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This is a brainstorm for a Permaculture Experience program with Japan in mind. The tasks are oriented around traditional Japanese techniques that continue to have tremendous value as sustainable crafts, practices, and arts. While most of the tasks are possible outside of Japan, some are based on Japanese social structures and might be uncommon in other locales.

While PEP is wonderful it is designed around Wheaton Labs, which is a very specific locale with very specific resources, climate, challenges, and needs.

This document is provided for English speakers, if something is not clear it should be explained or translated.

Fields of Experience

fukuoka style rice paddy management (Ref: One Straw Revolution
- broadcast sow rice
- harvest and dry rice by hand
- thresh rice by hand
- broadcast sow barley in the same field for winter
- harvest barley by hand
- thresh barley by hand

home garden vegetables
- plant for pickles - daikon, chinese cabbage, turnip, takana mustard
- plant for fresh and other use - whatever you like
- grow shiitake on a log
- grow soy for tofu/soy sauce/natto etc (or an alternative bean that will serve the same purpose)
- Make and apply 10 liters of bokashi fertilizer (only local inputs) (Ref: Bokashi Composting
- Make and apply 50 liters of compost (only local inputs)

home orchard
- plant fruit trees by seed (persimmon, mulberry, two varieties of citrus, ume, plum/peach/apricot, fig, etc)
- plant nut trees by seed (chestnut, walnut)
- plant vining fruit by seed and show how it will be trellised (grape, kiwi, chayote, etc)
- graft proven varieties onto good rootstock
- plant nitrogen fixers (bayberry, wisteria?, etc)
- grow your own tea bush
- grow your own paper mulberry

Animal Care
Make a koi pond
Demonstrate harmony with crows
Create or designate bird habitat, photograph three different birds visiting
Create or designate lizard habitat, photograph a lizard nearby

Forage, Fish, Trap
forage sansai (knotweed, fiddleheads, etc),
forage bamboo shoots,
forage nuts or acorns,
forage fruit,
forage and process kudzu (Ref: Kudzu as food)
catch fish,
catch lobster, prawns, or shrimp
gather shellfish (mussels, clams, oysters, etc)
forage kelp/seaweed
collect sea salt
trap wild boar
hunt pheasant

weave a bamboo basket - (Offsite Ref: many types)
make a bamboo retaining wall or garden border,
Use bamboo tops for bean trellises
make a bamboo trellis,
carve bamboo eating and serving utensils

Japanese forests have almost all been entirely logged in the past. Most were reforested with over 90% cedar and cypress. If nothing else this made pollen allergies hell for a lot of the population. It also contributed to erosion and landslide problems. Let's use the wood that is available, but reforest with a more diverse range of species.

Fell/thin a cedar stand,
Peel the logs,
Use the logs,
Sow anything that isn't cedar or cypress,
Split logs into lumber,

Using roundwood for building

cut or shape a stone for a project
make a drystack wall,
Use stones for foundations

Japanese paper is excellent in many ways. It has characteristics of cloth as well as paper. Extremely thin Japanese paper is used in restoration of artifacts. It is also relatively accessible as a DIY craft.

harvest and process ramie,
harvest and process banana (Ref: Japanese Bananas)
harvest and process nettles (Ref: Nettle along
raise silkworms
harvest and process silk (Ref: Sericulture, Moriculture and the wild ones
harvest paper mulberry
Process mulberry for washi paper
Make washi paper
Make and use kakishibu (Ref: Kakishibu - Persimmon Tannin Liquid)

Japanese tools are famous for their laminated steel. Care and sharpening is different than with western tools.

sharpen a single bevel flat blade
sharpen a double bevel flat blade
sharpen a round bevel tool (gouge etc)
sharpen a curved blade (kama, etc)
acquire an old tool,
restore an old tool - franken planes!
set up a Japanese plane to take shavings so thin they are translucent

Food Preservation and Preparation
Traditional Japanese cuisine is often considered one of the healthiest diets in the world. It is diverse, low on mammal protein, high on food from the sea including seaweeds like kelp. Much of Japan can grow food year-round meaning there is less focus on things like canning and more focus on fresh seasonal food. Food preservation methods are mostly drying and fermentation.

dry daikon, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables
dry shiitake
dry fish, shrimp, or squid
pick and dry tea leaves
make green tea powder (maccha)
make hoshigaki (dried persimmons) (Ref: What can I do with persimmons?
make hoshiimo (dried sweet potatoes)
make umeboshi (pickled plums) (Ref: Ume boshi with wild plums
make three types of tsukemono (nukazuke, shiozuke, suzuke)
make konnyaku,
capture wild koji and make something from it
make miso,
make tofu,
make soy sauce
make natto using straw

steam rice properly
prepare sushi (any type: nigiri, maki, chirashi, etc)
cook a nabe (hotpot)
cook dashimaki-tamago (rolled omelette)

Japanese homes were traditionally extremely flexible in terms of space. Nearly everything was removable or repairable.

repair (or replace) shoji,
repair (or replace) fusuma,
repair or adjust amado,
flip or repair (or replace) tatami,
Use sudare,
Apply shikkui,
Burn cedar boards for building (Ref1: Is charring effective? Ref2: Yakisugi/Shosugiban)
Use yakisugi as a siding

These badges are about meeting people in your community who are engaged in traditions that stretch back hundreds or thousands of years. Keeping such a network helps understand the local economy, resources, as well as how those crafts are done. You can gain knowledge about where to source materials, the costs involved, the market, and build a great network.

