History of Facility Development
Kazuno Expansion (1989-1990)
The Nishimachi Internationalist Issue Ten, 1989
NIS expands Kazuno
Kazuno is a place that most parents have never seen. But for the students, the two or three day Kazuno trip remains one of their favorite memories of Nishimachi. Kazuno has its own ambience, as any 4th-9th grader will tell you, but the camp has been showing the effects of time and nature for several years.
This past fall, the Board of Directors approved a budget of 50 million yen for basic improvements to the facility. Faculty members who use Kazuno in their programs contributed ideas and suggestions to a committee, who drew up a set of educational specifications.
In response to these specifications, the architect, Mr. Ozawa, submitted a striking and simple design. The plan calls for one main building, in the design of a large mountain cabin. The new building will have sleeping quarters downstairs and a big open living/dining/study area with a fireplace upstairs. The land will be cleared and leveled to allow maximum outdoor playing space.
Architect's rendition of Kazuno reconstruction
The Nishimachi Internationalist Issue Twelve, 1990
by Doris Cleveger, teacher 1985–1990
“Going to Kazuno…” What that phrase means to each one of us! Just a year ago my fourth grade class was the last group of students to use Kazuno as it was then. This spring my present class was the first group to use Kazuno as it is now.
Can anyone describe the feeling as we tumbled out of the taxies with our baggage, of seeing the massive, welcoming structure that has become “the new Kazuno?” The sheer size of the place was astonishing, …but would it work?
Before we settled into the new structure, we got familiar with the old. I reminded the students of the Arai and Matsukata heritage, and of some of the events that had taken place in that beautiful, simple building, the kura. We opened its sets of doors and entered into its dark, well-worn spaces with respect. A short sketching session of the exterior followed and our transition was complete. We were ready to be part of renewed opportunities at Kazuno.
As usual one of the students said it best. “This is high tech, Mrs. Clevenger.” And so it was. But with amado on the first floor, a sheltered deck, and a spacious genkan we were surrounded by comfortable features that made us feel at ease. The rugged pine tables and chairs and the fireplace in the lofty second floor dining room begged to be put to use during chill, wet weather.
And the kitchen… with three sinks where the ten year old washers of dishes could accomplish their task three times as fast, with one area at each sink. Pairs of students slicing fruits and vegetables found easy harmony in this sunny it’s-fun-to-be-here kitchen.
Cozy but separate bunk beds meant no more waking up whenever someone turned over or coughed; hot showers means the fourth graders (and parents and teachers) slid into their sleeping bags, clean and warm.
And what of the old familiar Kazuno, you say? The good feeling, the high spirits, the cooperation; they’re still there in that setting we know so well. The excitement and adventure of the science expeditions; the cook-outs under the stars, the night hikes, they’re there too. And all of this, the old and the new, is tied together by the history of the place and its visible reminder, the unchanging kura.
Present-day kura and our recently purchased farmhouse
Mealtime in the current Kazuno facility