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demolition work almost completed for the fujisawa teahouse

We are sad to see it go but are looking forward to seeing it rebuilt in full glory in Chiba prefecture next year.
It is a big shock for the building but imagine it is like a life saving surgery.
It is painful but all dismantling work was done gently to preserve all the parts.
I cannot imagine this jewel left prey of the bulldozers…

Please find the full photo reportage here:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.987206494691338.1073741833.168006413278021&type=3

ugly website

Let me publish here the exchange of correspondence I had with a previous customer.
The mail came like a bolt from the blue:

Customer:
> hi
> how is it possible that you sell such expensive high quality baths and
> live in a high tech environment…but your website is so unpractical and
> ugly?
> it stops me from really searching, thats not good pr!
> greetz
> (signature)
> fan of wooden baths
> owner of one.


Dear (customer),

Thank you for your honest comment.
I think you are 100% right.
Actually I am in the process of renovating the HP but it is taking more
time than anticipated.

Please bear with us one more month!

Best//

Bartok design Japan Co.
Manager: Iacopo Torrini
—————————-
e-mail: japan@bartokdesign.com
tel: +81-78-262-6811
fax: +81-78-262-7151
cell.: +81-90-8205-1200
—————————-


ok, accepted!

Sorry for the direct comment, I am Dutch and people from Holland are known for their directness. The difference with southern countries is already big, so you can imagine how it is in Japan

I will visit Japan within 1-2 years, I am interested in japanese woodworkingskills.
Is your business to be visited? Would be nice.

I will be mainly in Nasu (Tochigi) but who knows…
When my current bath will be rotten I defenitely want another ofuro, because it ads a lot of well beinig to my life, using such a bath.

greetings

(signature)


Well I must apologize with all of you as well for the old and non-smartphone optimized HP but, as I said above, YES! the site is under renovation.
It will come also with enhanced web-shop functions and I plan to offer you a heftier slice of Japan, including “karakami” ricepaper, “urushi” lacquer and more!
O tanoshimi-ni ~~

Meanwhile please feel free to send me your bolts… Any comment is appreciated especially if it is helping me improving the service.

All the Best//

iacopo torrini

great news about the tea-house!

Sorry for the belated update: I think many of you are in trepidation for the destiny of the tea house in Fujisawa.

Well, 1/27 was an incredible day, I think there are all the ingredients for a suspense movie.
The crowdfunding campaign I started on 1/23 at http://igg.me/at/teahouse produced many contacts.

On 1/27 I went to Tokyo with a 10,000 mhA spare battery plugged in my phone and kept sending mails and calls for help.
I was messaging previous clients while riding the shinkansen and calling ikebana associations or busy stock brokers while waiting to transfer to the next train.
I called dozens of people and sent hundreds of emails.

Nonetheless I arrived to the meeting on site with empty hands.
Two people from the forwarding company were already there discussing details about the street width with the contractor.
The real estate agent was preparing the documents and memorandums to be signed while I was answering the cheerful and excited questions of the owners.
Where is the building going? When is it going to be rebuilt? Can we go visit?
I even got the promise from the old owner she would visit the new location of the house and offer a tea ceremony to all the presents…

But there was only one problem.
Time was up and I had not a clear commitment for taking over the house.
I did not give up until the last moment but after inflating everybody`s hopes, I was going to hurt them even more with the harsh reality, sooner or later.
My face was smiling but there was a deep cloud of uncertainty in my heart.
I received many mails of encouragement:
“Even if you failed this time, the effort and financial exposure would not had been a vain effort. This case contributed to raise awareness about the problem and spread the seeds of more consideration for the items of value we are inheriting from the past.”

I know, you will think I am reckless but there is only one thing that helped me not to panic: Using the “reverse gear” was just not an option on the table.
Like those simple remote controlled car toys that can only go straight or turn left and right to avoid obstacles the only option I had was to keep looking forward for the end of the tunnel.

We started to move out the left over furniture to the living room of a relative living next door while the carpenter started to remove some planks from the ceiling to see if it could be dismantled safely. Some old newspapers started to come out from under the tatamis.

And yes! the sunshine come at 16:00. I received a call from Hamish Murphy, an australian gentlemen, introduced to me by Mr. D. from Tokyo who had been introduced to me by Mr. L. from the UK.
Hamish has been living in Japan for 29 years (if I remember correctly) and is going to start a Permaculture site in Kamogawa, Chiba prefecture.
If you do not know what permaculture is, I recommend to research it on wikipedia. It is is a beautiful concept and practical philosophy.

As I was in Yokohama only for that day, Hamish decided to come right away to see the house and reached at around 18:00.
All the workers already went away and after showing him the house, we sat in the smallest tea-room with the owner and her son.
The owner offered us a matcha-tea – by coincidence there were also just 2 manju dumplings left from the afternoon.
It was such an emotionally intense atmosphere, looking at the garden in the dark out of the window and the old lady noted that this was “the last tea served in the tea-room.”

