Greetings from Ibaraki / Fukushima

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hushashi
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Greetings from Ibaraki / Fukushima

Post by hushashi »

Hi folks, long time lurker, one-time registrant under a different name which I could never get back on as for some reason, so here I am again (Zasso, Gombe, please feel free to delete "fexluz" next time you do some pruning). I also used to peruse the old original forum...

So a lot has changed since I signed up last time, which is good, as there's a lot more to talk about... when I signed up last time I was in an interesting time of my life, semi-retirement, having just returned to Japan from abroad, where my work took me. I'd been looking for a rural property for years, online, and visited a couple dozen officially and unofficially whenever I came back to Japan for a visit...but never pulled the trigger on a place. I passed on a lot of decent but marginal places, and saw more than my fair share of really shabby money pits that will probably never sell.

A few years after returning to Japan, doing nothing except gardening and taking several very long walks through the country, I returned to work for reasons that in retrospect were kind of silly but it's been rewarding so far. I kept one eye on the real estate sites, and hunkered down like the rest of you when the virus washed over the planet. A seemingly nice little property caught my eye late in 2019, was still on the market over six months later. I was intrigued and did some research. One e-mail later I had the address and I was off to check it out. I had the strangest little hum of John Denver in my head as I rolled into the village..."coming home to a place he'd never been before".

Well, turns out that hum was right. To make a long story short, I bought the place. Some of you who are real mavens for "the search" might even recognize it...It was on the Furusato-net site for very a nearly a year by the time I closed on it.

It's a 95'ish year old farmer's kominka (Taisho 15 I think the documents say), with a kura out back, and almost exactly an acre of attached, contiguous farmland -- a plot all of one piece. The house itself is rock solid, has two irori in the floor, city water, thatched roof covered with the usual metal plate shingles, two floors... the place just screams "potential!"

Anyway, I've got some photos and videos I'll post later in the appropriate threads... may even start a few thread.

Will be good to finally start chatting with some of you, and hopefully saying hello in person to a few as well (I'm lookin' at you, Lohas!)

talk soon!
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hushashi
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Greetings from Ibaraki / Fukushima

Post by hushashi »

Here is a pic of the place...

Image

And the valley it's in, at sunset...
Image

I'm actually a little ashamed to admit what I paid for it... :oops:
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Chuck2
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Greetings from Ibaraki / Fukushima

Post by Chuck2 »

hushashi wrote:
Sat Jul 03, 2021 1:19 am
Here is a pic of the place...

Image

And the valley it's in, at sunset...
Image

I'm actually a little ashamed to admit what I paid for it... :oops:
Hi hushashi, welcome back. Chuck2, here from Hiroshima prefecture. Great looking place you found. I also live in a thatched roof kominka. Looking forward to seeing more post.

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Greetings from Ibaraki / Fukushima

Post by gonbechan »

Really lovely to have you here @hushashi
Your new place looks absolutely gorgeous and must be quite cool even when the weather is hot. That roof is magnificent.

Looking forward to hearing and seeing more.

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Zasso Nouka
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

Welcome back Fexluz/Hushashi,

Sorry you couldn't get your previous account working, was it a technical issue from our side ? Thank you very much for signing up again, it's really appreciated.
hushashi wrote:
Sat Jul 03, 2021 1:19 am
I'm actually a little ashamed to admit what I paid for it... :oops:
Price doesn't matter if your happy with the property and location and to be honest that looks absolutely lovely. The valley looks absolutely beautiful and the house looks like it could be awesome with a little bit of work. What do you plan to do there ?

Did you have to register as a farmer to buy the property or get it rezoned ? That's an ample amount of space to try any number of different projects.

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Greetings from Ibaraki / Fukushima

Post by Otona Cream Pie »

That's awesome! Jealous of the scenery!

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hushashi
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Post by hushashi »

Price doesn't matter if your happy with the property and location and to be honest that looks absolutely lovely.
Indeed...but in this case, the price was so absurdly low that when I get asked what I paid, most people don't believe me at first. A new kei car will set you back half a million yen more than I paid.

