Intentional community-building project, green-renovating for houses, garden and fields. Sustainable practices. Otaru, Japan.

  • Japon
  • Enregistré comme favori 313 fois
  • Activité récente: 30.01.2023



 Séjour min. souhaité : Au moins deux semaines



  • Description


    About us:
    There's an old line that goes "What's the difference between an American and yogurt?.......The yogurt has culture." Which is to say I am American and as I'm in my 50's, I do tell old jokes.

    My wife Hiroko is slightly younger than me, but sh'es Japanese, so I have to admit she has more culture behind her. Her mother, Suzue, is pushing 95 and lovely, but having more difficulty remembering, etc.
    I am active in sports (road biking, snowboarding, ice hockey) and in the community--ran a small farmer's market for the neighbors to provide a safe place to get together, made and donated benches in a common space in central Otaru nd working to get a dog run going on this side of town. In addition, I've been working toward sustainability, such as reinvigorating the soil in my fields, planting fruit trees, making raised beds and water catchment systems, as well as landscaping and painting of concrete walls for a taste of color.

    We have lots of good neighbors and interact with them quite a lot, especially during gardening season....they give a hand with weeding, etc., and enjoy the various fruit and veg. This year was a bumper crop for corn, kabocha, sweet potatoes, strawberries blueberries and tomatoes...and I have high expectations for apples and kiwi production next year as well! And so do they!

    Hiroko teaches Japanese for universities in Sapporo and gets quite a lot of exercise walking/running with our papillon, Jimbei. We've taken on a rescue puppy Kanbei and trying to instill some manners...but he's more rebel than not, but with flashes of affection. Hiroko's mother generally goes to day service 4 days a week and has a sense of humor even as she becomes less active (lots of napping during the day). In short, a good chance to learn Japanese in a normal context, with help from someone who's a pro!

    Hiroko really likes cultural exchange and languages and we've both lived abroad--me, UK, Israel, Germany, Denmark, Hungary and she's lived in the US, Hungary and the UK.

    As the country opens up again to travelers, I am looking to expand the community as I bring 2 currently empty houses up to scratch for comfortable living.

  • Types d'aide et opportunités d'apprendre

    Types d'aide et opportunités d'apprendre

    Projets artistiques
    Pratique d’une langue
    Aide avec des éco-projets
    Compagnie pour pers. âgée
    Bricolage et projets de construction
    S’occuper des animaux
    Cuisine/repas pour la famille
    Aide à la maison
    Entretien général
    Aide informatique / avec Internet
  • Echange culturel et opportunités d'apprendre

    Echange culturel et opportunités d'apprendre

    As my wife and MIL are both Japanese, obviously there is the opportunity to see a Japanese dynamic inside here. And because of the nature of the property, there will be a chance to interact with people in the neighborhood.

    For the musically inclined, we happen to have a number of drums, Buddhist singing bowls, a shamisen, didgeridoos, etc., although no talent in using them!

    In a former life, GP was an intercultural trainer for major companies and government organizations in the UK, so he can provide extensive guidance on living in Japan.

  • Projets impliquant des enfants

    Projets impliquant des enfants

    Ce projet peut impliquer des enfants. Pour en savoir plus, consultez nos directives et conseils ici.

  • Aide


    In terms of the project:

    Thanks to workawayers, we completed the 1st stage of our project, renovating the main house and getting moved in. I would like to thank everyone for their efforts and have posted photos of the different projects people worked on, mainly the mum's room, the entryway and the deck, so you can see the finished job. We're so pleased with the process and the result!

    We have been in Otaru now for about 3 years and completed most of the renovations on the main house. However, we are still working toward sustainable agriculture on the fields and landscaping of the ground in general. As we're moving into the winter, garden work takes a back seat, but I'm working to get winter gardening up to speed...that will eventually entail a solar-powered lighting and heating system, automatic watering and semi-aeroponics. If I can make it entirely carbon negative, I will be chuffed! Expertise in getting it going is very welcome.

    1. Our property has a fair amount of land with it, but it has been idling for quite awhile. I don't like using pesticides and chemical fertilizers, so my approach for the fields uses the lasagna method and hugelcultur--if you're interested in organic farming, nice! This year I put in a raised bed for asparagus and strawberries, and am working to complete 2 other raised beds, but with the snow will be next year before they are ready.

