Renovation work reveals an exciting surprise — beautiful beams in the ceiling.

It’s been almost two years since we purchased a house in the Japanese countryside for the incredibly low price of 1 million yen, or US$9,100, going by exchange rates at the time. Since then, we’ve settled into the slow pace of countryside life, taking our sweet time with the renovations, but this week, our reporter and experienced renovator Go Hatori amped things up by tackling a project we’d been putting off for a while — tearing down the ceiling.

You see, ever since Go ripped out two sections of the ceiling on the second floor that had fallen down, dumping a pile of poop and dead insects on the tatami straw mats, he’d been wondering if he should replace the panels or rip the whole thing out entirely.

▼ The sections that had fallen down left two gaping holes in the ceiling, in two different rooms.

On the other side of these two rooms was a larger room that didn’t have this low ceiling — it had beautiful exposed beams. As an experienced renovator, Go had high hopes that these beams would be in a similar condition on the other side, above the low ceiling, but ceilings hide a lot of things, so he couldn’t be sure.

After weighing up the options, Go’s curiosity about what might be concealed beyond the ceiling got the better of him and he decided to just go for it. In the worst case, he could just replace the ceiling boards, and it’d probably be best to clean out all the dirt and insects that had no doubt accumulated in the roof space after all these years.

▼ So he got out his crowbar and jabbed it into the ceiling, hooking it in and pulling it down…

…along with an avalanche of dust and debris.

Moving on to the next section, Go repeated the process.

Poke, and…


Methodically moving from section to section, Go pulled down the ceiling…

▼ …showering the floor with debris every time.

In the end, the work of removing the ceiling itself was relatively easy, but the bigger problem was now…

…all the dirt on the floor.

It wasn’t just dust that had fallen down either — animal poop, likely from a raccoon or other small animal, was also in the mix, which Go kindly circled in red in the above photo for everyone to see. Both these two rooms now had a slight ammonia smell to them, leading Go to assume that a wild animal must’ve snuck into the ceiling somehow, where it excreted urine and faeces over a period of time.

Go worked dutifully with a broom to sweep up all the dirt, and when he was finished, the room felt reborn, with a greater sense of space.

Poking his camera above the ceiling boards revealed…beams! They looked to be equally dark and in good condition too, suggesting Go’s decision to pull the ceiling down was a great idea.

After working on the two rooms, Go had exhausted all his energy, but he was filled with even more drive to return another day to tackle the next project — removing the ceiling of the room with the tokonoma alcove in the middle of the second floor.

▼ The ceiling in this room is already falling in, so it’s a job that needs doing.

However, that was a job for another day, and with Go now satisfied and covered in sweat and dirt, there was only one thing left to do…

▼ …wash off in the waterfall on our property.

It was just what Go needed to rejuvenate his body and mind, and he spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing outside, enjoying the sound of the waterfall, the murmuring of the stream, the song of the birds and the rustling of leaves, as he read a book until the sun dipped below the horizon.

For a quick roundup of Go’s productive day at the SoraHouse, including a slo-mo of his topless waterfall shower, take a look at the videos below.


With two of the three dilapidated ceilings on the second floor now cleared, work is really progressing on the SoraHouse. And now that we have a cheap van to go with our cheap house, there’ll be more satisfying before-and-afters coming your way soon!

All images © SoraNews24
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