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The traditional architecture of 大曽根, seen from a foreigner's perspective


Hello, this is Linda GADHOUM, a first-year master's student in Environmental Design. I would like to take you with me on a journey to Ozone (大曽根) and discover it through the eyes of a foreigner.


Oosone-machi is a town in the Tsukuba District of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The city is located in the northeastern part of the prefecture, near the city of Tsukuba. The town is relatively small and consists primarily of residential areas. It is surrounded by natural landscapes, including fields, forests, and mountains. In contrast to the city centers, the town offers a serene and peaceful environment.

My knowledge of the place was limited to what I heard in class. It was difficult for me to anticipate what I would find except for pictures on the internet.



The Street Layout of Oosone

I traveled with a friend since I am still unfamiliar with Japanese transportation. The trip was short. We took the bus from Kasuga area mae. My first impression of Oosone, when I stepped off the bus, was that it was a small village with modest buildings and traditional Japanese houses. The street layout was interesting with a back view of Tsukuba Mountain. The scenery was magnificent, especially when it blended naturally with the traditional roofs and the clouds of the sky.


Traditional House Architecture in Oosone

With traditional structures almost everywhere, the architecture reminded me of the Edo era. The Kiritsuma yane roofs, for instance, and the excessive use of wood were aesthetically pleasing and exciting. According to an article I came across, the use of wood is dominated due to excessive humidity, earthquakes, and typhoons as it is a durable material and offers proper ventilation to fight against the hot climate.


The Marriage between Nature and Architecture

We came across this abandoned Traditional house while looking for Oosone's sanctuary, and it captured my attention since I found it extremely mesmerizing how nature and architecture became combined and created such an artistic and eerie house. There appeared to be a sense in which nature embraced this left-alone house and turned it into a cottage fairy house as if protecting it from eternal loneliness by covering the walls with moss and vegetation. The rooftop of the house was not straight either. It was slightly bent to the left side. Such a fusion does not only give birth to a natural artistic installation but also evokes probably a story behind it.


Oosone's Cemetery

As we reached the sanctuary, we found a cemetery linked to it. Having said that, I decided not to post a picture of the tombstones as I was unsure whether it would be deemed disrespectful or not if I did so. Despite that, I decided to take a few pictures of other elements that were intriguing to me, such as the wooden buckets that were used for cleaning the graves. It was my first time seeing it in Japan as there is a similar ritual in my home country. The wooden buckets shared the same shape, with a similar color palette. The design was simple and minimalistic, yet aesthetically pleasing and homogeneous.


Ascending to Heaven

We also wondered about why is there some stairs that take to nowhere, is it a new place that is going to be added to the graveyard? Or does it have a symbolic meaning? Since I don't, unfortunately, have enough knowledge to answer this question yet, I will assume it is the stairs to heaven or to an upper place since it is higher than the ground.




 

I still have a lot to say about this Journey so in the second part of the blog, we will go through Oosone's sanctuary and its eerie and mesmerizing atmosphere, so please go to the second part of this adventure.






 

大曽根


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