Japanese people have put a long canopy on the south side of our residences for hundreds of years because there is a strong sunshine from the south during the summer season.
Since last week, the sun has become stronger gradually.
During the summer I put up the sunshades to offer protection from the sun.
There are some kinds of sunshades made of bamboo, cotton and polyethylene.
I chose the polyethylene type because of the design and abilty to block wind and rain.
This sunshede cools the room inside and reduces the energy used by AC a little.
●Playing on the deck
We can use this deck for playing, a pool for children, making something and eating lunch or dinner.
That is to say this is a second living room.
My daughters enjoy playing on this deck more than their parents.
We can relax in a shaded area easily because this deck connects with our living room inside.
By the way I made this bench by myself. I think it turned out well considering that I’m a beginner.
●The meaning of this deck
This small space may be a luxury for people living around Tokyo.
The reason is that the cost of the land is very expensive.
However, I think that every house has to have a space like this.
This space forms a gentle barrier between the inside (private zone) and outside (public zone).
We feel it as an extension of the living room.
This space protects us from outside eyes and invaders.
However, the foremost function is that these green spaces together will make a beautiful city scape.
In general, you place skylight window to light up dark space such as spaces facing the north or at the center of rooms.
However, I placed it(*) at the pitched roof facing the south.
Properly speaking, we must not place it facing the south
because the sunlight is too strong during summer.
So I also install a curtain behind it to control heat and light.
There are two additional merits related to the skylight window other than natural light usage.
One merit is that I can dry our clothes under the skylight window.
This is very helpful when it is rainy or during the season of pollen allergy.
The second merit is that we can see the moon and stars through the window at night.
We can feel at ease.
I dare to say that its demerits are that heat insulation capacity decreases and we can’t clean the outside of the window.
These are not big deal.
(I wrote this diary before the earthquake.
I sometimes post the topic which has nothing to do with the earthquake.)
Most arrangements of accomodations both in houses and apartment are fixed pattern, which are 3LDK and 2LDK.
L means living room.
D means dining room.
K means kitchen.
So 3LDK has three rooms and one living dining room. ( living room ＋ dining room )
Fifty years ago everyone’s dream was having these types of accomodations.
These arrangements emphasize on privacy.
They may be good for privacy of each family member.
But they are not without problems.
For example, private bedrooms are not always accessable by parents.
Parents can’t know what their children are doing in their rooms.
Children may be watching TV, playing games for long hours or doing tricky things.
I wanted to have an arrangement that emphasize on the relationship among family members.
So I tried not to put in partition walls except for toilet and bathroom in our house.
As such we can now communicate among ourselves by just signing to each other and without speaking.
I was worring that there was no privacy in our house.
But so far I like the large space.
My daughter made for herself a small room with cardboard in the house .
She is pleased with her handmade room in caedboard.
When my daughters grow up, I will make her a real partition walls in the second floor.
Now we are able to gather together thanks to the large LDK during these difficult times. 🙂
There is a Japanese word “借景 shakkei.”( borrowing a scenery)This word means the utilization of the views of surrounding mountains and woods.You can see these scenes in the traditional gardens, temples and old residences. Although I didn’t think about “shakkei” when I thought through the plan for my house, I could see the neighbor’s plum tree from inside my house.
In particular during this season, I am able to see the beautiful flowers and relax fortunately.
If the window sash didn’t exist, we would be able to see them better.
If I lived near enough to the station to go to work easily, I wouldn’t be able to see the changes in nature.
Your attitude about where you live all depends on how you look at it.
There are four distinct seasons in Japan.
I can see various scenes in my garden because my gardener thought about how the trees and plants would be all year round.
In spring the kousa dogwood has green leaves.
In summer blueberry produce berries and birds come to eat some of them.
In fall the leaves of the maple turn completely red.
Now in winter there are few kinds of the plants make beautiful scene.
But the Hellebore is a precious flower blooming in winter.
The Hellebore is called the ” Christmas rose” at Japanese garden shops.
But in particular they bloom from February to March instead of Christmas.
I have never given them any water or fertilizer.
But they have beautiful flowers every year.
Before we moved to this house, my children couldn’t run around indoors because we lived in a relative small apartment.
I heard that there were some court proceedings arising from neighborhood noise in Japan.
Parents always have to tell their children not to run or jump inside their homes.
I think these things aren’t happy for both parents and their children.
That is the one reason we moved to our house here.
Now my children can run and play in my house as much as they want.
When we briefed the architect on the plan of my house, I requested the architect putting into my house a play equipment for children.
The unique tree was set near the stair.The branch is natural.
My daughters and sometimes I can climb this tree.
But sometimes my family hang their coats with the tree.
There are a swing by IKEA and an iron rod on the second floor.
My elder daughter practiced back hip circle with the iron rod many times for her sport day.
Recently she likes to do rope-jumping in my house.
She seems compete rope-jumping against her friends in her elementary school.
After our house was built, the gardener began to build our garden.
Since the builder is usually different from the gardener,
I searched for a gardener in the internet.
The reason I chose the gardener was that his works had good quality and a sense of simplicity
Since I didn’t know the kinds of trees and flowers well,I requested ” I want some trees which could bear fruits for my children.Otherwise, please make the garden which you think that trees matche our house.”
Then the gardener selected assorted trees from a manufacture.
The main tree, kousa dogwood, was planted in the center of the garden of my house.
And the gardener planted the other trees which were lavender, catmint,
maple and fraxinus griffithii around the main tree.
The concept of the garden is simple and one tree doesn’t stand out as many trees surround my house securely.
This garden though small is a natural world where birds, insects, lizard,
praying mantis and cats come.
And my children can eat some blueberrys and juneberrys during the summer.
When my house was finished, the architecture firm held a tour for some people to look at the house.
These people were thinking about building their own houses someday.
Young families came to my house and heard the story of my house from the architect and the builder.
The architect told about trying various things in the planning of my house.
And the buider told them about how they worked out the job.
The young families said “I feel comfortable and the wood is fragrant. ”
In Japan, if you decided to build your own house, you would usually visit houses in a show space.
You can see various model houses from many major house companies.
But small builders or architectural firms can’t have a model house.
So they asked their customers to guide the new customers through their house.
A main reason to show the house is probably theri marketing.
But there are showings of wooden houses which were built by the traditional method of construction too
Visitors can touch and smell the natural wood and took out of every window.
“Seeing is believing” or “A picture is worth a hundred words”