Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My House

I am coming around on the house. Here are the good points. My neighborhood is extraordinary. I live on Muromachi street. My street has a period of Japanese history named after it. It lies between the old Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle. It is the home of old kimono makers and other artisans. I was walking to the grocery store last night and there was an old man sitting on a platform in his front room with his gas heater going carving intricate wooden boxes. Most of the houses around here are traditional machiya. That's nice. The location is convenient. The other good point is that the owner, an amiable guy from New Zealand, has given me permission to do anything I want to the house, short of tearing it down. Yesterday I tackled the frightening bathroom. as I pointed out earlier, the tub and toilet are outside under a shack like roof. The are surrounding them was floored with dark, rotting wood, matted with old hair. I got in and ripped out all of the wood that I could. Older wood was piled on top of the new wood and it all rested on a rubber matting. I scrubbed out the (rat) hair and threw out the wood. I went to the hardware store and bought 40kg of white gardening stones. They were cheap at $2 for a 10kg bag. I bought two cheap bricks for stepping stones. I put the stones down on the rubber matting were it would make sense to put ones feet and then poured the white stone into all the open space. I cleaned up the toilet area and bought an incense holder, some incense and a cactus, and put them on top of the toilet. The toilet smells like piss, but it is very old, although not dirty, and I am not sure what can be done about it. Before I refused to go in the bathroom, no sometimes I go just to look at it. The guy who has been living here for 2 1/2 years said, "It never occurred to me to do anything about it." I can't understand that, although I don't fault him. He probably does lots of things that I wouldn't think of. I must promote the use of gardening stones. They are cheap and useful. They give the impression of cleanliness. I got the bright white ones because the room is so dark that it was creepy and poorly lit. Now enough reflected light comes of the floor to give it it's own soft glow. I would do before and after pics, but my camera is deciding not to work.

Next will be the walkway out front. I am tackling it this weekend with the same formula. I seriously think that for a $100 investment, I can bring the property value up significantly. Plus, this neighborhood has such incredible entranceways that are an inspiration. I will do photos of them at some point too.

My room will come later. It is crazy. It is a little less than 6 feet wide, but maybe 25-30 feet long with a very high ceiling that peaks in the middle. It is the ceiling of the old kitchen. The view out my window is a series of old, Japanese rooftops. I might build a loft. The winter will be rough if I stay, but it is nice to have a house to work on. It's nice to have a big kitchen with a gas stove. I am also kind of happy to live with nice people. Keeps me from getting in so much of a rut.


Mom said...

So glad to hear you are making the best and improving on it. SOunds like quite a project. Can't wait to see neighborhood pictures. Wyatt and Nancy have bought a foreclosure and are having to do major renovations, also. Although, I think their bathroom is inside.

The Morholt said...

I'm gardening today, bought a juniper bush, lantanam, lavender, and some strawberries to plant around in little and big pots on my patio. I think i have fixed the problem i was having with my big gardenia, where the flowers turned brown before fully opening. between the lavender,the gardenia, and some night blooming jasmine, the place smells pretty good. i might suggest something similar around your bathroom Bleach around the john and let it soak into the rotten wood; you have a problem of guys who drink (and therefor dont aim well) combined with too porous surfaces, so the piss gets into the place and stanks it up. My recommendation would be one part bleach to actually kill the odors and one part nice plants to mask them. also, now that the bathroom isn't essentially like peeing in an empty and nasty lot, maybe folks will be more careful.
I'll think of you as i garden today and send the best thoughts and smells I can in your direction.

wwc said...

Thanks. Actually I thought of you guys doing this. I know that Mom and Tom Grossi wouldn't allow a scene like that in a perfectly fixable house. In fact, I don't think Tom would have sat down yet. The are around the toilet is, in fact, tile. I think the smell is either because it is an old sewer connection, or because a fake, plastic, Western toilet has been put over the older Japanese-style toilet. I also thought of plants, but the space is rather small and plants can attract bugs. Although some small plants might be nice. If I owned the place I would invest in a wood burning stove for the whole area.

The Morholt said...

Bugs. Ha ha. Bugs.

attempting to silence the voices in my head.