Okinawa Tourism Information:YoungPeopleCompleteRelocatingRyukyuFolkHousebyThemselves!

Young People Complete Relocating Ryukyu Folk House by Themselves!

post : 2014.03.26 16:00

Previously we introduced  "Young People Relocate Ryukyu Folk House by Themselves".
They finished that folk house!
On the first Saturday of February along with the commemoration of the completion of the folk house, the free school Sangosya held a flea market on the grounds.

The cost of admission was one cup of rice!
People from the school would take the rice, cook it in a metallic kettle, wrap it in shell ginger leaves and give it to the exhibitors and customers along with pumpkin soup.

On that day it was warm enough for short sleeves, and on the grounds there were kids playing with toys, people playing instruments, people selling old goods and shops selling healthy food.

With the visitors and merchants enjoying the atmosphere and conversation, they celebrated the completion of construction.

The young people who helped build the house worked in completely different fields and worked on the folk house in their free time for two and a half years.
Some members while working on the house left because they found what they wanted to do and there were new members as well.

There were also many people who came to help after sympathizing with the previous article, and there were people from locals to tourists who came, even coming and staying all the way from the Kanto region, to help.

For Ereki and Mai, who the activity revolved around, from September of last year until this February stayed on the site and focused on relocating the house. They spent the summer under mosquito nets below the roof of the folk house being relocated and there were no walls during the winter so they stayed and slept at a prefabricated house nearby.

In the beginning they planned to finish the house in September of last year, however, tiling the roof and plastering was more trouble than expected. It would have taken three professionals around three weeks but with five people working in rotation, it took four to five months.

Due to building on farm land, if outer walls are put on it would incur taxes, so plans for fixing the house up any further are undecided, but for now the framework, flooring and roof is complete.

"I am a bit happy and a bit sad, like when you graduate from school. When we first took the house apart I had no idea how to put it back together. We were taking something apart, but because it's old, even if we try to restore it, it's warped and the wood is rotted.
So we had to cut wood and repair it ourselves.

When we still didn't have a roof, all the columns became slanted in a typhoon, and to fix them we hit them with hammers, pulled on them with ropes, put in supporting poles and drove in wedges. A group of elementary school children happening to pass by helped us.
Doing all that, we somehow got it done properly...
With the cooperation of the teachers of the open-air classes at Sangosya, we were taught a lot,

and when we were building we learned and noticed a lot.
There was some trouble but the biggest were human (laughs),
People would suddenly stop coming, there were periods when it was a single person but they would say it's impossible alone.
From the beginning we saw lots of things, both good and bad.”

When asked if they want to try to build another house, each member answered affirmatively. They said they want to try making a different kind of house, like an earthbag house, which is made from sandbags, or a pit house.
Some members also said they may continue on a path related to professional construction in earnest.
“With the end of this, there are people going back to their hometowns and people starting new lives. Everyone’s lifestyle is becoming different. But in 10 years the plaster has to be recoated,

so I think at that time we will get back together.
During that time some of the members will have kids,
And maybe the next generation will get involved.
If that happens, I want what we learned to be passed on.”

The relocated folk house will be used for field learning for Sangosya as well as holding periodic events like the flea market.

“On the grounds with the bathing area, the outdoor kitchen, the kettle and compost toilet (a toilet that doesn’t use water, returns compost to the earth with the power of microbes), you can live in tune with nature, so if those who aren’t against this type of thought used it, I’d be happy.”
What the volunteers gained from the wonderful experience of building a folk house is not something that can be bought with money.
For now this place will be used to enrich lives and will pass down the culture of folk houses to a new generation; it would be great to pass down the idea of protecting traditions.  

Events for Sangosya are planned to be uploaded to the Facebook page etc. as needed.

Location: Baten Elementary School,  Sashikiji Tsuhako, Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer Sandy