Before and After

We completed Phase I of the restoration of our minka in the mountains in mid-October, which we immediately followed with “The Haunted House of Hanase,” an adaptation of a Halloween event I’ve staged for local kids for the past six years.

For this post, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking with these before and after shots. Enjoy!

The Doma and Kitchen:

Before:

doma-ceiling-detail
The doma was a real mess. A beautiful mess, mind you, but a mess nonetheless. The cheap Japanese wood stove had clumsy, dangerous piping that went through and up, and the doma was separated from the main room with the cheapest of cheap wood panelling, practically cardboard. The shoji was all ripped, the doors wouldn’t slide, and ash, soot, mold, and dust was everywhere.

After:

after-24
The cheap panelling was replaced with white plasterwork, and all the beams and ceilings were cleaned. We also replaced some of the ceiling above the kitchen and odoguchi (“big tradesman’s entrance”), and fixed all the doors and shoji.

Before:

doma-sw-corner
Access to the loft area was via this rickety old ladder. We moved the access to the annex bedroom via a far steadier stair-ladder. We also spruced up the pantry, adding lights and electrical outlets.

After:

after-21

Before:

doma-under-circuit-breaker-snowshoes

After:

after-20

Before:

doma-view-from-main-room

After:

after-22

 

pantry
The improved pantry

Before:

doma-ne-ceiling-referece-2
This “before” shot is actually the north end of the odoguchi, while the “after” is the opposite corner, but with these two shots you can really see the difference that Matsuda-san, Masutani-san, and I made. A dirty job this was.

After:

after-27

Before:

doma

 

After:

after-23

The Bathroom

Before:

bath-looking-at-north-wall-with-door-and-recessed-area

 

bath-tilt-down-to-overview
The original bathroom was pretty much unusable, its tub too small for Yukiyo, let alone me, and it was a cold, dank space. It underwent a dramatic transformation.
bathroom-restored
We got a much bigger wooden tub (Alaskan wood), retained the original windows with their irreplaceable antique glass, but added a modern hot water system. As with the kitchen, the show and tub taps may be new, but maintain that farmhouse feel.

The Main Room:

Before:

main-room-east-doorway-reference

After:

after-04
The Main Room’s transformation is perhaps the most dramatic. We insulated the entire back and west walls, and got rid of a mostly pointless rear engawa (no view, but dangerous during the winter when a heavy snowfall threatened to break through) with walling and wallpaper. We replaced and moved slightly the original wood stove with a heavy-duty Jotul model, repositioned slightly from the iori‘s original location. We also replaced the original hardwood-tatami mix with ebony-stained hardwood flooring.

Before:

main-room-old-stove-over-irori-with-east-bedroom-and-doma-visible

After:

 

after-01

Before:

main-room-general-reference

After:

after-15

Before:

main-room-view-of-bedrooms-with-door-ajar

After:

after-18

 

maki-stove

 

main-room-cinerama

Genkan-Turned-Dining Room:

Before:

bedroom-east-cheap-upper-paneling
This room, originally part of a expansive genkan (greeting hall) was badly remodeled 40 or so years ago, with cheap panelling and a low ceiling that had water damage. Once we removed that we discovered a beautiful original ceiling above it. This became our dining room, with the tatami likewise switched to ebony-stained hardwood flooring.

bedroom-east-ne-corner-reference

bedroom-east-weird-pantry-access

After:

after-30

after-33

 

dining-room-restored-01

dining-room-restored-03

dining-room-restored-04

Bedrooms and Engawa

Before:

servants-room-north-wide-view
Originally servants’ rooms with paper and single-paned glass separating the inside from the outside (burr!), we replaced that with insulated walling and replaced the rotting tatami with new ones.

After:

after-07

after-08

 

servants-room-restored-tansu

 

west-wall-restored
The new walling on the other side….

Before:

bedroom-center-and-west-from-east
Views of the front tatami bedrooms with the fusuma (sliding doors) mostly removed. Here we did minimal work, replacing all the tatami, fixing the fusuma and replacing the shoji, and a lot of general clean-up.

bedroom-east-center-west

After:

after-09

after-10

after-11
One of many tansu (dressers) acquired from the Yoshimura Family.

center-bedroom-restored-01

center-bedroom-restored-02

 

west-bedroom-restored

Engawa

Before:

engawa-looking-west-from-east-side
The engawa was unprotected from the cold Hanase winters. We decided to enclose it so that it can be enjoyed year-round, while also replacing the ugly, inadequate panelling above, as well as all the ripped shoji and broken glass.

After:

after-12

 

after-13

Annex Bedroom (formerly stable)

Before:

bedroom-annex-wide-view
The Annex Bedroomoriginally a stable for the family horse, was remodeled 40-odd years ago. Ironically, the wood in there was largely rotten, while 97% of the wood beams from when the house was constructed 206 years ago were in great shape. Originally the plan was to simply replace all the terrible panelling and tatami and rain-damaged ceiling but, as with the dining room, we found it much more interesting to restore the original ceiling.

bedroom-annex-north-window-and-ceiling-reference

After:

annex-restored-01

annex-restored-02

annex-restored-03

 

annex-restored-04
Note the stair-steps hanging to the right. That leads to….

 

annex-restored-05
Loft access above the futon closet.

