I split my time between three ongoing projects in Tokyo and Onomichi.
In 2017, I joined several colleagues to renovate and open Tokyo Little House, a tourist space in a 73-year old house in Akasaka, Tokyo, featuring a one-room hotel, cafe, history gallery, and our office where we do editing and publishing work. The house is among the last remaining structures in the area that were built in the ruins of the firebombing of 1945. The second-floor accommodation preserves the original atmosphere of the space, while the first floor cafe space hosts an exhibition of photographs, maps, magazines, and guidebooks that show the city’s appearance immediately after the war. Drop by anytime from 11-5 on weekdays. We have good coffee.
In 2020, I co-founded a non-profit organization to preserve Japan’s historic public baths and the culture of their surrounding neighborhoods. For our first project, we received funding through World Monuments Fund’s 2020 Watch List to restore and preserve the 90-year-old bathhouse Inari-yu in Takinogawa, Tokyo. As part of the project, we are renovating an abandoned century-old nagaya attached to the bathhouse into a new style of community space that should supplement the role of the bath in the local neighborhood. This project should be complete by early 2022, after which we hope to expand our efforts to other bathhouses. You can read about why I started the organization here, and can become a supporting member or donate at our website.
Onomichi Labyrinth House
Since 2020, I have been part of a group that is renovating an old house on the historic hillside in Onomichi, Hiroshima. We received three houses for free and have built a community of friends and volunteers to pursue an extensive renovation of the badly damaged structures. The first stage of the project will be complete in late 2021, and will feature a large event space for talks and film screenings, a community kitchen, and a workshop/gallery space. You can read about my interest in akiya (vacant houses) here.