打ち合わせ（UCHIAWASE) ＝ Preliminary meeting
家（UCHI) ＝ House/Home
Therefore, we titled this blog post 家～会わせ (Uchi-Awase) even though the word probably doesn't exist.
Here are two pictures from an early uchi~awase back on March 30th where we had a very important meeting with Mr. Jinnouchi, Mr. Sasaki and Mr. Sakai. Jinnouchi-san (above left) is a natural builder guru in Japan, Sasaki-san (center above and below) is our architect who is getting us cleared to build the house and Sakai-san (bottom right) is our main builder. The pretty lady in the picture below is, the one and only, Maiko.
We had two more uchi-awase's yesterday that lasted all afternoon and into the night. The first was with Sakai-san and, after a few phone calls to Stefan-san in the middle of the meeting to confirm a few things, we are finally all on the same page with regards to the windows (previous post). Whew....even though it means more work for Sakai-san and probably a higher price tag for the house build, it is good we figured this one out now and not one week before the straw bale workshop. The second uchi-awase was with Jinnouchi-san at his hay (not straw) bale house in Asahikawa. His house is beautiful and since he was such a pioneer in the area with natural materials, we were able to pick his brain about important aspects of both the straw bale and earth plaster phases. The biggest thing we wanted to get information about was where to get the clay for the earth plaster. We believe we found a GREAT local source(in Higashikawa - where our house will be built) for the clay. This is truly fantastic news as both the straw for the straw bales and the clay for the earth plaster will be from the same town where we are building!! We also learned some different and more unique techniques to make and apply earth plaster here in Japan that we will need to discuss with Stefan-san. With 1,400 years of experience in using earth plaster, we need to respect the history of Japan and its use of this amazing natural material.