Monday, April 19, 2010


I mentioned snow in my last post.  On Friday we had a light snow all day that didn't really accumulate into anything, but then Friday night, it really started to come down, by 1am we had about 4 inches, then at 7 there was at least 9 inches, and it was fairly warm, so good packing snow.  I trudged over to camp at around 8 Saturday morning just to look around, not expecting to see anyone out and about, yet, to my suprize, behold, Miyake-san, my 70-something year old finish carpenter from Hawaii is out building a giant igloo all by himself!  So of course I was happy to have a friend to build a snow fort with and just had to help him.  So we built a 7 ft tall kamakura, or igloo.  Eventually others started coming out to join us and build a big snowman, and do a little bit of sledding.  So I had a lot of unexpected fun in the snow Saturday morning... and I hear it's been in the 80's back home?!

The Framing Crew Has Arrived!

Progress has really been flying with my framing crew here.  We started on Monday with nothing but the foundation, and by the end of  Thursday all interior and exterior walls were standing, and the rafters were cut and ready to go up.  
Friday morning we had some snow and decided it wasn't a good day to be building a roof, so I had some drywall that needed hung in cabin 5 that I put the crew on.  Hopefully Monday we'll be able to start back on the roof.
I think we've all been enjoying ourselves and the pictures show our progress better than I can explain it with words.  Don't forget to visit my Picasa Photo Album to see all of the pictures.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Prep for 14

In addition to taking a couple trips to Tokyo to get my visa, cleaning out storage areas here at camp, hauling garbage to the dump, getting projects ready for the finish carpenter who is here, and trying to make friends and settle in, I've been preparing for cabin 14 to be built by a crew who just arrived on Sunday (11th).
It is almost the same group I worked with last fall on the meeting room; a couple from Germany, and two couples from Oregon.  The men will be framing cabin 14, and the women will be decorating the new language school building that was built by Japanese carpenters.
There was a lot of prep work to put into 14 before the crew arrived so that I could keep them busy without delays.  So the old cabin 14, which has only been a skeleton frame for the past few years, needed torn down and cleared off site.  A new concrete pier foundation needed put in, blue-plans for the new cabin needed to be drawn up, and all the materials that would be required to frame, roof, and side the cabin needed to be gathered.  I had just enough time to get it all done the Friday before they arrived.
Things are moving very fast now that the crew is here, so I'll need to make time to write another update soon, but that's all for now.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Oh the paperwork.....

     Well, I've successfully acquired my visa, so I can legally stay in Japan for one year now.  It was really quite the process to get it though.  I had to fill out some forms back in the US in February and mailed them to the TEAM office in Tokyo.  They hand delivered them to the immigration office, and then we waited for the certificate of eligibility, saying that I was eligible for a visa.  That came in the middle of March after I was already in Karuizawa.  So I had to travel back to Tokyo, go to the immigration office, fill out a bunch more forms, and then they said, we'll mail you something in a few weeks when your visa is ready to pick up.  So back to Karuizawa I went, only to return to Tokyo this Monday to go to immigration fill out some more paperwork, and finally get the visa.
     Now, I'm working on getting my alien registration card here in Karuizawa, and once I get that, then I can open an account at the post office.... oh the work to move to another country.
     But thank the Lord that I was able to get my visa while already here in Japan.  In past years, one would have to get the visa before coming, or would have to leave the country, pick it up, and then return.  So being able to get it while already here was easier, faster, and cheaper.