The Loft

loft-03

loft-02

 

loft-01
The loft, with its 18-foot ceiling and vast floorspace, we hope to renovate in 2017 as a media room/bedroom.

front-of-house-restored

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Author: stuartgalbraithiv

Stuart Galbraith IV is a Kyoto-based film historian, writer, and publisher-editor of World Cinema Paradise. He is the author of seven books, including The Emperor and the Wolf (Faber & Faber, 2002), the joint-biography of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune hailed by Martin Scorsese as "a must read." Peter Biskind, in The New York Times Book Review, called it "a rare feast for lovers of Japanese cinema [and] a monumental job of research . . . infused throughout with an affection for its subjects that is contagious. Best of all, it does what all good film books should do: returns us, with an enriched appreciation, to the movies themselves." "One of the best industrial histories of Japanese cinema available in English," adds Catherine Russell of Cineaste. And Bill Kelley, in The Sarasota Herald Tribune, had this to say: "Not many film books deserve to have the adjective 'extraordinary' applied to them, but Stuart Galbraith's The Emperor and the Wolf is nothing less than that. In fact, it's more . . . this 823-page achievement wants to be all things to all admirers of its twin subjects, and, incredibly, it succeeds. Reference work, scrupulously thorough filmography, exhaustive biography - all are here . . . A graceful, economical writer, [Galbraith] is also a first-rate critic and film historian. [The Emperor and the Wolf] is a wonder of clarity and organization, and an enormous pleasure to read . . . [a] magnificent book." Galbraith's other books include Monsters Are Attacking Tokyo: The Incredible World of Japanese Fantasy Films (Feral House, 1998), The Japanese Filmography (McFarland & Co., 1996), Motor City Marquees (McFarland, 1994), and Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (McFarland, 1994). In 2007, Galbraith's The Toho Studios Story, was published by Scarecrow, while his latest, Japanese Cinema, was published by Taschen in 2009. From 2004-2009, Galbraith wrote a monthly column for Japan's Daily Yomiuri on Region 2/Japanese DVDs. Within the home video field, Galbraith has written essays for Criterion's three-disc Seven Samurai DVD and Blu-ray, Optimum's Rashomon, BCI Eclipse's The Quiet Duel and Subkultur's The Long Good Friday. He provided audio commentaries for AnimEigo's Musashi Miyamoto - The Ultimate Samurai and Tora-san, editing the accompanying booklet for the latter. A commentary recorded (with Steve Ryfle) for Godzilla vs. Megalon but suppressed and aborted due to legal problems became an instant collector's item. In 2011, he co-produced Message from Earth, a short documentary on the making of Kinji Fukasaku's Message from Space. In 2015, Galbraith recorded an audio commentary and wrote and produced a new short documentary, Rashomon at 65, for the British Film Institute's Blu-ray of Kurosawa's 1950 classic. Concurrently, he served as an consultant on Oscar-winning director Steven Okazaki's documentary feature, Mifune - Last Samurai (2015). Also in 2015 Galbraith wrote an essay for Arrow Video's The Happiness of the Katakuris, shot interview material and provided an audio commentary for their Battles without Honor and Humanity boxed set. He was an associate producer for the DVDs of the classic poolroom drama The Hustler and Sidney Lumet's The Verdict. He provided audio commentary (with director Richard Fleischer) for the Special Edition DVD of Tora! Tora! Tora! (all for 20th Century-Fox), and interviewed Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond for his audio commentary track for The Sadist. Galbraith also contributed commentary tracks to The Horror of Hammer and Tales of Frankenstein, all for All Day Entertainment. Galbraith's audio commentary for Classic Media's Invasion of Astro-Monster was released in 2007 and nomiated for a Rondo Hatton Award. Holding a Master's Degree from the University of Southern California's prestigious School of Cinema-Television, Galbraith worked as an archivist and researcher at both Warner Bros. and M-G-M. At Warner Bros., Galbraith implemented preservation projects and procedures at both its USC-Warner Bros. Archives and the Warner Bros. Corporate Image Archives. At M-G-M, Galbraith worked as a "film detective," tracking down the original camera negatives to more than three dozen "lost" films. Born in 1965 in Detroit, Michigan, Galbraith was a film critic for the Ann Arbor News, a daily newspaper. In addition to writing film reviews and feature stories, Galbraith also wrote a weekly column, "Video View," which ran from 1990-1993. Between books, Galbraith wrote for such film magazines as Filmfax, Outre, and the French film magazine HK Orient Extreme Cinema. Since 2003 he has lived in Kyoto, Japan with his wife, Yukiyo, and their daughter, Sadie.

3 thoughts on “Before and After”

  1. WOW……….what a difference a few months can make. I’m sure you have spent a lot of money and time to make your Hanasa Minka liveable. The many new decisions that you have made are outstanding. Oh how I would love to take a book and sit in the engawa and read. Thank you so much for sharing this awesome project with family and friends. It makes me very proud to say…….CONGRATULATIONS STUART FOR A JOB WELL DONE!!!

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    1. Thanks! The cost of the renovations, while not exactly cheap, were not nearly as expensive as you might imagine. The combined cost of the house, land, and renovations so far has still been a fraction of what homes cost in the U.S. Come visit us sometime!

      Like

      1. I wish I could put the words “Come visit us sometime!” in a suitcase and jump on a plane for a visit. Consequently, I will have to depend on you to send photos. Not only have I enjoyed this adventure with you and your family, but I have learned a couple Japanese words. Not sure how to pronounce them, but with your help, I think I was able to figure out what they mean. haha Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to knock on your door, but extending an invitation to visit was very kind.

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