Sunday, July 14, 2013

What would a redneck Harajuku Girl look like? Because I'm going to be one soon.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic summer so far.  Apparently it's already July which is basically August which is pre-Fall and being in Fall right now is blowing my mind.  

Might as well put up my Christmas tree.

What else is blowing my mind lately is this great collection of mid-century photography of rural homes in Japan by Yukio Futagawa.

What, what, in the hut.  (Sorry, I know it's not a hut but I was incredibly amused by the rhyme.  I'll do better.)  

I read that Futagawa is considered the Walker Evans of Japanese architecture which was the only sentence I needed to read about him.  I practically took a running leap down that rabbit hole like one of the Supernatural boys was waiting on me at the bottom with a plate of sushi and some ice cream. 

Is there such a thing as Southern Gothic in Japan?  Because I think I'd like to write a saucy dissertation about it.

After I finish this plate of fictional sushi that Dean Winchester is feeding me...

Although he photographed his entire life, Futagawa's most famous photographs of rural homes was published in a set of ten books, this cover being one of them.  He traveled to many cities mapping each one and documenting the architecturally things.

He mostly documented "minka" which were the vernacular houses originally intended for farmers, merchants and working class.  I'd never known the name for these types of structures and I find the word 'minka' to be fascinating and have been repeating it over and over under my breath like that kid Brick from The Middle. 


Futagawa explained, "Instead of artificial components, minka are made from soil, wood and straw.  The elements are mixed up in such a way that they create different patterns.  The people who live there actually create the houses.  So everything comes natural, nothing is strained." 

Awww you really get me, Yukio. 

I want to name a kid* Minka because it sounds like a valley girl name but when people ask about it I'll scream "Noit'sJapanesevernaculararchitectureyouignorantBITCH!" and then I'll take Minka and her brother Quinoa's hand and we'll sashay our yoga butts right on out of there.



I think part of the reason I'm grooving so hard on the minka is that most of this summer has been filled with home stuff.  Not the wood and straw kind of home stuff (ok some mud, I've been in the yard a lot) but the boring yet complicated bureaucracy of owning a home.  The American way.  

I refinanced the ModSauce Ranch which sounds like the most adult thing I've ever done.  It's even more adult than buying the house in the first place and having to talk to my doctor about joint pain and when to start scheduling mammograms.

Because I'm special (my loan was owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac), I was able to use the HARP - the Home Affordable Refinance Program.  Thanks Obama.  Actually, if I'm going to fake thank a person let's thank Elizabeth Warren.  People on Twitter have heard me talk plenty but if you haven't, check your eligibility NOW because I just got a 2.99% rate and moved to a 15 year loan and am still paying LESS a month that I was.  The notary at my closing high-fived me because that might be the lowest mortgage in recorded human history and also I got a lollipop.

Of course, that sounds fantastic but it was weeks of phone calls and bullshit and me asking what exactly truth in lending means to them because the bank messed up a bunch of papers even after I pointed out their mistakes and I actually had to close twice.  Fucking Mercury in retrograde, y'all.  

Also, fucking banks.

So yeah, I'd like to get all 'Pattern Language' up in the Ranch but it's mostly been remembering how to sign my legal name in cursive, ant invasions, broken washing machines and mildewed laundry, flash flooding, figuring out a new budget spreadsheet that I actually have to stick too, cable companies drilling holes in my wood paneling where none need to be, a renewed and dangerous Starbucks addiction to deal with the stress, and also I need a pedicure so bad I've had a few people look frightened upon sight of me in sandals.


This is like vintage porn to me.  It's the architectural equivalent of old Bettie Page photos.

Make what you will of that.

The only thing better than mid-century photography is the actual published page of the image like these scans are.  It's so grainy and kinda yellow.  Wouldn't you die to own an original set of these books?  

I'm going to check for them on ebay right fucking now...!!

This courtyard, y'all. 

Literally stared at the walkway on the left of this image for five minutes straight.  Wish my summer was filled with nothing but the magic of those stepping stones.

But also the 2.99% interest rate part too.  High five!

All pictures above (and more) from here
Now I have an urge to watch a ton of Kurasawa movies and then cry about my mildewed laundry.

Unfortunately, Futagawa - the handsome devil pictured above - passed away this March from cancer.  Read the Architectural Record obit here.

It's rumored that if you whisper miiiinkaaaa... three times in a bathroom mirror that you'll wake up in Japan and be BFF with that girl from The Grudge. 

Next time y'all read a post of mine I might have a new creepy ass bestie, y'all. 


  1. Love the photos. Wow! And I love your 2.99% rate even more. Why am I not surprised that the bank made some "innocent" mistakes? Luckily, you are too smart for them! Way to go.

    1. Yay I be smart sometimes! Let's remember this next time I [redacted by editor].

  2. 1.Nice pictures. 2. Nice kids names. 3.Congrats on your refinance? (my English is not THAT good, however is better than my mandarin ... as I don't speak mandarin at all ;) )3. I noticed the small window on picture #8 from bottom up,if the people who lived there built that house, they were quite skilled. 4.Some of those interior shots make me craving for dark polished wood. 5. Nothing tells you that you have reached the responsible adulthood like a mammogram.
    Sorry long comment

    1. 1. I know, right?!
      2. I'm gonna be a great parent.
      3. Your English is perfect and your Mandarin might be b/c I have no idea how to speak it. And thanks!
      3B. All of these people make me sick with their mad skillz!
      4. I know! All that wood everywhere! So beautiful.
      5. Sigh...

      Always like your comments no matter the length! ; )

  3. Gaaaaawwwwd, now that girl from the Grudge is standing behind me whispering "miiiiiinnnnnnkkkkkaaaaaaaa" and she is not my bestie. I would totally love to be besties with a demon if I could keep my soul. I would totally let them live in my cute car and then I would sick them on all those bastard-coated bastards on our nation's roadways. So I would use my powers for good, basically.

    I love you for finding a sharing.
    And for the Winchester love.
    And the 2.9%, I'd do that if I didn't live in California and thus am unable to ever enjoy home ownership (don't tell the Hub, he harbors house fantasies).
    And you know if you had a book you'd totally have to encase in plastic for when you licked the pages.

    1. So what you're saying is you want a Meg kind of demon except for the part where she tries to destroy you? I'd be down for that. Winchesters 4eva!!

      I really don't know how people that live in big cities/states afford housing period. I feel like I still struggle! I'll keep the hope alive for you.

      You know me so well... I'd have to laminate every sheet...