revised workaday profile 26/07/2017
Welcome to the …. family in Yamaguchi! We are Hiro, Miki, Aka (2 years old) and Saka (baby), a young family that has a big vision for the future of this planet and wants to contribute to make it a better place! We are probably not the typical Japanese family; we live a simple life and have traveled a lot in the past so you could say that we are open minded and free spirits! We have many on-going projects including planting various nut trees, developing a tea plantation, renovation of an old house, starting a farm hostel, etc… all in and around Yamaguchi. We are also much involved in many community projects. There is always something to do and every day is different so we want volunteers to enjoy their staying with us and do things that they are comfortable with. But please be aware that work could be quite physical, especially in the summer months when it is hot and humid. You also need to be comfortable with living in the countryside, where there is wildlife (mosquitos, frogs, birds, etc) but we do provide a large mosquito net for the night. It is better if you come and stay for a longer period of time as you will get much more out of your experience and it will also make our life easier. Please be sensitive to and respectful of the Japanese culture; we value punctuality and good manners, but it is mostly common sense! Food and accommodation is provided and we more than welcome the international cultural exchange! For down-time, there are Onsen, temples, waterfall, hiking opportunities, beach, city shopping, etc… all within the area. We look forward to sharing our simple life with you!
Activities could be varied, from trimming grass, weeding the garden or the rice paddies, …to cutting bamboo or trees, and building a roof structure for the shed. We discuss when you arrive and decide what best suits you and it is also a good match with the current needs. These are some of the popular past activities performed by volunteers:
> cutting grass and weeds
> weeding the rice paddies
> weeding the veggie garden
> cutting bamboo and trees
> help with house renovation project
> cleaning the house
> planting trees
> planting veggies, flowers, tea, etc
> building fences
Please note that we are farmers and life in the farm is quite demanding sometimes; we start work early in the morning (7am). You also need to be comfortable with working independently with little supervision or instructions and have your own initiative.
We provide two electric bicycles for use while here, to travel to nearby places during your down-time. Sometimes we can take you to various interesting /beautiful places or we go together, but you can also walk or use public transport to many nearby attractions. In summer months, very often we take the afternoon off and go to waterfalls, beach, etc. We provide food including snacks for during the working breaks and we welcome sharing the cooking as part of the cultural exchange and sharing our time together. We also provide working clothes if you wish, so that you don’t need to use yours. You are also free to use the washing machine of course.
How many workawayers?
more than two
Cultural exchange and learning opportunities:
First of all, you will be living with a Japanese family and we will try and guide you through the local way of life, culture, traditions, etc. You will also interact with other local people which are very friendly and welcoming. In addition to the day to day cultural exchange opportunities, we are hosting an International dinner each Saturday evening where locals and volunteers spend time together in a relaxed environment. This is a popular event! In terms of learning opportunities, it is very much learning by doing and we look forward to learning from each other. We are open to learning new things and discussing your ideas and ideals. We will share our life, our experience and our ideals with you.
we can offer some monetary compensation when if we really need people to work longer hours ... Of course if this makes sense for us in terms of payback. But for 'normal workAway' hours there should be no compensation other then food and accommodation. we can say that people that have good skills and stay for longer, like a few months maybe, we can discuss conditions (monetary compensation for working longer hours). It's only fair.
this is to be discussed with the right people if you indeed have the required skills and also commit to working for longer time with us
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
Helping with Tourists
Help with Computers / internet
When you arrive, we can come up with a plan for our time together with input and wishes from everyone! If there is something you want to do or learn, we can plan for it. Everything else depends on what there is to do at the time!
We have several projects at the moment and will work on something different every day. Our goal is to live a simple, modest life and to construct a better future for all of us.
Tasks we do include:
- In spring, we plant new seeds and get the fields ready.
- In autumn, it's time for the harvest and packaging, and distribution to our friends and the community
- Every other day, we do weeding and maintenance work on our organic rice fields together. You will learn how to tell rice plants from very similar-looking grass plants which need to be taken out. Other farmers use pesticides to keep the wild grass from growing, but we do it by hand to ensure an organic way of farming!
- Every other day, we need to do weeding and maintenance work on our tea and herb fields. We grow Japanese tea.
- Around the area, we are responsible for cutting hedges, trees and grass for the community and for elderly people who cannot do it themselves anymore.
- Building fences is a normal part of our job.
- Collecting berries, tea leafs and Japanese herbs around the property and around the area in summer. For example, the Japanese herb Shizo has a very distinct nice taste and can be used to make a simple but very tasty drink.
- We would be very happy if you could cook food from your home country and show us and our friends how to make homemade food from your country
- If you want, you can take care of chickens and goats (feeding, maintenance of shack etc.) .Sometimes we have cute babies!
- We construct shacks and sheds by ourselves with used material (repurposed wood).
- We make firewood with used wood for the winter time, as it gets very cold in the winter
- We have other properties in which we are currently renovating. If you would like to learn about building houses Japanese-style, or like working in construction and renovation, you are very welcome to help
- ... lots more to do!
You will have a semi private space in our home with a futon under a big mosquito net. If we are very full you may have to share a room with another traveler/volunteer of the same sex.
The house in an open plan so we would like volunteers who respect each others privacy.
We also try to be eco friendly and would like volunteers who are mindful of power and water consumption.
We get up in the morning and do some work, then we have lunch around 11:30 or 12:00. After that, we do some more work usually. In the evenings, we eat together and sometimes go out to do something fun. Sometimes we have a lot to do during the day, and sometimes we take the afternoon off to take you to a nearby sight such as a shrine, temple, mountain, natural scenery, meditation with monks, onsen (Japanese hot spring), camping, bbq, hiking...if you have any wishes we are happy to help you with them! We have a day off about once a week to do some fun things together, or you can just relax! The help is spread out during the day and we have lots of little breaks to drink tea and eat some snacks. Usually it is about 4 to 5 hours each day, sometimes less, never more. If you are not feeling well or are tired, you can work less and relax a bit. The main thing is that you are happy!
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
We live in Yamaguchi prefecture, which is a beautiful rural part of Japan with lots of agriculture. There are beautiful mountains everywhere around us and temples and shrines around every corner.
In general, you will be able to get to know a lifestyle close to nature and close to friends, in cooperation with everyone around us. You will learn about different Japanese plants and how to farm them organically, how to construct without using complicated plans or materials, and how to have a happy simple life. We are happy to discuss opinions and visions and welcome any positive input you have to build a community based on cooperation and sharing.
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week