Category: Household
  • OMG, not enough tiles

    OMG, not enough tiles

    Today I was feeling healthy, strong, and motivated enough to sort the tile mines so I can start working on a tile pattern for the doma. I found all the tiles that are 13mm thick, moved them into fresh piles, and counted them. Here’s my inventory: This should cover somewhere between 9.8 and 12.8 square […]

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  • Wallpaper & materials

    Wallpaper & materials

    In Japan, paper is the wall covering of choice. Paint is less common because painted walls show minor earthquake damage more easily than wallpaper. Also, because paint is done less frequently, the tape and putty used on drywall isn’t as fine or tapered as it is in the US, for example. So wallpaper is the […]

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  • Wired-in lights

    Wired-in lights

    I have been through numerous paper and digital catalogs and this morning I had about a hundred open browser tabs of lighting companies in Japan. It’s been months of comparison and research. I have finally figured out most of the lighting fixtures that I need to purchase for the electrician to install. I want Tod’s […]

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  • Maura’s learned to trust

    Maura’s learned to trust

    With back-to-back visitors since the end of March, Maura has made a huge change in personality. He has been a skittish cat, dashing off every time someone comes to the door. But over the last couple of months he has been learning to trust our friends. He will sit in a room with me and […]

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  • Persimmon Wash

    Persimmon Wash

    For the past two days, Jo and I have been applying kakishibu, persimmon tanin dye, to the cedar cladding on the outside of 555. It feels like washing the house. The kakishibu is non-viscous liquid, barely thicker than water, so we have filled our buckets with the dye and used rags to apply it. I’ve […]

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  • Cedar flooring

    Cedar flooring

    In the spirit of using local materials, a lot of our house is being constructed with sugi – cryptomeia japonica, a cedar endemic to Japan. I hate sugi. Because of its pollen, I take antihistamines for 10 weeks every spring. Most of the local sugi are mature, having been planted post-WWII as an economy boosting […]

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  • Water courses

    Water courses

    555 is wet. There are springs and seeps through the land. Before we built the house, I drew a map of the drainage channels and wet spots that I knew about. Two years later, each big downpour teaches me more about the way the water pools and drains. There are places where this might be […]

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  • Hardscaping plans

    Hardscaping plans

    Now that the scaffolding is down, I am watching people move around outside and I’m getting a strong sense of the spaces around the house. And after so much gardening and weeding the past couple of weeks, I am certain that I do not want to weed every inch of the property. So around the […]

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  • Hatake report, late spring

    Hatake report, late spring

    The garden was visited by a wild boar for the first time since before I planted anything. The stinky holes where it was digging for who-knows-what are almost like steps. Convenient! Jerusalem artichokes are clogging everything, volunteering from last year’s untended crop. The whole plot was overrun with weeds that I had ignored for a […]

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  • Trimming the edges

    Trimming the edges

    While I have enjoyed the open walls and the views through the house, the time is coming to put walls up. This interior work will change the sense of space in the house completely. I have been wondering how the edges will work. How much of the beam will be covered? What will the boundary […]

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