In the continuing saga of The House: We drove up again to see the owner of the house. This time we came with or sempai, “Mr. Yamamoto” who you may remember from this post. He brought with him his own contract as an example, which he used to rent his house (which after ten years he bought and is now under an incredible remodel).
I’ll be brief. It was a successful trip. We talked with the owner for two or three hours. Mr. Yamamoto and he knew each other, both having met previously and by reputation and mutual acquaintances. Much of the discussion had nothing to do with the house and instead how our family, Yamamoto’s family and the owners family had only one degree or less of separation on many fronts. It was a real lesson for me on just how closely tied Japanese rural communities are, going back generations.
Anyway, when we finally did get to talking about the house we we showed him the sample contract and all of our reasoning. He gave us his point of view, including his worry about the laws surrounding renter rights, of which he is very aware. His biggest worry is that we will use Japanese law to take his land from him. He said that while he would never sell the land, he has no idea what his son might do with it once he is gone. And that it is possible his son may not want to keep it.
But the biggest breakthrough was just getting closer to a deal. We have to look up the meets and bounds of the land in order to draft the contract. We settled on rent (he pays taxes) of 10,000 yen ($130) per month. Which given that the taxes on the land are probably about half that amount, its probably a pretty good deal.
I will start serious work on the place from February, hopefully. Today, I went there just to temporarily shovel out the remnants of a caved in wall in front of the toilet, and hang up a blue trap to keep the elements out.
The floor was obviously going to be damaged from the wet dirt sitting there for months. I shoveled the dirt out and swept up as well as I could to allow the floor to dry, but the floor boards and sub-floor will have to be rebuilt in this section.
I put up the blue sheets, which will at least keep the rain out for now.
Just beyond the door there is our one and only toilet. This is going to be fun to deal with. I already stepped into the access port on the outside of the house once and had to drive home with a leg soaked in… well you get the gist. Our plan here is to put in a composting toilet. Which will be far more sanitary and much better smelling than the hole-in-the-ground.
Last I leave you with a peek inside the barn. The doors are hard to open and the place is CRAMMED with stuff. I have a feeling I might find something really old and cool in that place. We’ll have to see come February.