In terms of the ag land, yeah that was a bit of an issue. We had to do a "provisional" registration for a portion of it, pending moving my official residence to the town. Another portion I was not able to own as I am not (yet) a farmer. All of it I can use without restriction.

A couple other smaller random portions (a plot 3-4 tsubo next to the fire hydrant, and the area near a telephone pole/adjoining property) are technically still owned by descendants of the original owner, but they'll be transferred to me at some point, just need to get everyone together. Vast majority of the property and all the big contiguous parts are in my name.

@Chuck2, thanks! I'd be keen for any advice/thoughts on the roof. It seems solid enough, although I have my doubts it'd be sensible to try and push stovepipe up through it, for a wood burner. The house was added onto in the 50's or 60's, and there is an extra smaller metal roof atop the additions, which re around the sides and back of the house. Probably will run a flue up through one of those sections. A project for next year or later...

For anyone who's curious, here are couple videos I've uploaded showing the place as it first looked as an akiya, and later after a couple weeks of being lived in and cleaned up...

Golden Week 2021 - Deep Cleaning
Slideshow of the first visit
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Post by Zasso Nouka »

hushashi wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:44 pm
Indeed...but in this case, the price was so absurdly low that when I get asked what I paid, most people don't believe me at first. A new kei car will set you back half a million yen more than I paid.
Ha ha, I totally got the wrong end of the stick there but if you got it for a seriously cheap price then even better :dance:
hushashi wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:44 pm
In terms of the ag land, yeah that was a bit of an issue. We had to do a "provisional" registration for a portion of it, pending moving my official residence to the town. Another portion I was not able to own as I am not (yet) a farmer. All of it I can use without restriction.

A couple other smaller random portions (a plot 3-4 tsubo next to the fire hydrant, and the area near a telephone pole/adjoining property) are technically still owned by descendants of the original owner, but they'll be transferred to me at some point, just need to get everyone together. Vast majority of the property and all the big contiguous parts are in my name.
It always amazes me how variable different municipalities can be in this regard. The zoning laws are supposed to be the same all over the country but each city seems to disregard that and interpret them however they see fit.
hushashi wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:44 pm
For anyone who's curious, here are couple videos I've uploaded showing the place as it first looked as an akiya, and later after a couple weeks of being lived in and cleaned up...
Looks really good. One thing I've always wondered about irori is where does the smoke go ?

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Post by Otona Cream Pie »

hushashi wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:44 pm
Price doesn't matter if your happy with the property and location and to be honest that looks absolutely lovely.
Indeed...but in this case, the price was so absurdly low that when I get asked what I paid, most people don't believe me at first. A new kei car will set you back half a million yen more than I paid.
Now you really got me curious :clap: On with deets! I'm only commuting about half the time as before and I'm totally up for a longer commute for something like that :lol:

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hushashi
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Post by hushashi »

Yeah so...basically, I paid 1.2M JPY for the place. I worked out what the scrivner/agent fee and paperwork would cost, and deducted that from the asking price and made my lowball offer...and was accepted the same day. I could probably have offered a cool million and it would have been accepted. After meeting the seller and the whole family I felt a little bad for offering less. But whatever. I reckon they were glad to get anything for the place, to be honest...

The entire negotiation, purchase/closing process, meeting the neighbors, connecting with local propane guys, contractors, and just generally settling in has been drama-free and very enjoyable.

The place was also almost entirely free of garbage and clutter. The kura is chock full of carefully-packed and stowed dishes, plates, cups, and cooking gear of all kinds... apparently the previous owner co-ran an inn next door (which was also listed on Furusato-net for about 7M JPY but which has since been sold to the local old folks home for use as a dorm) and was a soba chef. I could start a B&B with all the gear he left behind...

Anyway... I'm going to be heading up there in the morning. Just finished packing up the truck an hour ago. Got the NTT folks coming on Wednesday to install the internet... apparently, that area is only served by one line install contractor, and they only come out one day a month, the first Wednesday of the month. Insane. Taking two days off work, but hey... if all goes well, I can work remotely Thurs and Friday and be pre-positioned for the weekend!

With any luck I'll check back here in a few days from the property...
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