Then, after 3 days of thorough consideration, Hamish gave me the GO sign to take my place in the contract and carry on the demolition and reconstruction project!
I am SOOO happy for him, for the house, for the owner. AMAZING.

A sukiya-zukuri house is a traditional construction but is light weight and more energy efficient compared to a massive “kominka”.
Permaculture gives importance to ecological materials as much as the energy efficiency and this tea house represent a good balance of the two aspects (ecology and high performance).
Hamish is considering to use the tea-house as a guest house in the Permaculture project. “As a guest house it would be a beautiful gateway into a world of recycling and self-sustaining systems.” he says.
He is considering rebuilding the walls with natural clay mixed with momigara (grain chaffs), restoring not only the shape but also the authentic soul of the building.

Since the plan of the house will be modified, he is not going to reuse the roof tiles but the great news is that he is going to transplant as many trees as possible to Chiba prefecture!
All the stones and accessories in the garden and even the bamboo fence (!) are going to be transferred and reused as well.

In the end I think this solution will be great also for the owner. She will be able to visit the house easily and maybe also help with the design of the garden that she is so skilled at.
And I am looking forward to the “first tea served in the tea-room” after the reconstruction!

The house will be probably rebuilt in 2017 and I will keep you informed.
Meanwhile, visit the links below for additional pictures.
http://igg.me/at/teahouse
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.975630152515639.1073741832.168006413278021&type=3

Thank you everybody for your great support, encouragement and advice.

Feel free to add your comments here below. All the Best!

6 hours (and a miracle) can save the Fujisawa tea-house

It is now 5:56 am in japan and I am giving up the campaign to save (and enjoy!) the sukiya-zukuri tea house in Fujisawa.

In 3 days of indiegogo campaign I received: 2 Contributions, 498 Visits, 135 Referrals.

http://igg.me/at/teahouse
I know that many of you sent hundreds of mails to spread the voice, and I commend you for all your advice and help.
I converted to cash my life insurance policy to have the funds to sign the contract tomorrow but the there is not a solid option to bring the project to completion.

The house will not be touched until 2/10 but we will not have time to organize the meetings required and to meet the deadline offered by the new ownership.
They may accept a lump sum to buy some time but of course there is no guarantee they would consider such an option alltogether.
Besided, if I could not realize the project with so many interested and proactive prospects (like this time), it is not likely that 13 days will change the final result.

Time is running out and I have to take the hard decision.
There is no point to bring all the parties to the meeting tomorrow so I will call everybody (the contractor, the new owner, the old owner, the shipping company) at 12:00 JST.

Said this, my mind is repeating an italian saying: “la speranza e` l`ultima a morire”
(lit. translation: hope is the last to die)

If you have one more idea, one more contact to propose this project, please do it now.
The short link to the campaign is:

http://igg.me/at/teahouse

Thank you for everything!

short update about heritage building relocation projects

I hope you had a great start of 2016.

Please note:

  1. starting new homepage dedicated to relocation projects:
    Sorry, I am a little behind. It has been very busy and I am giving priority to the matching for the tea house since we do not have much time.
    I will keep you posted. I am still in doubt about the naming of the new activity. I am undecided between “re-heritage.org” and “save-japan.org”
    I would be grateful to hear your opinion once again.
  2. temple: the owner/priest is now busy alienating another property and it is better not to mix the two topics as she could get confused. The religious association will cease to exist around mid of january. The closing for the other property will be at the end of february so I am planning to proceed with the site inspection and quotation in the beginning of march 2016.
  3. tea house: I uploaded some pictures and videos.

Video (here below)

Please let me know if you are interested in adopting the tea house.
Demolition work must start at the end of january.

All the Best//

iacopo torrini

demolition cost quotation about the fujisawa tea house

Here is the quotation for the demolition.
I added below in red the costs which are not included in the above.

Here is a schematic plan of the building.

click here for an aerial view of the site

Please refer to the previous entries on this topic for more details.
Contact me asap if interested because I will will not be able to commit to the demolition company without an official backing.

contact iacopo -> japanbartokdesign.com

happy new year!

From Japan, there are high chances that I am preceding you in the new year…
I hope that 2016 will be prosperous and serene for you and your family!

am starting the year with a clear objective and am very energized because we have the chance to save a japanese old traditional building.

The owner of the tea-house near Enoshima approved my plan but we need to act quickly.
I plan to appoint the entity which will adopt the building during the first week of january.

The deadline is 1/7 so please contact me promptly if interested.

The total cost of the demolition and reconstruction is estimated in about 35 million yen (300,000 USD) + reimbursable expenses.

Here below is the entry with the details if you missed it.

http://www.bartokdesign.com/japan/0-blog_news/last_rush_to_save_the_fujisawa.php

What excites me is that I feel that this project may become the first step to rebuild a new sensibility around traditional handicrafts and heritage buildings in japan (like a boomerang effect).
I think we can leverage this first example to produce a larger impact and a positive change in the common sense of japanese real estate and the dominating scrap and build practices.
This may sound as a dream but sometimes dreams come true.
And if there is a time to … go for your dreams is today!
We leave the old year for a shiny, immaculate 2016 and I hope I will be able to share with you the path, the emotions and the successes of a wonderful year!

