When we came to Japan to teach English, helping build a house was the farthest thing from Richard’s mind but when the call went out for volunteers to work on the house that was about to be built for our pastors, Steve and Shelley, he jumped at the opportunity. Because we taught during the afternoon and evening, he was able to spend several mornings at the building site working with other fellows from our church as well as teams of volunteers who came from the US. Truth be told, he enjoyed the experience so much that he would have preferred to continue working there instead of having to teach!
When we left Japan, the house was a long way from being finished. The last time Richard worked on it, they were erecting the second storey walls. Now, I’m sitting in the livingroom! Though we’ll be spending short periods of time with other friends in the area, we are very privileged to call Steve and Shelley’s beautiful house our home base while we’re here.
Much bigger than most Japanese homes, this house was designed not only for family living but also as a place where various groups from the church could gather. Here’s a tour of the main floor:
There are several bedrooms, an office and a laundry room on the second floor.
The construction materials, cupboards and even the appliances were all shipped to Japan from the US. Apparently, that was less expensive than buying locally. That does have some disadvantages, however. The dishwasher has never worked and the dryer isn’t functioning well but the people who know how to service them are an ocean away! When our dryer isn’t working well, Richard takes the back off and cleans out the lint that inevitably accumulates. He tried to do that with this one but it didn’t help.
Unlike most Japanese houses, this one is well insulated but like the rest of the homes in this country, it doesn’t have central heating. They could have brought in a furnace along with the rest of the building materials but they realized that without the availability of service and parts, that would be foolhardy. Instead, like most Japanese homes, each room has a small heater. Rooms that are not in use are kept closed and only those that are being used are kept warm. Each night before we go to bed, we turn on the heat and warm up our room.
Also, unlike most Japanese homes, there is space in front of the house to park several vehicles. I’m sure the neighbours appreciate that when groups gather here! All in all, this house is a blessing from God. Richard was blessed by the opportunity to work on it’s construction and we are truly blessed to be able to stay in it!