Kyoko’s shed

When J heard that Kyoko – a photographer he met at an exhibition – had a shed in her garden which she was planning to turn into a dark room he offered our help. Some of you might know that we love to rejuvenate old rooms. Our 2 weeks’ summer holiday this year we spent in Engelberg and redecorated one of the old hotel rooms at my cousin’s Hotel Engelberg.  I’m not sure if the link to the pictures of the room works, otherwise go to my Facebook page and scroll back to June 2014.

Anyway, last weekend we went to see Kyoko to help her with some work. We took the metro and then a train and arrived after about 45 minutes somewhere in Western Tokyo. From the station we had to walk a few minutes and then turned off the street into this tiny alleyway….

IMG_3294 …. and we arrived in this enchanted garden. You can’t really tell from the pictures but it was so beautiful! The house is very old and in Kyoko’s family since ever. Her grandmother was born there.

IMG_3295On the left side hidden behind the yellow cloth you can catch a first glimpse of the shed.

IMG_3296This is the view from her bedroom into the garden. Wonderful!IMG_3304First we ate some sushi for lunch.

IMG_3305Then we geared up. Kyoko had bought masks, gloves and coats.

IMG_3306We were lucky. The weather was beautiful and very mild. We started with taking a first look at the garden house. It has been used as storage room for some decades now. But before that someone had been living in there. It’s a charming room filled with atmosphere. There is some storage space and even a toilet. Only a latrine type of course. Entering the house, you have to take off your shoes and then you can step up the stairs. As the floor had just been freshly redone we had to do that too.


IMG_3308Our first task was to get everything out and then we started to dust with broom and vacuum cleaner (yes, the house has electricity!) and later wash down the ceiling and every wall to get it ready for being painted.

IMG_3321The windows were all grown over with ivy so that you couldn’t slide them open anymore.

IMG_3322It was J’s job to free the windows. As you can see, he was very focused doing so. And he did a great job!

IMG_3329Myself, taking a break with all the windows open.

IMG_3333IMG_3342I really like the locks on the windows. There are two of those keys per window. When they’re unscrewed you can slide open the windows. When they’re screwed in, the windows are locked. Very elegant I think.


IMG_3344J doing something. Don’t remember what :-)

IMG_3341Kyoko and J contemplating some detail.

IMG_3335 After washing down the walls, the afternoon was over, it had become dark and we were putting everything back into the shed. It will probably need a second wash, as the walls were covered with cigarette smoke and we weren’t able to wash down all of the black residue in this first round.

To round-up the day, we had this typical Japanese meal. The cooking pot would sit in the middle of the table. It was filled with a fish broth where Kyoko added the leek and later the carrots to boil them for a while. When we started eating she added fish, chinese cabbage and mushrooms and towards the end of the meal some noodles. Very yummy!

IMG_3349Thank you Kyoko for this wonderful day! We are looking forward to see you dark room when it’s finished.

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