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Gassho | by Rob Hirai
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I couldn`t take enough pictures of these beautiful houses. So few remain and the cost of maintaining them climbing. Many were dissembled and boxed up for shipment overseas where they became restaurants or homes for people desiring a unique house. Under the old system called Yui all the townsfolk would share the responsibilities of maintenance helping one another when it was time to change out the straw roof. These days with fewer people farming and more rushing off to salerymen jobs the work of changing the roofs are often done by hired companies. I was blown away by the time it took to complete the job under the Yui system and by contracting out the work. When the people worked together it took 2 to 3 days to complete a new roof but contracting out the work the completion of a new roof takes more than a month and cost more than many people pay for a newly built house.

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Taken on January 30, 2012