In the span of just 20 days, our trail cameras captured a veritable parade of visitors coming and going on the SoraHouse property.

After recently buying a cheap mini van to go along with our crazy cheap house in the Saitama countryside, it’s been super easy to transport renovation-related materials back and forth between Tokyo and the SoraHouse. Now, the first thing that SoraNews24 founder Yoshio always does upon arrival at the house is check the multiple trail cameras the team has installed for security purposes. He’s mainly curious if any wildlife has decided to pay the house a visit in their absence and isn’t too concerned about anyone actually breaking in.

On June 26, Yoshio and editor-in-chief of the Japanese-language version of SoraNews24, Go Hatori, headed to the house for the first time in 20 days. As expected, the first flurry of activity detected on the camera was during their last visit on June 6, when they were doing work on the house alongside fellow reporter Ikuna Kamezawa.

It had gotten a bit chilly that night so they even lit a small fire. How fun to be reminded of that time via the footage!

However, the camera captured something entirely unexpected only four days later. Two unknown intruders, a man with a camera and a woman, had casually walked into the yard.

The next day, things got even crazier with more mysterious visitors and a big camera. They appeared to be taking a ton of photos. Ummm, didn’t they see that this was private property…!? Sigh.

Four days after that we finally had a welcome intruder in the form of this deer.

Yoshio chuckled to see himself gracing the footage when he had stopped by by himself the following day.

Actually, he had purchased some persimmon seeds at a local highway rest area and wanted to plant them. It was time to break out the gardening tools.

He also wanted to put the luggage that had accumulated in the older company car inside the house for storage.

That night, the deer friend stopped by again. Hopefully it wasn’t thinking of digging up those seeds that Yoshio had just painstakingly planted…

It’s almost like it knew it was caught red-handed.

It was around this time that a spider also began building its web right over the camera lens.

For the next few days, the deer kept paying us a visit and the spider kept spinning its web until it was hard to see anything through the tangled threads in night vision.

After that, a few days later, video captured even more visitors of the human variety riding up to the house during the daytime.

Yoshio experienced a moment of confliction here because he loves all manner of scooters and motorcycles. From what he could discern, it appeared that one of the people was riding a Honda Elite (“Honda Spacy” in Japan) and the other a Honda Super Cub.

However, this was still private property that he and other members of the team have been working so hard to clean and make into the country escape of their dreams (which has included the enviable task of cleaning up tons of dead bugs and animal poop). Therefore, he really wishes people would stop coming up to the house without permission!

Finally, the last recorded movement had picked up him and Go pulling up in the new mini van together just a short while ago.

By the way, the trail cam that was placed under the house also caught more furry and feathered friends, including this raccoon.

He was particularly delighted to see a pair of Chinese bamboo partridge guests for the first time ever. Their feathers and markings were beautiful. Even better, they appeared to walk straight towards the camera.

After simultaneously enjoying and being frustrated by all of the above footage, Yoshio felt that he should probably set up even more cameras around the SoraHouse to keep a close watch on things given the unexpected influx of human intruders.

He does have one more development to report as well. He and Go headed upstairs to check on the amazing progress that Go had made three weeks earlier sweeping up the mess on the floor.

▼ What would be waiting for them on the second floor…?

Huh? There was something dark littering the tatami mat that wasn’t there when they left last time.

What the heck was that?!

Whatever it was, it wasn’t supposed to be there. The two of them looked upwards together…

…and discovered that part of the ceiling had caved in.

They couldn’t be entirely sure what had happened–or was happening–but something had taken place in the attic (an intruder?) that caused a tear in the ceiling and allowed dust to fall down. That wasn’t the only thing that was trying to escape, either. An old newspaper was also poking its way out.

Surprisingly, it was still in perfectly readable condition despite being dated May 24, 1996. One of the main headlines read, “Nintendo is overtaken by Sega.” Why, it was around the golden age of gaming centers (arcades) in Japan! According to the article, due to Sega selling favorable equipment for game machines in entertainment facilities like arcades, it had recently surpassed Nintendo in sales for the very first time.

It was super nostalgic and interesting to read all of this in hindsight while knowing where the next 25 years would take each of these companies. Actually, at this time, Yoshio also had a part-time job as a video game tester. He recalled a memory of one very hot day when he eagerly traveled to the now-defunct video game company Tecmo to test their upcoming release titled Tecmo’s Deception: Invitation to Darkness for the PlayStation, which went on sale on July 26, 1996 in Japan. If he had to describe the game’s concept, it was essentially “fighting off intruders who come to your mansion.” The SoraHouse may not quite fit that description, but the gist is the same. To that end, he once again asks all humans to kindly stay off of the SoraNews24 property–but wildlife is welcome.

All images © SoraNews24
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