Our narrow little lane seemed a bit wider today. I noticed that some of the brush had been cleared from the side. Upon closer inspection I saw what had been hidden under a tangle of vines and bamboo grown out of control.
The old house had been buried under thick vegetation for years. In the six that we have lived on this little lane it was the first time that I had seen more than just the toilet pipe sticking out of the bushes.
This is what the first homes built in this area looked like.
There is no insulation in the walls. They were hot in the summer and cold in the winter. There is one next to it that is still in fairly good condition on the outside. At least twice a year I see a group of elderly folks cutting the grass and cleaning up around yard. I’m sure the house isn’t habitable anymore. A while ago I saw a mother cat and her kittens had made a home here as she was carrying them one by one inside through a hole in the wall.
Right across from our house there is one of these old homes.
It’s been two years now that Mrs. K has passed away. She had lived here all her life and was almost 90 when she died. Often when I am in the front garden in the morning my gaze rests on her home and I remember her beautiful voice as it came lilting into my garden. She was a karaoke teacher and used to practice singing in the early morning.
Part of our house still has these type of walls- as the original home was actually one of these. It had been remolded a bit many years ago. The newer part is about 45 years old…the older parts 70 or so.
Hubby and I were chatting this morning over tea. He recalled his childhood winters. Of course there was no central heat in the house. The ofuro (Japanese soaking tub-or bath tub) was not attached to the house-you had to walk a bit across the yard to get to the wood slat shack it was housed in. There were gaps in the wood walls and the winter wind whistled in making bath time pretty chilly in cold weather. He remembered one winter there were little piles of snow inside along one wall where the wind had driven snow through the cracks. When he was old enough it was his job to start the fire and heat the water for bath time.
How starkly opposite of how I grew up and yet here I am…living in rural Japan…without central heat all these years later. Life is interesting sometimes-isn’t it?