Japan: Conserving our Cottage on Mt Rokko

Amenity 2000 Association

Amenity 2000 Association owns a lovely cottage as our property on Mt Rokko just near the city of Kobe. It was built in 1934 designed by an American architect, W.M.Vories, and we named it “Vories Rokko Cottage.” It is a cottage, but the house was built with high-quality materials by superb carpenters. It is no wonder the cottage is now registered as a national cultural treasure. The house is designed for the Kodera family (the first owner) to stay in summer days. Vories used a lot of technique so that the family could live healthy, relaxed and comfortable.

We, Amenity 2000 Association, held Working Holidays in this cottage twice, in 2010 and 2012. In 2010 some staffs of the national trust organizations in England, Taiwan, and South Korea joined us. They, together with young students in Japan, worked painting the window frames and making the foundation of the outdoor tea ceremony place. Besides, they enjoyed their holiday, visiting a hot spring, walking around on Mt. Rokko, watching the grandeur night scene of Kobe.

Working Holidays in 2010

Working Holidays in 2010

For the Working Holidays in 2012 we invited 6 students in Fukushima who were victims of the Great Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011. It was one of our Supporting Earthquake Victims Program. The students near Kobe also joined, and they worked together to paint the outside walls with the Japanese traditional paint Bengara. They also enjoyed walking in Mt Rokko, in the town of Kobe, watching musical shows. It was a good experience for the students in Kobe to talk with the Earthquake victim students, for they were not born or were only little babies when Kobe suffered from the Great Earthquake in 1995.

Working Holidays in 2012. The students are painting the wall with Bengara (Japanese traditional paint)

Working Holidays in 2012. The students are painting the wall with Bengara (Japanese traditional paint)

In 2013 we started a new program, “Trust Youth Center.” It is a kind of educational system to bring up young people to be able members of our association. In our Amenity 2000 Association, it is an urgent matter to get the young generation who can take a big part in our activities. We hope the young members get much experience through planning and executing our programs. We hope these young people will not only be our able members but also be able members of the community with a vision and know-how about the preserving natural and historical environment who bring forth the creation of culture.

This summer, in 2013, we are planning to hold the third Working Holidays at Vories Rokko Cottage. This time we plan to call the foreigner students who stay in Japan to study to join us. The young members of the Trust Youth Center will be the main staffs in this program. We are happy that our property can be a place for the young people to get nice and valuable experience.

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