There is a sign on the Goka Family’s shed which states, ‘we have enough’. A simple statement but one which is never said enough in today’s world. Living in a small village near Mount Fuji, the Goka Family produces enough from their farm to feed their family and also a small amount to sell. Everything they can, they grow themselves from rice to tea. Their basic shopping list consists of salt and sugar. They do not use electricity and all cooking and heating is done by wood fire. Solar lamps are charged each day for playing guitar by the fire after dinner or reading story books to the children. Very occasionally of course they do have to use electricity for things like the ironing or charging the mobile phone.
The house is a traditional farm house for the area. The kitchen/entry area is ground level while a series of raised tatami rooms are connected by sliding doors and a balcony running along two sides of the house. The Goka Family has built some additions like a lean to kitchen/storage area and composting toilet. The house is in the process of being updated to accommodate the growing family’s needs as well as being restored.
Living completely self-sufficiently is no easy task, but the rewards are worth it. The Goka house is by no means grand architecture and the restoring is necessary but its beauty was in its simplicity and how lived-in it was. This house has only ever seen the light of the sun and the glow of the fire and through this and the life it encourages it enhances one’s connection to nature. But at the same time it provides those constantly working outside with shelter and a home. What more can you really want from a house?