The beginnings…

Been living in Japan since 1987, first as a foreign student, and subsequently as an academician.
Due to the unstable situation and of course for a lack of funds, have always been staying in apartments.
In the process, we had the ‘privilege’ of putting up in a rather old (40 over years) government apartment.
(Good thing was the low rent, which enabled us to save up a bit of funds.)
It was quite an experience to inadvertently hear families arguing and throwing things out the window… and of seeing kids using the apartment walls to practice tennis during the weekends (drove us nuts)…
My missus used to periodically, albeit softly, mumble into my ear, hey, life is too short my dear… we should be staying in our own house, you know…

Just then, two things happened in our favor.
One, job stability came by, and the government announced that the building we stayed in was going to be torn down.
So, out we went hunting for our own place…
I had always love cycling and do not mind staying within a distance of up to 15 kilometers away from work.
While at the government apartment, I was about 7 kilometers away from work.

We searched for about 6 months or so.
Looked at several properties but uh, no no…
Then, my missus saw a tiny advert in the local property magazine and immediately, we were there, checking out the place.
I fell in love with the property… at first sight…
The Japanese rock garden, the fully matured trees, tens and tens of them…
The slope on the hillside to the east of the property acting as a buffer of sorts…
The huge sakura tree… the tall Christmas-tree-like Japanese (Momi) Fir tree…

Inside the house, an elderly couple was already negotiating with the real estate agent.
While waiting for our turn to negotiate, we took a good look at the property… built 28 years ago and still solid… we then talked to the agent and made friends with the elderly couple…
My mind was already set even as the elderly couple offered to show us two other pieces of property in the vicinity…

After bidding goodbye, I instantly called the agent… oh, gomen nasai, the house was already taken up by the elderly couple, came the reply.
Ooh, it was as if the walls came crashing down on me…
As much as I felt dejected, my missus stood by… well, we can look for another place…
And as if lady luck has been observing us, that very same evening, the agent called…
The elderly couple decided to give way to the two of you… the wife could not drive (nearest bus stop is two kilometers)… and they think that the two of you are a really nice couple and would probably make a good house owner for the property…
Ooh, feeling euphoric, I wanted to climb up a tree and howl…
The next day, armed with the necessary documents and funds, we were ready to sign the papers…
That was in July 2005…

The size of the property is 248 ‘tsubos’ which is equivalent to about 825 square meters.
There are actually two parts to this property, the flat part (about 429 square meters) where the house is, and the sloping part (396 square meters) where the trees (sakuras, pears, persimmons, loquats, oak, apples, maple, coral tree, etc.) grow…
The Japanese garden is on the flat part, right in front of the house in full view from our dining table at the hall.
The flat part is comes under the ‘jurisdiction’ of my missus.
She plants mainly herbs and flowers, plus there is a special patch where she grows wheat.

The sloping (rough and tough) part comes under my care.
It was so fully choked with plants that we could not even walk down.
Weeds were everywhere… (they still are, though…)
Mature trees are everywhere, and the sakura tree is so huge that the sun was blocked in many areas.
Which means to say, it was not really practical to do vegetable gardening there.
(This was another reason why the elderly couple gave up as they thought it would be very difficult to plant veggies at the slope.)

And if luck were on our side again, the neighborhood is not very inhibited due to the long distance from everywhere (hospitals, supermarkets, department stores, schools, banks…)
So, incidentally, the piece of land opposite our house was vacant and was for sale.
There had been quite a stream of potential buyers coming to see the place.
Then it hit me… let us kill three birds with one stone…
We acquire the property and (1) we get to upkeep the peace and quiet around our house (2) we get to continue enjoying the views of the hills right from our dining table… and (3) we can use the land for vegetable gardening…
So, after some negotiations (my missus did an excellent job at this while I just kept quiet), we were ready to sign the papers…
That was in May 2007…

Today, I realized that we actually got to kill more than three birds…
The road leading to our house is a no-through road… it is sandwiched between our two properties and it ends just where the two properties joined.
We have used the road (which is privately owned by the house-owners in the vicinity including us) as if it were ours, hehe… to hold garden parties…
This location is very private and I think we do not create any inconveniences for any of our neighbors…  (we invite them once a year in autumn.)
The property opposite our house is about 80 ‘tsubos’ or 264 square meters.
(The combined size of the house plot and the property opposite comes to about 330 tsubos (or 1084 square meters.)
Since it is adjacent to our house plot, the configuration is similar.
The western half is flat and the eastern half, sloping.
The flat western part is filled with vegetable beds today while the sloping eastern part, with fruits trees (pears, plums, grapes, figs, oranges, olives, mimosas, sakuras, wild roses).

Now, three years after digging and digging in the weekends on the vegetable plot, we have decided to give it a name…
In the honor of my ‘suweetohaaato’ (through the initial alphabet of her name), this is the beginning of Potager Y…

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About Lrong

Gardening, I adore... Photography, I cherish... Scuba diving, I fancy... Shakuhachi, I relish... and barefoot walking, I revel in...
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5 Responses to The beginnings…

  1. DT says:

    Been reading ur blog for awhile. Such a nice place u haf there. I can only imagine the cottage-type of life u r having there. Must be fun. Btw, I'm a Malaysian from Ipoh.どうぞよろしく。

  2. Lrong says:

    DT… thank you very much for reading my blog… hope you enjoy it… life here is really lovely, I must say… are you working (or studying) in Japan? こちらこそ、よろしくお願いします。

  3. DT says:

    Hehehe… nope i am not working or studying in Japan. I am starting to learn Japanese language with the Perak-Malaysian Japanese Friendship Society. 🙂

  4. Lrong says:

    Ah so desu ka… Ganbatte kudasai…

  5. DT says:

    どうもありがとうございます。 :)will look forward to more of ur post about japan in the future.

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