Recently I`ve been assisting with a restoration of an old style Kyoto house. The owner is managing a guesthouse in New York and plans to convert this Kyoto `machiya` into a guesthouse for Japanese and foreign visitors. Sadly many machiya are being demolished to make way for modern houses and development so local efforts are being made for restoration and preservation. I don`t earn a cent but as in other Japanese volunteer projects I`ve taken part in, the rewards are other than financial, such as the satisfaction in being more involved in the community, working with a new group of people and learning from them. I`ve always found Japanese to be very appreciative anytime I offer to help out. I gained a lot from constructing a log house back in Canada but until now, have never worked on a traditional Japanese house. There`s much to be done as the picture clearly shows and being `hands on` work I get pretty filthy but we`re making steady progress. I think my students find it interesting when I share my various experiences here (through foreign eyes) with them. The photos I take make great teaching materials too! I promise them a tour of the `renewal` when completed this summer.
That’s a really awesome experience. I love your tales of life in Japan. Where do you meet such great people and how do you find such special thins to do? You truly have a touch for finding sacred places and neat people.