Old plum trees

My wife has bought this old house around one year ago. No one could tell how old it was.

It might have been built around the time of Meiji Restoration, latter half of the 19thcentury.  Meiji Restoration has brought an end to the feudalism and Shogunate system a 150 years from now. Some said the house is not that old, built only a 100 years ago…

Cleaning the house, my wife has discovered in the barn an old picture of this house in sepia color.


We can see a plum tree with white flowers blooming. Should be early spring. We can also see chickens running in the garden.

We don’t know how old this sepia color picture is. Early to mid -20th century?

Today, the same plum tree is blooming in the garden!


Not sure your heart is the same as before

Plum blossoms in my country perfumes sweetly all the same as in the years

gone by

(百人一首、the Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets, No 35 by Ki no Tsurayuki, the 10th century)

Becoming old, number of flowers is less. But each flower remains the same.


The combination of red and white plum trees has always been a favorite motif of Japanese painters, such as:

Red and White plum blossoms” Ogata Korin 18c

Other than plum blossoms, we have several camellia trees blooming during January.

Camellia flowers appear in “La Dame aux camellias”, written by French author  Alexandre Dumas fils, in the 19th century.  Popular flowers in Japan, Camellia has been introduced to Europe in the 19th century.





Winter morning


Winter is cold in my country, sometimes down to below zero before dawn. Cold draft penetrates in the room from every gap of shojis (paper screen sliding doors), walls, pillars, tatamis, etc.

In old days, people were to choose a house for summer, or for winter. Summer is subtropical. Winter is below zero. A house cannot be built to be suitable for both.

Better to build house for Summer.

Tsurezuregusa (徒然草 or Essays in Idleness, 14th century)

As old houses are built for summer with high ceiling and draft piercing from outside, it is inevitably cold in winter.


Early morning, we are awakened by the light of dawn striking through Shoji. As it is so cold, we can’t fall asleep again. It’s also too cold to get out of warm futon. Our futon is still being warmed by Yutampo, a hot water bag in which we poured boiling water the night before.

My wife wakes up to switch on our old-fashioned oil stove.


During breakfast, trees and leaves in the garden are silhouetted in the shoji screen by the morning sunlight. The silhouette changes its shape as the sun rises. This is a good sign for another clear day!

The morning sunlight from window holes is shining here and there in the house. A tiny space with warmness, with different shapes.

Winter garden in Japan is mostly deserted with few exceptions.

Winter, loneliness grows in a mountain village,
Kept out of limelight, withered plants

(百人一首 or the Hundred Poems by One Hundred Poets, No 28. by Minamoto no Muneyuki, 10th century)

 Few exceptions in such a deserted winter garden are flowers, announcing forthcoming spring…



















土間の修繕完了 ー 古民家再生