The people of Fujino are welcoming and they share my values
Mr. Wes Heiser
Born in California, USA and moved to Fujino from Singapore in 2014. Been active in community and Transition Town events.
1. Background and reason for settling in Fujino
The people in Fujino share my values. Years of world travel showed me that happiness and generosity do not correlate to wealth. My perspective of life priorities shifted from materialism to community. I gained the confidence to live according to what feels right rather than be controlled by fear.
Our children attended the Waldorf kindergarten in Singapore. A Japanese family at the kindergarten recommended that we visit the Fujino Waldorf School. We had spent 8 years looking for a place that feels right, so when we viewed the Fujino Waldorf School, talked to people in the community, and gazed at the surrounding nature, we knew this is the place we want to settle.
The Fujino community embodies many qualities that are important to me: openness and acceptance of a mixed family like mine, broad community cooperation in fun events, and consciousness of sustainability. Only later did I learn that the Transition Town movement in Japan and the Permaculture Center of Japan both started in Fujino. Fujino is forward looking and cooperative far beyond other communities I experienced. In many communities, people look out for their neighbors. But I think it’s rare to find a community like Fujino where a majority of the thousands of people are all connected and doing things that make life enjoyable together.
Upon moving to Fujino, I discovered that many people have life priorities similar to mine. They recognize that the important part of life is building relationships and creating community. Instead of complaining, blaming, or being negative, they think about how to make life fun, supportive, and positive. That’s what I think makes Fujino a really special place.
The single visit to Fujino was enough for me and my wife to look at each other and say, “This is the place we have been looking for.” Before we boarded the airplane to return to Singapore, we had already started to plan the steps we needed to take to relocate to Fujino.
2. Special impressions & personal experience of Fujino life
People in Fujino are accepting and helpful, validating my initial impression that this is an open and accepting community.
I love the huge art structures along the road and on the mountains. The first small piece of art that caught my eye was a beautifully crafted kaleidoscope. I got to know many of the artists living in Fujino, and as I got to meet more and more people, I leaned that Fujino is a whole community of creative and interesting people. These people are fun to be with. These people prioritize the enjoyment of life.
I knew nothing about farming, but I wanted to grow my own vegetables. We became members of Fujino Club and rented a small piece of land that came with a farming instructor. Through learning how to grow crops we also met other local residents whom have been growing crops here for ages.
We joined the barter system “Yorozu”, and found the abundance of information that comes through it. Yorozu links the community. I remember our first week in “Yorozu”. Somebody asked, “My son is going to travel to the U.S. for a few months. Is there anybody from whom we can borrow some luggage?” We had loads of luggage from Singapore so we offered, “Yeah, you can borrow from us.” The mother and the son came to our house. We didn’t know them, but through “Yorozu” we found that it’s easy to get to know the wider community. And that builds a strong bond.
I appreciate being in Fujino. It is easy to get to know people, find out what skills are within the community, and also think about how can I contribute to the community.
I think that to experience the real Japan and to experience a community that works well together, Fujino is a unique place to come visit or to live.