Checking Out the Action
Now that we had our viewings out of the way, we made our way back over to Magino to see Kaori and Byron, who you may have read about in months past (or seen on Vice, on Akiya Hunter, and multiple times on Seeking Sustainability Live). We’ve said it before, but in case it’s been forgotten or overlooked, we might be in the business of selling vacant houses in the middle of nowhere, but that’s not our only calling.
If there’s one thing that Japan’s inaka will teach you, its the true value of community, and if you’re thinking about moving out there, its a good idea to get a read on the local environment sooner than later. This is something we pride ourselves on facilitating, and so on this trip we decided to take our client not just to view houses that matched their search parameters, but to introduce them to people who have already done what they’re thinking about. In our minds, there couldn’t be anyone better than Kaori and Byron.
First stop was their farmstead, Kasamatsu Farms, which really has to be seen to be believed. Built almost entirely by hand and in the most DIY fashion I believe I’ve ever encountered, Kasamatsu’s farm plots, farm houses, and integrated infrastructure are really quite miraculous to me. That they’ve managed to pull all that off more or less by themselves is inspirational to say the least.
I’ve been around the farm before, but our client is interested in permaculture, bread ovens, and other items under the umbrella of sustainability, and so Byron took us around. It being winter, there’s not all that much growing, but they do have a green house with kale, lettuce, and other leafy greens that they’ve kept going during the colder months.
They’ve also got something like 100 chickens, which is a large number of chickens, and they lay a large number of delicious, organic eggs. These are available on their website, and I highly recommend making them your go-to source of organic produce.
We also toured the farm house, which is much more complete than I last saw it in August. The 2nd floor still hasn’t been installed, so you’re still walking on top of slats which is a bit harrowing, but the walls are all done, the roofing is getting there, and Byron even started installing copper panelling with the intent of having it naturally rust and get that nice green patina everyone so likes. Such creativity!