Four months ago we found ourselves in a whole new world- new hemisphere, new language, new food and a whole new way of moving through the world. We saw this as a huge opportunity. Why not use this chance to set life up the way we really want it? With our family and each other at the heart of everything, we sat down and thought through all the details. We wrote down what was most important to us and about the kind of life we want together. We thought about the decisions we would need to make ahead of time – like where to live, how to get around, what to eat and what we wanted life to look like in general – or at least how we wanted it to feel. We knew Japan would surprise us with all kinds of unexpected realities, which is awesome, because new experiences is high on our list of priorities! Believe me, we get surprised on a daily basis. But we werew ready with the basics, at least – so we kept our list in mind as we chose a house and put things in it, as we chose how to get around, and looked at schools. It made all the difference and while we’re still a bit confused about what’s going on a lot of the time, life feels pretty good! We found our Mojo house and everything kind of fell into place from there.
Mojo house was the first place we saw. It was just a drive by – or rather a wander down the tiniest Japanese road you’ve ever seen, winding past a common garden and traditional clay shingled houses and a persimmon grove. I have no idea how we found it – I still don’t have a clue where street names and numbers are located! It’s all google maps and landmarks for me! But there was this feeling about the place and the stairs falling down the side of the house that just got us all excited. It wasn’t much to look at from the outside but we would see inside later on.
We said no to a slew of other places and gave them all names like the headache house (made of plastic that was seriously off-gassing), persimmon house (felt like a hobbit house with really small doorways), crack house, and jungle house. Even Hongo house with the AMAZING huge fig tree and Japanese garden, stone walls and full sized doorways didn’t make the cut because it meant giving up some of the values we had set for ourselves.
We got to finally see inside Mojo house and while it was one of the smaller houses and the doorways, while not hobbit sized, are just a tiny bit low, it is full of light, it’s a bike ride from work and church, a walk from school and shops, and every time we go out and get lost we discover something wonderful, like a koi pond in a garden, or a bonsai collection or a hidden shrine.
The whole rhythm of our lives is set by Mojo house. The radius of our daily life is smaller and more intimate, we spend more time outside, and more time together. And, we’re closer to Costco and Taikoyama Land, which I will write more about later!