold weather gear for hiking. We have snow-boards to lend (you will need your own boots).

Hot-spring baths. There is a local hot-spring just a five minute walk away. Opportunities to use other hot-springs in the vicinity (at your own expense) accessible by train or bike.


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