Seeing a Man about a House (Part I)

This post is premature, but I don’t give a ****! I’m pretty excited and optimistic. Today we talked to the owner of The House. He remembered us from the first time we expressed interest a couple of years ago, and he was extremely receptive, saying he would be happy to let us use the house and the land attached to it. He gave me permission to enter the house to do a thorough inspection before we meet to go over the details.

Last week I took an afternoon bike ride out to the little hamlet the house is located in (only about a 30 minute ride from my wife’s family home in town). I was going on a survey of the surrounding area. I had never had the chance to actually walk up the road to see what condition the upper part of the valley was in.

At the bottom of the valley I took this picture, in which you can see The House in the foreground on the left, with the rest of the hamlet behind it. Everything between me and The House used to be cultivated rice fields…

1. Ahhh, yeah I don't think the weed-wacker is going to suffice...

On the other side of the hamlet, just beyond a Shinto Shrine I ran into some cultivated rice fields, beyond which I could only see forest… a wall of trees.

2. Cultivated Rice Fields further up in the lower part of the valley

Needless to say I was surprised with what I found beyond that wall of trees that screened the upper valley from the lower valley…

Extensive Kabosu Orchards:

3. Looking down to the Wall of Trees in the Lower Valley

4. Looking across the upper valley

5. Kabosu! Kabosu! Kabosu!... Everywhere Kabosu!

6. Near the furthest extent of the Kabosu Orchard

The orchards were beautiful and clearly well cared for. I hope I can meet the person responsible for them some day and maybe learn a thing or two about the widely adored (at least in these parts) Kabosu.

Going Further up the road lead me into a mountain forest and I could tell that I was probably the first to come that far in at least a year or two. Unfortunately I had to turn around before I got to the end, but I will be taking that hike again sometime soon I am sure.

7. I smell Inoshishi in them thar trees

8. Although just a trickle this far up, a river does run through it...

I put together a little graphic using an aerial photo taken of the valley in 1974. The Valley has obviously changed a lot since then but it should help place the photos in perspective a little bit.

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6 Responses to Seeing a Man about a House (Part I)

  1. kenelwood says:

    Brodo, thanks for sharing this adventure.

    Bet you could find more updated aerial detail in Yahoo or Google maps. In the picture, is that a pond just below the hamlet ? Those abandoned fields look ripe for guerrilla plantings; the valley terrain scalable; and the roads in good shape. I see a couple of ginkgo trees growing alongside the kabosa (You’ll get nuts if they’re female). How old do the neighbors look? In a few years the entire valley could be under your family’s stewardship.

    Looking forward to (part II),

    ken

    Like

  2. brodoland says:

    @Ken; I tried both Google and Yahoo, but the resolution is not even close to as good as this photo, which was taken by plane. I imagine that is a retention pond just south of the hamlet, though I haven’t gone to take a look at it yet. The river runs along the southern edge of the fields. I will learn fairly soon what the exact boundaries of the property are. And from what I know of the hamlet there there are likely two or three families involved in the cultivation in those pictures, and yes they are all elderly. Hopefully I can use my relative youth to help them while I receive their knowledge.

    Like

  3. FreeB says:

    Currently reminiscing a little bit.
    You know I’m following with interest as well.
    Good Luck Man!

    Like

  4. john e says:

    Looks like a great place to live, hope all goes well

    Like

  5. brodoland says:

    @ FreeB: When’s your next visit to the J-folks? When you come make some time to come visit us down here.

    Like

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