The 35 Youngsters that chose Sobokuya

The 35 Youngsters that chose Sobokuya

35 youngsters.
These were wonderful stories that came to us out of the blue.

We were approached by the NPO Yatsugatake SDGs School to host extracurricular classes for two junior high schools (each on a different day) in Suginami Ward, Tokyo.

As part of a joint project by the NPO Yatsugatake SDGs School and the Yatsugatake Royal Hotel titled “SDGs x Educational Trips”, the initiative is to provide experience programmes for junior high school students in the Yatsugatake area which make use of the environment and resources of the Yatsugatake region.

We were introduced to the NPO Yatsugatake SDGs School through a mutual acquaintance.
It started when the NPO’s representative, Mr Suwa, approached us at the site of Tiny House 1, which was built by Sobokuya.

Tiny House 1

At first, Mr Suwa mistook Sobokuya for “so” = “soba noodle shop”, and was left wondering what we do. As the meetings went on, he understood more and more about Sobokuya and was very much looking forward to this connection.

Sobokuya’s “So” logo as seen at the construction site

Since then he has taken Sobokuya to heart and introduced Sobokuya to his acquaintances.

Thanks to the efforts of NPO vice-president Marumo, who was formerly a school headmaster in Hokuto City, we were able to borrow the parking lot of Izumi Junior High School where we disembarked from the bus.

On foot, we strolled through the village and rice field paths, climbed the 200 steps of Yakumo Shrine and greeted the shrine.

The visitors visited 8KUMO, a working space in a shrine forest, under construction by Sobokuya, adjacent to the Yakumo Shrine.

The master builder explained the intricacies of Japanese architecture and asked many questions of his own.

The tour also gave the participants time to think about the importance of livelihoods and links with the countryside, given the recent focus on rural areas.

Carpentry workshop as soon as we arrived at Sobokuya.

The youngsters were divided into three teams and worked hard in the various workshops to create the “Rivalry! Fire Building Championship”.

① Planing

② Peeling of logs

③Wood chopping

All of this gives them a taste of the work that is part of the everyday life of Sobokuya.

It is hard work and we wondered how they would react, but the secondary school students were surprisingly excited and happy to work on it.

When they were climbing the steps of the shrine, they said, “I didn’t mean to do this today! (a girl with a sweaty hairdo), but they were also having a lot of fun! (according to a girl whose hair was falling down due to sweating), but they were also grinning when they saw the change in their behaviour.

He was a big, well-built basketball player who seemed to enjoy doing all the work (he was named the general), and he told us:

“I’m going to join Sobokuya in the future!”

(He said this as if he was joining a club rather than work!).

In a friendly atmosphere, the managing director Imai said: “Let’s keep on making mistakes (only take on challenges).”

The recent days were both hot and cold, and it was easy to get sick.
On the day of the event, as luck had it both days were sunny!

Even in the heat, the staff at the rustic shop were healthy and cheerful.

This may be because they are exercising their minds and bodies on a daily basis, working proactively and enjoying their work.

The two days we spent with the student were a chance for us to wish for more young people like that.

Thank you for the opportunity to meet you.

Gallery entry about Tiny House 1

Original Article (Japanese)

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Please consult with us about your project.

Consultations on moving to the Yatsugatake region, finding land, climate and topography, etc., are available. We also offer tours of a model house built using the wooden frame construction method.