Travels with Ikuta-san in Chiba Prefecture

September 15-17 traveled in Chiba Prefecture with Shigeyuki IKUTA, secretariat of the Japan Straw Bale House Association.
Ikuta-san at "Love and Rice"
On September 15, collected data from Furyu, the straw bale cafe/gallery built last summer for Ikue MASADO (formally Saya TAKAGI).Ikuta-san and I spent the evening at "Love and Rice", an intentional community in 鴨川 (Kamogawa), Chiba Prefecture.Their motto is "Life is a Journey, not a destination". Fitting for a community that began as a collection of buses and vans.They're now in the process of building a home, and I was asked to consult and help with the production of abode.Inspired by a project in Norway called the Eco House, I've proposed the use of abode made of light-straw-clay. Light-straw-clay provides better insulation than traditional cob or adobe. It is also lighter than cob and traditional adobe, which may be more suitable for seismic zones. Light-straw-clay, having more organic matter (straw) than cob and adobe, is also more susceptible to moisture and decay, which will require greater attention to construction details. On September 16, we made test adobe of various sizes and compositions entirely from local materials within 1km.
Copped straw
Clay slip
Pack into a form
The width of the bricks was determined by the width of the framing members. Kamogawa has a heavy clay loam, suitable for light-straw-clay and rice cultivation.

On Septebmer 16, visited the construction site of a home being built using traditional Japanese timber-framing.
Construction drawing used by Japanese tiber-framers

Had lunch at 鴨川自然王国 (literally, Kamogawa Kingdom of Nature), a sustainability center, cafe, and working farm founded by Toshio FUJIMOTO, leader of the "student movement", a student antiwar movement in the 60's and 70's, who's noncompliance closed universities in Tokyo. Fujimoto spent a couple of years in prison as a result.
Passive solar design at Kamogawa Shizen Oukoku
In the afternoon, visited Riko HIRATA, a carpenter by trade, but spends most of her time farming. Returned to Fujisawa late Thursday night.

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