The Suzuki House

by Kevin, Alex R. and Alex V.

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The whole Tokaido Group.

My job was mainly to see about the outside of the house like the frame, garden and roof. The building was a stable plus an inn for horse traders. The outside of the building was made of wood and the walls were a combination of mud and straw. There were no nails instead they use kind of wood hooks. The house was a little off the ground to keep the damp ground from rotting the wood. It was also a two story house. The materials used to make this building were bamboo, straw, and pine wood. The frame was made of wood. The roof was a thatched roof inside and outside it looked like straw. There were a lot of overhangs and the gutters were made from pine wood. There were no crops around the inn but instead there was grass, bamboo and a selection of various trees. Also, there was a small fence in the backyard made of bamboo and string. The design was a square shape. The building environment was very wet and damp. The local materials were mud, straw, bamboo and wood.

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Checking out the wall.

My Japanese house I wrote about is the Suzuki house and I had job number three. I thought that the Suzuki house smelled a lot like smoke. I also noticed that there were five rooms in this house and discovered that the building was an inn. There was one big hallway for guests to tie their horses, a pretty small room for cooking and eating, a living room, two rooms for important guests and the upstairs for regular guests. The stable had a dirt floor, the kitchen and the regular guestroom had a wooden floor, the living room and the important guestrooms had a tatami mat floor. The guide at the house told me that some of the walls were made out of wood, some out of paper and wood and some out of mud. To make mud walls they first dried the mud and then put straw in the cracks. I think that the most important rooms in this building are the kitchen and the guestrooms. My house was very interesting and I was lucky to be assigned this house and my job.   

In our fieldtrip, to the Minka-en Out Door Museum, our clan was assigned house number one, the Suzuki House. It was an inn for travelers with horses. I was assigned to look at the furniture and ornaments. There weren't much furniture except the tatami mats and a few cabinets. The tatami mats are only in the first floor. They were sized 90 centimeters by 180 centimeters. There were ten tatami mats in the living room. One tatami mat is called jyo. To measure the size of the room they often counted it by how many tatami mats such as ichi jyo, ni jyo. Only the important people slept down stairs with the tatami mats. All the poor, non-important merchants stay upstairs with wooden floors. From my observations, I am guessing that the cabinets are for the customers to put their belongings in. There was only one ornament. It was in a shelf that was between the roof and the wall. It was a little shrine for praying. I think the people that used to own the inn tried to keep it simple. 

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The Toikido Road Paragraph

The house held horse traders that came by horseback and needed a place to stay a night. There were no farms around the inn but instead there was a garden with many trees and filled with the sound of crickets and frogs. Pine tress and bamboo lined the back of the house. It was damp and wet and the inn, itself, was built above the ground so that the floor would not rot. The thatched roof, walls made of straw and mud and doors of rice paper were no different than a thousand inns on the Tokaido Road. The stable’s bare floor was covered in straw for the horses that were to be auctioned the next day. 


Site constructed by Bridgette Fincher

Text by the students

Photographs by Mrs. Rawding- the clan's chaperone