All the Best!

iacopo torrini

Last rush to save the fujisawa teahouse.

This is an update about the tea-house relocation project.
The land will be sold at the end of january and the new owner is planning to demolish the building and garden.

DEMOLITION SCHEDULE:

january – 1st week: I will go on site to meet the old owner and new owner. (I will also take detailed pictures and measurements of the building) january – 2nd week: I will need the decision and commitment from the perspective foster-owner january – 3rd week: we will start demolition. (I am already in touch with two specialized companies)

COST: from 4 to 6 million yen (36,000 USD ~ 50,000 USD)
Of course the more detailed is the demolition (to reuse also roof riles, flooring planks, ceiling framing etc.) the higher the demolition cost. Anyway this will result in a more original building and enable savings in the construction phase.

The demolition will take about 4 weeks and I am planning to obtain the approval from the new owner by convincing him he will save the money and time for the demolition anyway.

SHIPPING SCHEDULE:

to avoid storage fees, I am planning to load all the material directly on containers so we would be ready for shipping as soon as end of february. Ocean freight takes about 1-2 months according to the destination. I think one 40′ container should be enough but considering also items from the garden and to stay on the safe side, I am computing 2 containers, drayage and devanning. COST: 2 million yen (17,000 USD)

CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE:

Construction would take about 5 months (if it was done in japan). According to local legislations / construction methods / availability of manpower and materials it may take more.

The company doing the demolition is also available to go abroad to coordinate the construction! I think that there are 3 options:
1) bring all the craftsmen from japan
2) provide one experienced carpenter to instruct/supervise and use local workers.
3) a mix of the two options above.

COST: from 20 to 25 million yen (170,000 USD ~ 210,000 USD)

In both cases, I would travel together with the contractor principal about once a month (five times) to coordinate the work.

COST: about 2 million yen (17,000 USD) + airplane tickets

Please contact me by email at japan@bartokdesign.com if interested.
TOTAL COST: about 35 million yen (300,000 USD) + reinbursable expenses

adoption of temple, tea house and australian ryokan

Dear friends,

Recently I am receiving and sharing some information that are not directly related with the wooden bathtubs. I believe it is important to save historical buildings even if minor (or actually even more because they are minor…)
To me, a basic “machi-ya” old house conveys more emotions and sense of space than tens of monumental temples or shiny revamped castles to satisfy the “shutter chance” that makes the tourists happy…

But, I am not here to make polemics. I feel that I am in the position of bridging the “fading” traditional japan with the japanese lovers worldwide and I am committed to fulfill this duty.
I just uncovered the tip of an iceberg and I think that there is a lot that can be done in terms of saving old buildings and thus (hopefully … some day…) stimulating a new sense of value among the japanese.

But I am aware that not all of the fans of japanese baths are also interested in this heritage-buildings-salvage project.
So I decided to build a new site for this purpose.
I need some time, maybe 30-45 days but I will split the 2 projects, promise.
So if you are not interested, do not quit reading this, bear with me one more month.
Will you, please?

Let me then give now a short update about the projects as today (+ there is a new entry!):

1) salvage of the Osaka temple (transfer): the buddhist priest is elderly and very conservative. He is worried that any movement around the building now could ruin his negotiation to sell the land to a developer specialized in rental apartment buildings.
But I am in touch thru a very sensitive real estate agent and as soon as the situation clears I will prepare a survey and an estimate of the cost to dismantle the wooden structure with roof tiles, doors, fixtures and acessories. Once I have an idea of the sizes and the volumes I will also provide an estimate of the shipping cost.
I cannot set a certain date but It will be as soon as possible.


2) salvage of the Teahouse near Enoshima: our action and especially the sharing on facebook (done by my the owners` relative) produced a positive action!
They decided to remove the property from the market for now.
(I think they are considering some offers by restaurants interested in renting the property and continuing the tea-house business).
I cannot say yet it is safe, and will keep an eye on the situation, but it seems the emergency is settled at the moment!


3) Well, there is another adoption project on the table. I already presented back in january the case of an australian friend who owns the prestigious “Shizuka Ryokan” in Victoria – Australia and is looking for a buyer.

http://www.bartokdesign.com/japan/0-blog_news/japanese_ryokan_for_sale.php
Peter and his wife want to move back close to elderly relatives and are offering the keys to this amazing business!
Get the buildings, the trees, the kangaroos and all the clients and achievements for AUS 1,750,000
The deal he was working on got stuck at the end and the property is again on the market!
Contact Peter at info**at**shizuka.com.au (of course substitute the **at**) for more details.

Again, I will keep in touch and I wish you a relaxing weekend!

Best//

iacopo torrini

mail for any question/problem to: japan**at**bartokdesign.com

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