    2. A long term goal is developing the property into the center of an intentional community and to start I am renovating 2 small houses to allow interested people to have a taste of the area. These also double as accommodations for workawayers, as Hiroko is very concerned about Covid and contact with her mother, who is getting frail. The major project for the 1st house this year has been insulation...and that project is at a very advanced state. Next up is making the kitchen beautiful and finishing the 2nd bedroom.

    3. The previous owner of the property left behind a lot of things, many of which have enough value to put them online to sell. I could use some help with that.

    4. The bath house is almost complete....finished with cedar inside and plumbing for showers complete....just need to get the water re-heater installed to be ready to couple of weeks? Can't wait to have my own onsen!

    I think that's about it...lots to do! So, help!

    I have lived in Japan and been coming and going for some 25 years or so, and can discuss some aspects of the culture with not too high a degree of idiocy. I'm not very good at categorical statements, though... As I speak Japanese well enough (I'm a translator), I am comfortable visiting places like Japanese-style pubs where everything is in Japanese--that may or not be of interest as you may feel left out if you don't speak any Japanese...or it could be a great opportunity if you do.

  • Langues

    Langues parlées
    Anglais: Courant
    Japonais: Courant

    Cet hôte propose un échange linguistique
    Cet hôte a indiqué qu’il souhaitait faire partager sa propre langue ou en apprendre une nouvelle.
    Contactez-le pour en savoir plus.

  • Hébergement


    Rooms will be available in the house we are renovating, with either a bed or a Japanese futon. Due to corona-virus, GP may eat with work-awayers as Hiroko's mother would be particularly susceptible if she got it. Breakfast tends to be Western-style, with bread, eggs, salad, etc., while dinner is usually Japanese-style, so miso-soup, fish, rice and side dishes.

  • Autres infos...

    Autres infos...

    Otaru offers plenty to do for sight-seeing and there are plenty of sources of information online about it. The same is true of Sapporo, which is close by. For those who prefer the outdoors, lots to do in the mountains or the ocean. For winter sports, Otaru is tough to beat...5 good ski areas within an hour (Tengu 15 min., Asari 20m, Kokusai 40m, Teine 40m, Kiroro 50m) plus the biggies a little further afield, as in Niseko, Rusutsu, etc., The back country also beckons for those with suitable knowledge. And I do a "front" country tour of surrounding hills when I don't have time to get out, as well as powder mornings on my little hill most days as a ritual with Jinbei...and Kanbei this year.

    As we've been in the area for several years, we can give some good recommendations of things to do. For most workawayers that has included glass-blowing and/or etching, and woodworking. Otaru is well-known for its craft work, so many opportunities are available.

    In terms of transport, I have several bikes and bus stops fairly abut the property. You may also have access to our vehicles, depending on the situation.

    Hokkaido is well-known for quality food and Otaru in particular for fish, so you can expect to eat some good sushi/sashimi. The property in Otaru is close to the ocean and a hiking trail up to a bluff overlooking it. As the port for this part of Hokkaido, Otaru has a relatively long history and is very popular for the architecture and small shops and walking street. Our property is right next to the largest private botanical garden in Japan.

  • Informations complémentaires

    Informations complémentaires

    • Accès Internet

    • Accès Internet limité

      Accès Internet limité

    • Nous avons des animaux

    • Nous sommes fumeurs

    • Familles bienvenues

  • Possibilité d’accueillir les digital nomads

    Possibilité d’accueillir les digital nomads

    We have a dedicated shared space in the log house, which is where we also work. Our office is upstairs and visitors can use the downstairs area, which includes a work table, lounge area (with wood stove) and kitchen.

  • Espace pour garer des vans

    Espace pour garer des vans

    Plenty of parking.

  • Possibilité d'accueillir les animaux

    Possibilité d'accueillir les animaux

    Open to well-behaved critters.

  • Combien de volontaires pouvez-vous accueillir ?

    Combien de volontaires pouvez-vous accueillir ?

    Plus de 2

  • ...

    Nombre d'heures attendues

    Relatively flexible, but generally expect a fair trade of accommodations and/or meals for work

N° de référence hôte : 816523315469

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Exactitude du profil: (5.0)

Échange culturel: (5.0)

Communication: (5.0)

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