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In the US and the UK (where I have also lived) a substantial sector of the economy is driven by DIY culture. Since ancient times, Japan has venerated the highly-skilled carpenters who erected homes using complex joinery (rather than screws or nails).[1] Contrast this with the American frontier experience where homes could be mail ordered from catalogs and self-built from pre-cut kits. To most Japanese, however, the notion of buying a ‘fixer-upper’ is about as alien as living in a double-wide trailer. Japan’s dense cities are maxed-out, making reform of existing buildings a more viable choice for urbanites. Likewise, Japan’s major construction companies are turning their attention to the refurbishment market. In a more literal sense, the work of architect Walter Segal perfectly demonstrates that DIY and architecture are far from dichotomous.
I agree, the change in regulations mainly addresses larger concrete structures like Danshi (social housing projects).
I will move to Tokyo in my girlfriend’s apartment, her place surely needs to be renovated. In a study i conducted, I found prices of cut lumber and basic building materials to be on a par with the USA. If you are building or doing DIY in Japan importing some items from the USA are recommended. Log homes are beginning to be of interest in japan as they are VERY strong and laugh at earthquakes and Typhoons. You may love this kanzashi cherry blossom for the coming Spring, they are so pretty for girls garment or room decoration. DIY Japanese-Inspired Glass Wind Chimes - Shelterness Search for: BEGIN TYPING YOUR SEARCH ABOVE AND PRESS RETURN TO SEARCH.
While not built just for achieving a smaller environmental footprint and lower maintenance costs, this 10-foot by 20-foot, 15-foot tall tiny house is perfect for its owner, Chris Heininge, a builder and former Christian missionary.
Note: The price includes all appliances and will include delivery withing 50 miles from Portland, Oregon. Disclaimer All materials, unless otherwise noted, were taken from the Internet and are assumed to be in the public domain. For better or for worse, those hulking big box home improvement retailers (like Home Depot in the US or B&Q in the UK) are cathedrals to the ‘can-do’ spirit.
The wealth (and speculation) of the American West was built upon sweat equity because professional building expertise was in short supply. For many young families, DIY home improvements mean a leg up on those critical first rungs. Money that would be spent on building a new home on cheaper land in the suburbs can go a lot further if it is used to improve an existing property in a more desirable location.
His snapshots show that DIY spirit is alive and well, with people trying their best to make do with imperfect (and often deteriorating) situations.
As documented so vividly in Asby Brown’s recent book, Just Enough, Edo Japan’s class society was highly differentiated into specialist trades.
As a practical movement, it can have immense political, social, and economic ramifications. I was wondering if anyone knows where I can find reclaimed wood like the stuff they load on the trucks after tearing down older houses here in Tokyo?
Kyu-taishin (built before 1981) timber houses, being smaller and lighter, do not present such a risk, but seismic safety shouldn’t be ignored here either.

I lived in an old house (60 years old) here in Tokyo with this option but I am pretty sure it is illegal. They dont use sweat type copper pipe or fittings, and stainless steel pipe fittings are cheaper there. And it is a little challenge to make kanzashi because you need to edge the ribbon with fire, so be careful. This was directed by Rok Predin and Layla Atkinson with additional illustration by Sara Savelj.
The film initially suggests a child’s ‘lift the flap’ book but it quickly subverts this familiar visual narrative and confounds the viewer’s anticipations.
Unlike lavish homes that get the eye with their luxurious designs, these small houses have a story to tell and will impress you with their strong personality. The whole design of the house is inspired by Heininge’s time spent in small but well-designed Japanese dwellings.
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Although the two construction cultures industrialized and have become more similar over time, a high vs. Moreover, adding insulation, replacing windows, caulking, etc will make homes more energy efficient. New suburban developments lack the character, variation, and the vigorous spirit of communities that have grown over time.
As housing starts have reached a 46-year low, Prime Minister Hatoyama is banking on renovation.
But it would be a shame if renovation falls completely into the hands of the very companies that have perpetuated a disposable housing for many years. Firstly, I believe that DIY is a personally enriching enterprise and has much to teach architects about their craft. The venerated carpenter class built homes by expertly intricate timber joints (without nails or screws), partly so that they could withstand earthquakes. This spirit was best embodied by Ghandi, who showed Indians that spinning their own wool would liberate the country from colonial economic rule. We have written a clause in the contract that the house will be professionally inspected and that if there is any serious termite damage or earthquake, or major issues within the first 3 months the seller has agreed to negotiate with us on repairs. If you’ve had the home professionally inspected, you should be able to determine whether the construction is safe, but its hard to know if walls are at least cross braced without removing one side (or maybe use a electronic stud finder, checking near the corners of the house). People do it anyway- how could the city ever inspect all new construction in a city like Tokyo? For locks and things sometimes its better to go to a neighborhood hardware store, small and more expensive but not to bad. As Rok says the visual journey “lets the viewer ponder the traditional relationship between internal and external space while being a very visually pleasing film ”.
And while it looks small, it has a spacious living room, a small kitchen with a small eat-in dining area, and a stunning 1,500-watt electrical fireplace tucked under the stairs. Entire television networks, magazines and other outlets are dedicated to bettering one’s modest lot. Psychologically, the task of building one’s own home forms an amazing bond – a stronger sense of home and one’s personal stake in it.
It is not uncommon to buy an existing home only to tear it down straight away and build anew.

It’s a mindset that has been perpetuated by corporate home builders who “have been scrapping old houses and building new ones in the past because it’s most lucrative…”[2] Since the Japanese have become fixated on living in brand new homes, houses have no market value after 25 to 30 years. Retrofitting homes with solar panels and other energy generating features frees homeowners from their dependency on energy companies. This may be as simple as cosmetic enhancements (like redecorating the living room) or adding amenities (like erecting a sunroom).
Valuing existing homes will serve to improve the local character and preserve a sense of place. His Democratic Party of Japan aims to boost sales of existing homes and extend their lifespan from an average of 30 years, compared with 55 in the U.S.
Timber was a tightly controlled resource and therefore had to be used with skillful efficiency. You likely can’t see large cracks in walls that are covered by wallpaper (???), but you might try to feel for them. I am hoping at least the foundation is reinforced concrete- the kawara roof may have to go or the structural beams strengthened.
The use of a beautiful pared down palette reinforces the viewer’s engagement with the short creating a mesmerising and incredibly engaging film.
I know from personal experience that the process is never easy, but the sense of accomplishment makes it more than worthwhile. Despite living in the same property for most of their lives, I rarely see Japanese families carry out such modifications.
The government has already committed 100 billion yen (1 billion dollars) in incentives for energy efficient improvements to housing.
Homeowners (rather than marketers) are empowered to make decisions that will impact their lives for years to come. As we take our instructions from the individuals we work with, we help them to craft a unique response to their personal needs, environment, and dreams.
The spooky soundtrack was created by Ivan Arnold who Rok previously collaborated with on the award winning ‘Winter Poem’. Without a healthy resale market, homeowners are disadvantaged, lacking mobility (both financial and geographic). We rely on people that realize these benefits and who, rather than resort to a mass-marketed solution, seek to do something about it themselves.
That said, if you can invest money (replacing, insulating, etc) and your sweat equity in a house you intend to live in long-term, it could all be worthwhile. I wish there was some sort of charrette or group meeting to make people aware of the issue, complications, and opportunities concerning purchasing an old house.
The apartment is is over 30 years old- I think I spent about 200,000 yen on materials, tools etc.
Hang them at various heights from a pergola or the porch and listen as the glass and wood softly clink together with the wind.

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