Hello from Karuizawa

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Wendy
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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by Wendy » Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:17 pm

Well all...here's an update on our real estate adventure. Turns out that we are in more of a "it'll take you forever to prove yourself a farmer" area than a "show up to the office with work boots and a shovel and will call you a farmer" area. It was explained in very gentle terms that the local farmers are afraid of disease, and so very wary about newcomers.

Because the tract of farmland adjacent to the house tract is so small (like 500 square meters), the recommended strategy is to change the farming zoning on that tract rather than turn us into farmers, and we have some help in that process. Meanwhile, we will actively work to become farmers (love the idea of the Nagano classes). The chances of meeting people and connecting with the community are high here.

In the meantime, we have commenced the process to buy the house, which has me all a-flutter, and will hope for the best on the farm tract. If the rest falls through we still have a great deal in a great place, but from what everyone is saying it'll take more patience than effort and there is a way to make the zoning change work...possibly in a few months time. Will know more in a few weeks! And then we'll be trying all those drinks in the beverage thread to celebrate (or commiserate). : )

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by Zasso Nouka » Fri Jun 30, 2017 6:41 am

Great news, in part and all is not lost by the sounds of it. You can have land reclassified, sometimes it is easy, sometimes less so and sometimes impossible. If it is only a small slice of land then that should be easier to do but it all boils down to your local council and the local Nougyou Inkai.

The diseases thing is an excuse they are using to tell you it's not going to happen, you aren't going to transfer disease onto their crops with the amount of pesticides many older farmers spray. But hopefully you can get the land reclassified and still do what you want with it. As Donguri points out things go slowly in the countryside so hang on in there and it will probably happen.

Best of luck

korekaranoka
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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by korekaranoka » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:35 pm

Hello Wendy!

Just seen you're also in Nagano (I'm an hour away in Mochizuki, Saku)! On one hand, I think you probably chose one of the worst spots in Nagano for becoming a farmer (it's all expensive second homes and high-class resorts), on the other, converting farm land ("nō-chi") to residential land ("taku-chi") is something that probably happens very often (unless the local government is trying to prevent it happening) so it might be a good choice.

For info, the ordinary way to become a farmer in Nagano is to enroll on one of two very similar farming apprenticeship programs:
- nōgyō kenshūsei
- sato-oya
The first exists all over Japan and can one or two years, the second is unique to Nagano and takes two. Both, however, entail working on a farm in exchange for a possible financial grant (if you have your eijūken) and lots of official support with finding land, setting up your business and fitting in.
If you're into organic farming, try contacting the Nagano-ken Yūki Nōgyō Kenkyū-kai: they occasionally hold events and are generally quite cool and easy-going (the motto for their last event was "tabun, nantoka naru!!!"), certainly more so than those gas-guzzling, paranoid, kankō boys you mentioned.
Anyway, hope everything is working out and hope to meet you someday in Nagano!

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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by Wendy » Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:29 pm

Oh my goodness! I just read your posts. It would be great to get together...I've been silent on the forum since we aren't completely done with our deal, but we did buy the house and are living here in a corner of Miyota. I've actually thought a bit about seeing if people from the forum would like to come gather at some point (here or in another place). We have a bunch of room but no heat, so soonish might be a good idea! : )
This isn't a resort-y community at all, really just a sleepy farming hamlet (and we were very fortunate price-wise...I didn't dream we could EVER own anything here).
l absolutely love the quiet and the early morning routine of checking on the plants. Looking forward to learning much more!
My email:
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, happy to correspond off forum about a meet-up.

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Zasso Nouka
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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by Zasso Nouka » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:44 pm

Your location sounds pretty idyllic Wendy, hope you manage to get a small plot of land for your partner. Even if you can't buy anything immediately you could probably come to some sort of informal arrangement with a neighbour until you can find something more permanent. After we had settled into our village and started to get to know people we were offered all sorts of plots that people weren't using.

I've hidden your email address from search engines, guests and spambots and you can now use the messaging system as I've moved you out of the 'Newly Registered Users' group.
Wendy wrote: but no heat, so soonish might be a good idea! : )
Have you considered a wood stove, shouldn't be much trouble getting free wood in your location, either from forestry workers when they thin out smaller trees or your local lumber yard.

I'd like to come to your meet up but unfortunately having livestock on the farm makes it hard to find time to get away.

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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by Wendy » Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:26 pm

land is on the way! It's all told about 1400 square meters, but it is divided into 3 parcels. Very complicated, but it will be deeded over sequentially and they have arranged it all to be in our best interest in terms of what is farmland and what is forest. In the meantime, we have use of the land and have already harvested some radishes and cucumbers. And I bought a pair of farmer boots at JA. So we are well on our way to farmerhood! When it is all done, I may explain the process we went through...rather dizzying.

We had a company come out and look at the house for wood stove potential. I was all for it, but the longer we are in this traditional house, the less I feel like messing with the floor plan. That may change when it gets COOOOOLD. It also costs a bunch of yen. I read, and re-read the threads about woodstoves and even looked at them when I visited my parents in Oregon, thinking I might ship one over as part of a shipment of household goods. May still happen, but we are now looking into floor heating for a small part of the house where we will probably hole up for the duration of the winter.

Bring the livestock along...they could probably use a vacation!

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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by Zasso Nouka » Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:44 am

Underfloor heating is quite nice, it gives a good even heat and certainly saves you having to spend time splitting logs, which can take quite a while if you go through a lot of wood. However if you do ever decide on a stove importing one can often result in a substantial saving even including the cost of transport, shouldn't be too difficult finding a builder to install it for you. However you might not need one if the underfloor heating works well.

Could be a fun trip up to yours with 30 raucous chickens in the back of the car :lol:

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Re: Hello from Karuizawa

Post by gonbechan » Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:19 pm

Wendy wrote: When it is all done, I may explain the process we went through...rather dizzying.
It would be absolutely awesome if you could share the process.
I know that it varies from area to area, but I think that it would be a huge benefit for people to know how the process went for you and what worked and what did not.

Congratulations on the land. I wish you good growing.