Feb 25, 2017 Doma–entrance hall where domestic animals used to live


Old Japanese house in rural area has had a wide entrance hall called “Doma (土間)”, where domestic animals such as horses or cows once used to live.  Domestic animals were a sort of family members, because those have been served to cultivate field and transport people. Doma  also served as a place for threshing crops and make straw crafts such as ropes (nawa) and mats(goza). In short, Doma has been a space designed as an indoor workplace.

We don’t think that our house’s Doma really served to keep animals, but it surely served as a workplace.  Still today, we are happy to have that Doma to cut timbers and assemble them for making wisteria trellis (Fujidana or 藤棚).



Doma literally means “room with earthen floor”.  The floor is earthy but hard and flat, made by clay added with lime and salt.



Doma has two windows with no glass, that in order for smoke to go out of the house as smoothly as possible (the notion of chimney has been non-existent in old Japan). In old days, people have also been using Doma as kitchen, to cook rice and boil water with fire.

The entrance door is very wide.

But the entrance can also be made very small in order to prevent strangers to penetrate.



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.