We first came to Yakuno Kyoto, in late autumn around 2000.
Me and my wife were looking for a place to open a gallery to collect my own large-scale art works, and hopefully to start a small art community somewhere in countryside.
We visited local real estate agents many times but we could only find relatively small lands surrounded by dark spooky bamboo groves with our small budget.
One day, we saw a newspaper ad promoting a large ruined farm at a low price. It was a bit far away than our plan but in curiosity we called the agent to take us around.
When we get there, there was a vast land on a hilltop covered all over in green grass and pink pretty autumn flowers, its surrounding paddy fields turning yellow with ripe rice, and deep green mountains wearing fading morning fog.
We immediately fell in love with this beautiful view and decided to sign the paper.
When we done the paperworks and finally revisited the place, autumn passed by and all the bushes were withered. Only now we started to find some garbage buried under the snow.
As the snow melted in early spring, “some garbages” turned out to be a huge junk pile including collapsed barn, broken concrete walls, a decayed bath tub and so forth with lots of bad smell.
It’s been put up for sale for more than 10 years, so I guess it can’t be helped.
We started rebuilding the working hut, cut a path through the trash and undergrowth and trough out garbages.
People in Yakuno, especially my mentor farmer Fujiwara-san were very kind to us, they helped cleaning and cultivating the field, and taught us how to grow vegetables.
After 2 years we finally finished cleaning up garbages, and my dream of building an art gallery has started.