A conversation in the office after the Golden Week (as you may know, Japan had a record long Golden Week this year given the change of the Emperor and the start of a new era).
– How was your Golden Week? What did you do?
– I was visiting castles.
– What castles?
Another colleague jumps into the conversation:
– HER castles… (intended suspense in his voice, as he knows the story)
– You have a castle?!?
My Japanese colleague looks shocked. A pause, and then she asks:
– Are you a princess? (quite loudly and we are all in a big open space)
Now it is my turn to look surprised.
– I didn’t say that! (I may have thought about it when I was six or seven, but somehow ended up working in Japan instead…)
– But you have a castle! …and we did not know! You must be a princess!
I look at the other colleague:
– That’s how the stories start… If we hear any rumors around, we all will know why…
You may recall my blog post about a French castle and how I almost became a Japanese TV guest (or star, as you like, full story here). I say “almost”, as finally, NHK did a program about the castle and the project without any guests, which makes me think that I must have been the only participant from Japan.
So, what has happened since my last post? The project “Let’s adopt a castle” was a huge success, with 27,910 people joining from 115 countries all over the world.
The start-up that originated this impressive crowd funding campaign, has established a company, purchased La Mothe Chandeniers castle and a part of the park, and all the contributors could become shareholders in this new company. In its second season, the château is now open for visitors, including the park and a chapel, though for the time being it is not possible to go inside due to on-going works.
In the long run, the idea is to develop a sustainable economic activity model around the castle, also known as “the world’s most famous romantic ruin”, and all co-owners can participate in this development by suggesting ideas, voting for projects, or even joining volunteer work camps.
Last year, a similar project was launched for yet another castle in ruins, Château de l’Ébaupinay.
The second project in its initial stages (the castle has just been purchased and the first volunteer works are taking place as we speak), though eventually the concept is to do certain restoration works using medieval techniques and to develop a medieval village around it.
I leave you to view the photos from “my” castle tour while I am off to read materials for the very first shareholder meeting. Yay!