I left Tokyo by train the next day with Setsuko Miura, to be a guest in her home for five nights, while I did two performances at a (sort of) nearby music festival and participated with her in creating a TV documentary about my work. Setsuko, her husband Jun, and their daughter Ren (which means "Lotus"), live exemplary and extraordinary lives in Fujino (which means “covered with wisteria”), a mountain town an hour by train outside of Tokyo. There, they grow and prepare almost all of their own food (including rice), live in an energy efficient house they designed and built themselves from sustainable materials, and participate in the creation and maintainance of a local Waldorf school, a community natural farming rice field, and a permaculture center.
Setsuko and Jun both work hard to create their healthful, sustainable and elegant lifestyle and to raise a happy and broadly-educated daughter. They abandoned the traditional gender roles; Setsuko supports the family with her income as a television producer specializing in environmental issues, and Jun maintains the house, grows the food, and provides a large portion of the child care. Setsuko clearly derives inspiration and satisfaction from her career. Jun’s joy in gardening and cooking are palpable, and he is a master chef. Setsuko enjoys cooking and gardening, too, when she has time, and she adores her family. She radiates peace, joy and good health, quite unlike many of people I see commuting by train to jobs in Tokyo.
They call their home Lotus House. There’s a lotus on the front door…
…an old Chinese painting of lotus in the hallway..
…and a basket of lotus pods in Ren’s room…
…plus a pine cone collection on a window sill.
The great room looks out over a wooded canyon.
In one corner of the great room hangs a print of my painting “Zephyr.”
On cold days, the great room is warmed by a woodstove.
On warm days, the table on the porch outside the great room is the perch of choice.
From the other end of the porch, one can see the town of Fujino below in the valley.
Across the canyon from their home, on a wooded hillside, one of the many artists of Fujino set up a giant pair of blue eyes that seem to gaze into space.
The bedrooms and bathroom are downstairs.
I was particularly struck by the serene aesthetic of the bathroom…
…but I had to laugh when I noticed an Indonesian priapus near the ceiling in the corner above the toilet.
Every night before I slept (on an organic cotton futon in Ren’s room; she still sleeps in the same room with her parents), I took a long hot soak in the tub (gotta shower first!) It was divine.