Summer 2016

Summer 2016
Summer in Tsukahara

Spring in Tsukahara

gkimbal's Spring in Tsukahara album on Photobucket

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Moving right along

The roofers wasted little time getting the galvalume installed. The carpenters will be installing framing around the house. Galvalume will be installed on top of the framing. However, the project is delayed because of earthquake damage to other homes. 

The chimney will have galvalume applied when the sides of the home are done.

Speaking of delays...the observatory was stuck in China for a week. Then it was stuck in Korea for a week. Now it's stuck in Oita, Japan until later this week. I know that I need to be patient. The earthquakes have delayed everything and everyone in the area. I'm scheduled for a delivery Saturday morning. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.   George

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Life goes on

The roofers have started installing galvalume on our home. We are still having frequent aftershocks, but the roofers need to get the job done. I find their spirit motivational!

This morning my cell phone made a strange noise. It was an alarm triggered by a landslide warning in the Yufuin/ Shonai area. The warning was telling everyone to evacuate the area. Erika and I have been in Hasama since very early this morning. We are not sure what the road conditions will be like when we go home late tonight.

The roofers did not work today because of the heavy rains. They will attempt to get the roof done this weekend. They have been working almost 12 hours a day. Many people need their services in Yufuin and the surrounding areas.     George 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

When to start?

It’s hard to tell that a disaster took place nearby. The sun is shining. The birds are chirping on a beautiful spring day. The only reminder is an occasional jolt from an aftershock. The local news reports lines of quake survivors waiting hours for food and water. Many of the major roads are closed preventing food and supplies from being delivered. Each community is doing what it can to clean things up. The frustrating part is that each tremor only brings more damage. Where and when do you start to live a normal life again?

Saturday, April 16, 2016


It’s been a rough couple of days in Kyushu. The earth has been shaking almost continuously. At last count, there have been around 350 tremors. The odd thing that happens is that when the tremors stop, it still feels like the ground is moving. We have been asking our neighbors and they all agree that it’s hard to feel stable. Everything feels…shaky. We have been wearing helmets and keeping the dogs on leash. Our upstairs is a mess with bookshelves toppled over and various things strewn on the floor. This is minor compared to the many homes that have been destroyed. 

The earthquakes have been moving along a path extending some 100 km. Tsukahara is in that path. There is a sense of unease. No one knows where the next big one will hit. As I write this blog an aftershock is occurring. I don't know when this will stop.


We have been trying to sleep in our car. The epicenter has been in Kumamoto, but the entire region has been shaken. A very severe storm is approaching and the greatest fear is landslides. Food and supplies will be hard to obtain in the short term. Many of the major roads have been damaged and it’s difficult to get around. Yufuin has had problems with obtaining water. The power outages are countless. To make matters worse, a nearby volcano (Mt.Aso) is erupting.  It’s so depressing to see that so many of the dead and injured are elderly.


The Japanese spirit is strong and the people will rise again to return things to normal. That’s one of the great things about this country, the people are amazingly resilient.      George

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Before the real work begins...

Inagakisan and the roofer will not start until the materials arrive on Monday. Hopefully this will give me enough time to stain the eaves. The color we chose is black. This will highlight the roof color and make the roof appear “thicker”. The black will also link the color of the roof to the siding. Plus, I think it looks cool! The problem with black stain is that the drips are noticeable everywhere. I did not prep the area and now I have a big mess to clean up.

With the observatory waiting to be delivered to our home and the trades people almost ready to start, I'm starting to feel the pressure. It looks like everything will happen at the same time.   George

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Three trucks filled with scaffolding showed up late this morning. By the end of the day, the scaffolding was in place. I had serious doubts about them finishing the job before nightfall. Nevertheless, by the time we came back home from Hasama, the job was complete. These guys KNOW what they are doing!

Inagakisan, our carpenter, will take over from here. I believe he will remove the entire entryway, but I’m not sure if that’s the next step. Maybe the roof is next? I have not seen any building materials delivered. The roof will be black galvalume. The siding will be black and ivory galvalume. The lower siding will be cedar siding which will cover the existing logs. This will match the already remodeled portion of the house.

The style we are trying to convey is contemporary, but we have to be careful not to make it look like a warehouse. It will certainly be an unusual house. The exterior will conceal the logs while the interior will showcase the log architecture.  

Switching topics: The observatory is still in China. Another ship (CSAV Trancura) will bring the obsy to Busan (South Korea) on the 12th.  Another ship (Marvel) will bring the obsy to Oita (Japan) on the 14th. Well that's the plan anyway. Hopefully, the obsy will be here in time for Golden Week. If so, I'll be able to concentrate on assembling the dome during my vacation. Tsuyu (rainy season) will begin early this year. I hope to get the dome assembled before the rains start. The electronics for the obsy and telescope will have to wait until the exterior of the house is complete. What all of this means is that the next couple of months will be extremely fun...I mean busy.        George

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Counter for Bar Stools

The counter with seating for a couple of bar stools is finally completed. The counter prevents unwanted guests from entering the kitchen. Under cabinet lighting provides a nice finishing touch. I’ll be adding a couple of decorative pendant lights above the counter. The vertical surface below the counter will be paneled, doors painted and tile flooring added. Up next…the pantry door.

Under cabinet LED lighting 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Phase 3 has begun

Before I go any further, I'll explain what we are going to try to accomplish and why.  

When I saw the property for the first time, I knew this was where I wanted to live. However, the house was in terrible shape. I had just finished a major remodel in the U.S. and I did not want to do another one. I knew the house needed a lot of work just to make it livable. Erika and I did not want a log home. Log homes are high maintenance compared to a traditional style stucco home. This presented a huge problem. I loved the location, but I did not like the house. We tried to find other properties, but nothing compared to the incredible 360 degree views of Tsukahara. I had to have THIS property.

After five years of remodeling and trying to fix all of the leaks, we finally reached a point where enough was enough. It was time for more drastic measures…the third phase of the remodel. To satisfy our need to live in a home that would be as maintenance free as possible with no leaks required a different approach. I have been removing rotted logs, caulking cracks, and sealing everything. Nothing worked. We still had water penetrating our living area whenever the wind blew the rain sideways. The leaks occurred on the front and back sides of the house. An architect looked at our home right after we first moved in. He mentioned that it was possible to fix all of our problems by covering everything up with a secondary wall around the entire home. We thought he was out of his mind. Recently, the same idea came up again. This time instead of building a secondary wall we would use galvalume sheeting to cover the entire exterior including the roof. As I mentioned earlier, we don't like log homes. This solution would make most of the logs disappear and protect the exterior from the elements. We would have a home that could withstand the typhoon rains and look good for many years to come. Let's get started!

                     The first thing to go was the veranda. 

The veranda was removed. That's it folks until the scaffolding arrives on Monday. 

                 Most of the scrap will be used for future BBQ's. 

The rails were cut so that the existing holes are plugged. Most of the exposed logs will be covered with galvalume. I'll explain how this will be done in another post.

The scaffolding will be installed on Monday. The exterior remodel will take about six weeks to complete. Stay tuned…               George