Hello from a Newbie in Tokyo - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-25-2007, 02:49 AM Thread Starter
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Post Hello from a Newbie in Tokyo

Hi! I found this site on a DIY search and it looks interesting!

I'm an American, born and grew up in Salt Lake City, and I've lived in Japan for 18 years.

Other than some shop projects back yeeeeeears and years ago, I have no experience, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to start now.

We're going to be moving to a new house in June, and I want to make some custom furniture, so I figure I've got a half a year to learn something!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a good Christmas and Holiday seasons. I'm looking forward to asking more questions as I go along.

Dave
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-25-2007, 06:56 AM
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Hi Dave, ask away. I have always liked Japanese architecture and their interesting joinery techniques. Visit often, post pictures if you can.
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post #3 of 14 Old 12-25-2007, 07:30 AM
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Konnichiwa Dave. Welcome to the group.

Ken

"What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence".
- Samuel Johnson
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post #4 of 14 Old 12-26-2007, 10:22 AM
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Welcome to the site Dave!
Jump right in.

Did you say tool sale?
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-26-2007, 10:47 AM
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Welcome Dave.

I lived there 3 years (68 - 70). It's changed alot since then.
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post #6 of 14 Old 12-27-2007, 12:32 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTimbers View Post
Welcome Dave.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasTimbers View Post

I lived there 3 years (68 - 70). It's changed alot since then.
The first time I came was in '81, and it's quite the different place since then. What were you doing here? (And unless your father was in the military, I'm guessing you are a few moons older than me?

My wife and I are going to move to a new place in June next year. Construction will begin in February.

You can see the land on google maps.
the latitude and longitude is:
35.6526, 139.6713

Since this is Tokyo, the place is teeny tiny and we'll need to utilize every square inch. Or, rather, since this is Tokyo, we'll need to utilize every square centimeter. It's only about 835 sq. ft., so this kid won't get a dedicated shop!

With a miniscule kitchen, we need to figure out how to allow us both the cook simultaneously. Complicating the issue is that I'm 6 ft and she's just a little over 5' so we have to juggle counter heights or there will be too much stooping or jumping required. I've got a few ideas on what I want to do, and want to see if I can learn enough to make it myself.

I'm going to try a test project to try out a few woodworking techniques, but after looking at the projects ya'all are doing, I'll be embarrassed to post pictures. It would be like submitting a kindergartener's work to the Louvre.
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-27-2007, 04:28 AM
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Well we would like to see a few examples of good japanese steel knives made from samurai steel perhaps there is a company which make tools from this multi layered steel, would be very expensive.
johnep
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post #8 of 14 Old 12-27-2007, 07:11 AM
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I'll be embarrassed to post pictures.
I meant of Japan.
I think you can get by with 835 ft2, my first house was under 900. (course it was a little small )
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-27-2007, 07:35 AM
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Well we would like to see a few examples of good japanese steel
This is one of the most amazing television programs I have ever seen. I was in awe. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/samurai/swor-nf.html . It was an hour program starting with the guy who spent 72 hours straight making the raw material (did not sleep, just tended the smelting process) all the way to the sword polisher who would spend 2 weeks sharpening and polishing the sword.

I was truly blown away. Something so beautiful and unmatched in performance for its intended use....the process has not changed for 1000 years. Wrap your head around that, someone said 1000 years ago "perfect !", and it has just been done that way ever since.

Last edited by Daren; 12-27-2007 at 07:59 AM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 12-31-2007, 09:16 PM
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I just found a 10 minute clip of that show. It hits the high points. The particular sword smith in this video is a master that his family has been doing it for 800 years , 40 generation.

Of course as a professional sharpener, this video is lacking something for me...it cuts off right when they get to the good part . I will try to find it. The sword smith, smelter...all were masters, but had apprentices doing the "heavy" work. The sword polisher worked solo.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwQqtf86qOc[/youtube]

Last edited by Daren; 12-31-2007 at 09:38 PM.
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-01-2008, 11:26 AM
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Very interesting, have seen something similar on discovery. would love to be there .
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-01-2008, 12:00 PM
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Dave, yes I was a navy brat. I was 9, 10, and 11 while we lived there. My sister and I soaked up the language at that age and were translationg for, and negotiating buying and selling at the genza for my parents and their friends within 6 months.

