We clear the way to our company country house–literally. 

Our super cheap SoraHouse is slowly but steadily coming along! We haven’t done much to the interior yet, but after finding out that we need to tear down the old shed in the yard by hand, we also learned we need to prepare for the process by first cleaning up the landscaping. Being a somewhat neglected home in the wild mountains of Saitama, the area around our little house was quite overgrown with weeds and trees, so it needed some serious attention.

It would take significant might to conquer this wild land, so we called up Takanori Ogawa of construction firm Hobien once again. When we told him what we wanted to do, he said, “No problem! I’ll send some young’uns to get the job done,” and we could practically hear his broad smile over the phone.

On a burning hot summer day, Go Hatori and Yoshio, our Japanese-language reporters assigned to do battle with the wilderness today, waited with Yoshio’s nephew Liam at the house, sweltering in the heat, and wondering who would be coming up the mountain road today. Soon enough, a truck came trundling up the road. The Hobien reinforcements had arrived!

Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!

The driver expertly maneuvered the truck right to the side of the road, revealing even more of Hobien’s professional-level skills. That spot was extremely narrow and descended into a steep cliff nearby, so one wrong move could have sent the truck rolling over the edge. We would be too scared to park even our tiny Mitsubishi Minicar in that spot, nevermind a truck!

Once the truck was a safely parked, our reinforcements emerged: one young man, an older man whom the younger man referred to as “Ani”…

▼ …and the leader of this troop: the athletic Mr. Imazu!

Before we started, our fearless leader, Commander Imazu, gave us some safety tips for clearing out any and all plants in the way of the shed and the house.

“Please refrain from sticking your hands in random bushes and debris,” he said. “This time of year the Japanese rat snakes are out. It would really suck if one bit you, so please be careful.”

Apparently, Japanese rat snakes’ fangs are sharp enough to pierce even these sturdy Showa rubber gloves, so we took that warning to heart. Imazu also warned us to watch out for mukade, poisonous, venomous, giant, fang-bearing Japanese centipedes, as well as other Japanese creepy crawlies that bite and sting. But most of all, Imazu said, beware of the heat.

Go, for example, wore a long-sleeved work suit to protect himself from the sun as well as insects and animals, and it was all highly breathable clothing, so he didn’t feel too hot. Yoshio and Liam also equipped themselves with protective, long-sleeved clothing. They also made sure to put the drinks that Hobien brought…

Right into the cold river. Nothing like cool drinks to stave off heat stroke! With that, we had plenty of heat safety measures in place, and once we were suitably outfitted and protected, the work began.

Using an arsenal of weapons like weed wackers, chain saws, and handsaws, the stalwart warriors of Hobien began to tackle the sprawling wilderness of our mountainside retreat.


Thwack, thwack, thwack!

Meanwhile, our reporters’ job was to pick up and carry off the resulting debris.

▼ One by one….

▼ …little by little…

▼ …we collected all the branches and piled them up to be carted off…

…over and over and over again!

Naturally, we made sure to take breaks every once in a while.

Sometimes we found cool bugs, too!

▼ More sawing…

▼ …more lugging…

▼ …until the truck was full of debris to carry away.

And even then, we still had a huge pile of weeds and trees left over! Hobien’s workers decided they’d take it with them next time they came around.

With that, about 80 percent of the foliage around the house had been cleared.

▼ Wow…

▼ It’s so much more open now!

We could even see the little stream from the house!

And look…the before-and-after is so dramatic…it’s like a TV renovation!

Even the dilapidated shed, which had been surrounded by trees…

Was now completely accessible.

And that was when Imazu said something amazing:

“I think we can get an excavator out here.”

The shock was evident on our reporters’ faces as they stared at Imazu in wonder.

Imazu continued, “Yeah, I think we can probably tear this down with an excavator, instead of doing it by hand. I think it’ll take too long to tear it down by hand.”

We rejoiced! We’d never expected machinery to be able to reach the shed. An excavator would be so much better–much easier and faster. Our landscaping cleanup was a complete success!

But without general supervisor Ogawa to tell us for sure, we wouldn’t get our hopes up too high. Would he agree that an excavator could get the job done? Would we soon be seeing one rolling up our mountain road? Tune in next time to find out!

Photos © SoraNews24
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