Summer Heat

Summer is about to end. We are excited about Autumn as the heat is unbearable this year.

Students worked at an old ryokan (a Japanese-style inn). As the ryokan is over 100 years old and wasn’t used for years, the tatami mats have badly deteriorated. Students and I learned how to remove old tatami from 7 rooms. Tatami size is 0.9m by 1.8m and 6 or 8 tatami generally make up the floor of a room.

As tatami mats are made of straw, mold grew heavily on the tatami mats as those haven’t been replaced for more than 50 years. The tatami were quite soggy, moldy, and infested with fleas. The tatami mats broke when we tried to lift them for removal. It was chaotic and the air was polluted with dust. Professionals are professionals indeed. The mask, eyewear, and gloves for each work are varied. To my surprise, my students lifted, and damaged tatami mats and trashed them in the big trash tank without any complaint. I asked them “do they have any comments?”

Their responses mesmerized me. For example, they said:

  1. I could see the wooden floor underneath of tatami. From my work, I could clean up the room and see the result.
  2. I could know what materials are in tatami. Tatami are to be replaced every 20 years in general. I learned.

Working in dim rooms and dusty condition are challenging. How we perceive things will determine our days. Mental preparation is a must on construction sites, I learned.

Until the end of the year, we will be working in this Ryokan. In September, students will learn how to replace the sliding doors. I do like the old Japanese slide doors. However square glass on the sliding doors and frames are so old and cracked.