February 2-6th, lead a straw bale workshop in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture (福島県飯舘村). Iitate received a grant from Japan's Ministry of the Environment to build a model ecological home. Iitate employed Permaculture Center Japan, represented by Koji Itonaga, Takahiro Yamada, Sachie Fujishima, and Kenji Uragami to create the overall design and build specific elements. In turn, a local architect, Yoshiyuki Toyota, and local construction company, Komatsu Construction Company, were hired. The west wall of a detached studio was built with straw bales. Workshop participants consisted mainly of Nihon University students.The interior is plastered with earth and will be finished with lime plaster.The soil used in the plaster was recycled from the earthen plastered walls of an old home. Who knows how many centuries this soil has been used as a plaster?For the base coat, the soil was mixed with cut straw. The exterior is finished with wood siding. I installed a series of temperature and relative humidity senors in the wall in order to determine the effect of an exterior rain screen on the interstitial hygrothermal environment.