Register to sell goods at your local market,
Meet a local blacksmith or metalworker and take a selfie together
Meet a local basketweaver and take a selfie together
Meet a local organic market gardener and take a selfie together
Meet a local (sashimono) woodworker or wood carver and take a selfie together
Meet a local house carpenter and take a selfie together
Meet a local potter and take a selfie together
Meet a local stone cutter, mason, or stone carver and take a selfie together
Meet a local forester or woodsperson and take a selfie together
Locate the oldest person in your locality and take a selfie together having tea
Attend jichikai meetings,
Host an event and publish it in your local newsletter

Below is my original post:

The first thing that comes to mind for me is Bayberry over Black Locust as a nitrogen fixing tree. But apparently Black Locust is also present here.

Other things are the foraging vegetable list would probably include a lot more herbaceous material like butterbur, fiddleheads, knotweed, etc.

Food prep would focus on traditional methodology - nukazuke, umeboshi, himono. I wonder how much modern understanding of nutrient loss from sun-drying and better techniques for solar dehydration could be applied to improve the systems.

Natural building would probably focus more on humidity management than heating (for most of Japan), so shikkui would be a major point, also building design with cross-breezes.

Other common skills that might want a place are - ishizumi (rock stacking or wall building), managing a rice paddy.

Japanese tools are quite specialized and somewhat different from many of their western counterparts, but most of that doesn't make much distinction in the PEP badge requirements...

What else would differ?

Posts: 14
Location: Mie, Japan
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On the top of my head I could think of, make konyaku, miso, tofu and dashi.
Repair a hole in shouji, change the whole shouji paper, fusuma repair/restoration. Clean and restore door tracks.
Making tools out of bamboo. Make washi. Change the cover on tatami mat.

If you have wind you can dry in the shade, not so sure about the summer though.
We dry all kinds of things on a roof space which itself has poly-carbonate roof, it blocks some of the UV light and the wind dries things quite quickly. A friend dried under the roof between two buildings where the wind pass through.

I read somewhere that the Japanese houses were built to be comfortable during the warmer seasons, instead of 3 unbearable seasons and 1 comfortable winter season. From what I understand they used to have the wind also blow under the house to cool and circulate the air. Some places also had natsushouji which would let the air blow through the building even when closed, during the hot and humid summer. If I remember correctly they also closed the amado at night to prevent moisture come into the house during the night, not sure though. Placed reed mats against the dirt-walls during winter to keep the wind from blowing directly on them.
I've been looking for the book but I can't find it.

Here many old houses have wood paneling. Some even have a unit made wooded paneling which is then raised, attached and locked to the framework on the houses using hooks and a locking mechanism. Not sure if some of them have dirt-walls behind or not. Some have wooden paneling half-way to keep rain splash off the dirt-walls.

In Sweden during the cold winter we always seal off the crawlspace ventilation with fir/pine branches and snow to keep the cold outside air from moving in under the house. The stove heat would then transfer through the masonry into under the house keeping it from going below freezing.

If I were to build a traditional Japanese house, I would definitely have a thermal mass under the house, use the interior dirt-walls as thermal mass, use a rocket mass heater to heat up the mass and air in the house. Make the warm air circulate under the house coming up in all the rooms. Have a easy way to seal off outside air from the crawlspace under the house during winter (Insulated panels?), keep it open during other seasons to have the wind cool down the thermal mass. Adjustable passive ventilation so the house could ventilated even if we are not there and have the doors closed.

Rainwater management is also very important. You don't want water splashing on the framework, dirt-walls or paneling.
Roof gutters and/or amaochi. You can lead the water where you want it.

I'm probably going to try to make a CAD models in the future with various concepts, easier to show and get input on.

steward & author
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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grow a bean that can make miso, tamari (soy, chickpea, fava) and then make it?  
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 35468
Location: Left Coast Canada
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capture wild koji.  

then make something from it (miso, sake...)
Posts: 1866
Location: Japan, zone 9a/b, annual rainfall 2550mm, avg temp 1.5-32 C
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Anders and r ranson, I realized that I never replied but have incorporated some or all of your feedback into the above wiki. Thank you so much for your input.

Anyone else interested in contributing ideas or feedback, please do! I hope to turn this into a fully fledged PEX with badge bits in the long term future. I think it would appeal to a lot of people interested in Japan, and I expect I can get some local cooperation as there is considerable local (Japanese) interest in sharing Japanese traditional culture with the world, and perhaps even more so, just preserving it so that the traditions aren't lost.

One project I could especially use help with is finding reference material among the deep archives of Permies that provide resources and reference material on a lot of these topics. I have found that there are a lot of pre-existing discussions about a lot of these topics, and this wiki is a great place to organize and curate all those threads into a relatively well sorted library of collected Permies info on Japanese traditional culture and related permaculture topics!

If you come across such a thread that I might have missed please link it here and I will organize it into the above wiki as a reference source.
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