We lived off base for the first 2 years because at that time NAS Atsugi was still growing leaps and bounds and there was not enough base housing for the grwoing influx. It was the main foward-deployed Pacific Theatre "Tip of the Spear" against the Soviet War Machne. So I spent my first 2 years in the immersion method. We had our own mama-san etc. and our landlord has kids our age. We used to run the countryside without supervision because of course crime was vurtually non-existant.

Anywhere I went, having bleach blond hair, my head would get rubbed for good luck. i don't know if the current generatrion would do that I doubt it. When we were there it was still "Old" Japan in most of the rural parts like where we lived ... on a low plateau right smack dab in the middle of a titantic size rice paddy with one roud in and one road out. WWII vets, many of them lame or otherwise disabled/missing limbs etc. were everywhere.
I used to take the long walk out and explore and climb all over nearby mountain. One day I happened upon a large family all reaping, with sickles, a tall grasslike hay or whatever it may have been on this steep mountainside. I asked if i could do it too, and ended up working all day and going home with them for evening meal. My parents had got the Japanese police curry-combing the countryside for me and when i got back home the whole village hwas out looking for me. that was not the last time I took off and got a good busting. I never did respond well to punishment I would take my thrashing, promise not to wander off ever again, and within a week I was off exploring Japan again.

i loved that experience. I wish my kids could have had a childhood like I did moving around every 2 to 3 years experiemce different cultures and states. Of course, I never developed any lifelong friendships like my kids have growong up in one spot either so, I suppose they have not missed anything. My wife and I have often mused about taking them to Japan but, I am sure I would be sorely dissapointed with it now being all westernized.
Enough reminiscing.

Once you start building, if you can find the time, start a new thread and post some pictures, and describe the process you have to go through with the local gov's or however they regulate building. I bet it is a lot of red tape?

And finally, if you don't mind telling, how did you end up there?

Last edited by TexasTimbers; 01-01-2008 at 12:14 PM.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-02-2008, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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Daren, That was a fascinating video. The swordsmith is Gassan Satatoshi and has been designated a Living Cultural Heritage by the government. Years ago, I read about the process, but watching in on video was really cool. It was unfortunate that the US Army destroyed so many katana after WWII.

Texas, it sounds like you had quite the experience. That’s really great. Have you been back since then?

Since you asked about it, here’s my life story, or at least a short version of it.

I first came to in 81 as a Mormon missionary. I’m from Salt Lake City, and while I’m not affiliated with the Mormon church anymore, I was an “old generation” Mormon, with both parents descendants of pioneer stock who came over in covered wagons or pushed handcarts. One great-great-great grandmother had both legs amputated at the knees because of frostbite and then still had and raised 8 children. Tough people.

Anyway, I came over to Japan, fell in love with the culture and the people. After my mission was finished, I went back to Utah and started school, working nights to support myself. Somehow got through an electrical engineering program, but discovered along the way that I didn’t want to be an engineer; but finished my last year since that was the fasted way though a degree.

Met and married a Japanese woman, and moved back over here in ’90 but that didn’t work out. (The marriage, not the Japan part.) A couple of years ago, I was ready to move back, but then I met a really special Taiwanese woman. Beautiful, funny and smart, any man would be a damn fool to not chase her. Hell, I may not be as smart as I like to pretend, but even I was able to recognize a gem when I saw it.

I put a full-court press on, and we were engaged a few months after we met, and married a few months after that. No sense giving anyone else a chance to slip in.

We decided to live here until retirement, where we plan on splitting our time between the States and Taiwan, so we started looking for a place to call our own. I like doing things my own way, so I wanted to have something built instead of getting something designed for someone else.

We searched for months, until I had a feel for what I wanted and didn’t want. One Sunday we got a call from an agent about a nice (tiny) plot with a contract to build a house. We looked at it on Monday, talked to the builders on Tuesday and signed on Wednesday. Once you do your homework and find something (or someone) you like, then there isn’t much point in dallying around.

They start in February and should finish in June. I’ll post more about it later.
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post #14 of 14 Old 01-02-2008, 06:45 AM
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Dave.
Welcome to our forum glad to have you here.

Bruce,
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