A life of courage, joy and independence.
This was one of the very first videos in the Abandoned Japan series. The location is roughly 30 miles deep into the rugged coastal range on the east coast of the Japanese island of Honshu. This area was my usual haunt during my Japan adventure years, and I was at the time travelling along the only road into a very remote area I sometimes referred to in my videos as the “Deep Mountains.” Over the years I’d routinely drove past the old house featured in this video, though I’d never stopped to have a look. On this particular trip, I’d spotted a family of Snow Monkeys in an abandoned tea farm just down road from the farmhouse, and I’d stopped the car to get a closer look. While walking back, a nice older Japanese woman stopped to ask if I needed any help. That happened right in front of the old farmhouse, and after she left I decided on an impulse to check it out. This experience was the start of Abandoned Japan, as the resulting discovery made me realize someone needed to film these old places before nature reclaimed then utterly.
During, and after, the video I was keenly aware that I was trespassing, which fact made me very uncomfortable – as though the house was clearly no longer lived in, I’m pretty sure the owner (probably a very old farmer) was still keeping an eye on it, and perhaps returning periodically for mild upkeep. If you followed the Abandoned Japan channel while it was active, you may have noticed that I never again explored any house or structure in such good condition, as it just didn’t seem the right thing to do – and instead I limited my exploration to houses, businesses, farms, temples and shrines which were clearly utterly abandoned, and no longer subject to human interest; and even then, I rarely went inside.
I’m 100% confident that if I returned to this home today I’d find it utterly overgrown with the force and fecundity of Japan’s temperate mountain rainforests, which can swallow a home or farm utterly in a matter of one or two years. For, once the attendant old farmer dies, everything in the power and control of his once strong and capable hands returns utterly to the land from whence it was made. The current number of abandoned homes in Japan is estimated at over 20 million (thanks for the stat Kevin O’Shea), and the number is rising each year. And with the average age of Japanese farmers currently hovering just below 70, Japan is facing nothing short of a coming apocalypse of loss to its rural agrarian lifestyle and culture.
This video was first uploaded to YouTube on November 17th, 2012.
Note: Clearly I didn’t watch the video until AFTER I wrote the description. It turns out this is my revisit to this old house which I first visited five years earlier (that would have been in 2007). So much for thinking I can remember a video from the thumbnail. I guess I’d better watch these things before I write up the description.
My name is Kurt Bell and I am delighted that you have taken some time to share a little of The Good Life with me. I’m available on social media at the links below and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My book is available here:
Going Alone is an independent approach to living, uncovering what is real, and making peace with the facts of what is true no matter how the truth makes us feel. I upload at least one video a week for this series on my YouTube channel.
The Good Life is a formulated plan of objectives and principals designed to help us live a more virtuous life in accord with sound reasoning. I upload at least one video a month for this series.
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