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At night, our group members from a variety of backgrounds would come together to share their knowledge and get to know each other better / Courtesy Of Mistletoe

95 men and women took part in living in the old closed down school in Minamifurano, Hokkaido. On the last day, there were even people who cried and said they didn’t want to go home. What on earth was it about this style of life that had fascinated us so?

The first thing I can think of is that we weren’t troubled by having to find a place to live. Despite being a closed down school, it was a place that had been prepared for use as an evacuation shelter, and all of the facilities at the school had been left in pristine condition.

The people of Minami Furano gave us a warm welcome and allowed us to use the location free of charge. That’s not all-they even supplied us with more corn than we could eat and more wine than we could drink.

This also helped us have no inconvenience in finding things to eat. There was a river flowing nearby where we were able to catch many rainbow trout. The area was blessed with an abundance of nature, and we were even able to pick wild blueberries nearby.

There was a chef in the group who turned the crayfish we caught nearby, as well as the deer meat supplied to us by local huntsmen, into first-class French cuisine.

There were also engineers and individuals skilled at handicrafts, and, as soon as someone mentioned wanting to take a bath, they could draw up the plans for a bathtub and put it together using the crafting tools they brought with them. When someone mentioned wanting a heater, they could make one of those on the spot as well.

We all worked our various jobs during the day, but we would hold events when evening came to share our various knowledge and experience and get to know each other better.

One day, we went out as a group to go shopping only to realize that everyone had forgotten their wallet. Amazingly, every single person present had forgotten to bring a wallet. It was at this time that we realized there wasn’t even a place for us to use our money anyway.