Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Dying village – softypapa

This is a village which I have been watching fade for many years. It has always been a quiet place since I first discovered it in 1996. I’ve met several residents who are all very old, very kind and exceedingly welcoming to anyone who chooses to visit. One old man once ordered me into the back of his little pickup truck for a wild ride through the mountains so that he could take me home to meet his wife and have tea in their beautiful farm house. He gave me a natural stone Daruma statue (photos below) which sits now on my desk. The community boasts a very small onsen hot spring resort at the far end of town though business seems quite bad and I expect the facility will close within the next few years. Over time I imagine the entire village will sadly fade away. The village is called “Kuchisakamoto” and can be seen on Google maps at these coordinates: 35.182753,138.273575

Out past a certain point the villages in these mountains are all dying, and there are a few villages I am certain will become ghost towns within the next decade. Faced with this reality I’ve heard some pretty extreme cases where the remaining villagers band together to try and sell their property in order to escape before they are too old and frail. In one newsworthy case a waste disposal company bought an entire village in order to convert the valley into a landfill. The payment to the residents was lifetime care in a old age home. This might seem extreme yet I have met some oldsters who are seemingly stranded nearly all alone in the deep mountains. Unable to drive and with limited funds they live a pretty desperate life. The beauty and serenity of these beautiful mountains is understandably lost to those who face growing frailty and weakness of body and mind. With no impetus for the young people to return the fate of these communities and the humble yet proud lifestyle of their residents seems destined to pass away before the end of our lifetime.

Here are a couple of photos of the stone Daruma figure the old farmer gave me next to a papier-mache version:

Welcome to the softypapa channel. My name is Kurt Bell and I am delighted that you have chosen to walk awhile with me. I’m available on Facebook and Google+ if you have questions or just want to chat and say hi. I can also be found at the JVLOG forum with other Japan-related content creators. All links are listed below. I look forward to meeting you on-line. Have a great day!

Follow me on Twitter:

Be my friend on Facebook:

On Google+

At the JVLOG forum (my username there is “LylesBrother”):

You can also reach me via email at the following address: softypapa@gmail.com



“Japanese Falls” image included in this video is by the artist Lane Brown. See more of Mr. Brown’s work at the following URL:

Channel Theme Music “Song For Kurt” used with permission by Nowherians. Discover more about the artist and their music at the URL below. Be sure to check out their “Rome Pays Off” recordings.

Real Japan Monsters title screens by MULLY (aka Warmothstrat on YouTube)

Channel homepage image “Leaf” by photographer Moyan Brenn.
See more of Mr. Brenn’s photos on Flickr at the link below.

Royalty Free Music by http://audiomicro.com/royalty-free-music
Sound Effects by http://audiomicro.com/sound-effects


2 comments on “Dying village – softypapa

  1. Ross-Barry Finlayson
    November 23, 2012

    What an excellent post Kurt. I too share your feelings, which you have expressed very well.

  2. softypapa
    December 9, 2012

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, RB. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: