Vacant Properties Team held Idobata Gallery

The Vacant Properties Team held “Idobata Gallery” from Nov. 1 till Nov. 5.
By displaying artworks at a vacant property not in use, our goal was to create a community space where people would naturally gather around and start up a conversation, just like the way people meet up by the office water cooler to chitchat on the current gossip.
We put on display the colorful autumn-colored happi coats that we made with the staff at Fureai House and the children of Hojo Elementary School at the workshop on Oct. 24.
Many people stopped by to take a look at the exhibit, and we had a great time striking up friendly conversations with the visitors and taking photographs with them wearing the happi coats. The children who took part in the workshop came, too, wearing their original “my happi coat”!
Through the kindness of the Bureau for Promotion of Town Development, we also had the opportunity to exhibit the happi coats at a concert by the Vienna Piano Quartet that was held at Miyasei-Okura on Nov. 14. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic put on the happi coats for us, too!
The classical music concert at Miyasei-Okura.The classical music concert at Miyasei-Okura.
(Muranaka, 4th year at College of Policy and Planning Sciences)





Vacant Properties Team held “Workshop to make Happi coats”.

On Oct. 24, the Vacant Properties Team held a workshop to make happi coats with the children of Hojo Elementary School.
It was a project in preparation for the “Idobata Gallery” held on Nov. 1, and together with the 5-autumn-colored happi coats for the exhibition, each participant decorated his/her own “my happi coat” at the workshop.
The “Idobata Gallery” was held in time with 2 other festivals, the Autumn Hojo Market and Mt. Tsukuba Foothills Autumn Festival, and by having the children and Vacant Properties Team members wear happi coats, we hoped to attract the attention and interest of the young generation to the festivals and the locality.
We also wished the children to get a feel of the history of Hojo by making the happi coats at the Hojo Fureai House, which used to be a kimono store.
The children were at first somewhat slow to start, but once they got the idea, they used their imagination and added their own original decorations. Since everyone worked very hard, many wonderful happi coats were made. We couldn’t wait to see them at the Idobata Gallery exhibition!
We would like to thank the staff at the Fureai House for all their support, not just on the day, but for teaching us how to sew the happi coats and helping us with other procedures as well. Thank you very much!
(Muranaka, 4th year at College of Policy and Planning Sciences)





Vacant Properties Team holds “Talk Café”

On June 21, the Vacant Properties Team held the “Talk Café”. The “Talk Café” is an event, held in a workshop format, to talk about the good points and issues of Hojo with the local people, so that ideas to utilize vacant houses and properties in Hojo might be inspired.
Since it was held together with the Kamado Project’s ”Kamado (cooking range) Day”, many people taking part in the ”Kamado (cooking range) Day” also came to our event. From elementary to high school students as well as adults, a wide range of age groups took part in exchanging ideas in a friendly atmosphere. Not only did we present our proposals, but we also had the participants offer ideas and suggestions, resulting in lively dialogs and discussions. It turned out to be a very good workshop that would positively lead to our future activities.

Above all, it was such a pleasure to have mingled with the locals of Hojo. We were glad that the rice flour pancakes that we had prepared were well received by the children.
Members of the Kamado Project and those who took part in the “Talk Café”, thank you very much! (Muranaka, 4th year at College of Policy and Planning Sciences)


Vacant Properties Team Visits “Toride Art Project (TAP)”

On May 15, the Vacant Properties Team went on a study-tour to see the “Toride Art Project (TAP)”. TAP, which started in 1999, is a project carried out in collaboration among 3 parties, the citizens and the city government of Toride and Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, using the city of Toride as a field. The city of Toride is attempting to become a city of art, and the project is attracting attention as a project that is employing “art” for town-development. We asked to conduct the tour to study as a reference case for the Vacant Properties Team’s project to make use of vacant homes and properties in Hojo. It was very interesting and meaningful, since the staff showed us its activity to revive a vacant house with art and let us see other cases, too.
With the inspiration acquired during this tour in our hearts, we would like to continue our activities.
(Muranaka, 4th Year at College of Policy and Planning Sciences)

Toride Art Project (TAP) Website


Vacant Properties Team: After the open air screening at Hojo

On Saturday, Oct. 18, an open-air movie screening was held in a place where there used to be a movie theater (Now, a vacant lot.) in Hojo Shopping Center.
After a survey of vacant land and houses conducted in the spring semester, we tried to come up with ways to make use of these unoccupied spaces. During the course of our discussion, we found out that there used to be a theater (movie) in the Hojo Shopping Center. We were moved by the enthusiastic tone of the local people who spoke about their memories of the theater, and decided to carry out this event.
We planned the event in the hope that the memory of the very lively and busy Hojo Shopping Center in the Showa Period would bring joy across all generations and inspire urban development of the Hojo community. That is why we created the original movie, “Memories of Hojo”, and even tried to make baked sweet potatoes in the Showa style. The preparations were far harder that we had anticipated, but many people from the local area came, the baked sweet potatoes and amazake (sweet rice wine) were well received, and all in all the event was a great success.
The local people gave us enormous support not only by taking part in the shooting and in the conducting of interviews for the movie “Memories of Hojo”, but also in the set up and clean up on the actual day. We feel that we were able to successfully carry out the event thanks to all the people who gave us their support, such as letting us borrow things for the screening and so on. The entire event, including the preparation period in which a small team of us worked on our assigned tasks, was a great experience for me as well.
Some people mentioned that the black and white movie was a bit difficult for children to follow. We would like to take in such comments and other thoughts and wishes of the local people and continue to further promote in the revitalization of the community by making use of vacant properties.
(Shimoda, 4th Year at College of Education)


Vacant Properties Team: Open air movie theater

The Vacant Properties Team will hold an open-air movie screening in an unoccupied lot of Hojo Shopping Center, where there used to be a movie theater. Please come and join us to create a new page in the history of Hojo Shopping Center!

Date: Saturday, Oct. 18th, 2014. *In case of rain, on Sunday, 19th.
Time: Doors open at 17:30. Film starts at 18:00.
Place: Former theater (Hojo Nakamachi, 34)
“Memories of Hojo”: starring residents of Hojo.
Editor: CR Vacant Properties Team
“Kurama Tengu, Kakubei Jishi”, produced in 1951.
Free of charge. Hot drinks and baked sweet potatoes will be available.
Please come in warm clothes.