Quick update: my father went to Tsushima and talked to a beekeeper. Said it was a difficult winter and maybe 30-40% colonies were lost. It was only this beek that was even willing to sell a hive/colony, but my dad decided not to buy it. Cost is about $1000 and there are issues having it shipped.
But he did buy a traditional log hive.
I heard today that he somehow now has a cerana swarm in his log hive. Sounds like the swarm was caught and placed, but I'm not sure. The local news did a piece on his hive.
The swarm was large, but not as large as it appears in that picture. Angle trickery.
I'm forgetting the story on how they found out about the swarm. I think someone called the news and the news called the university, and the news also called an exterminator. My father told them to cancel the call to the exterminator.
So that swarm is now in the hive purchased in Tsushima. It has apparently taken and is active. This kind of beekeeping is like keeping a skep. You don't open this thing up to inspect it. "Bee-having." Which is alright, as I have learned on my time on beesource from many folks here that my father was never a beekeeper. He is/was just a bee-haver.
Here are some pictures of the current set-up. Enjoy.
Yes, it's on a roof. He has made a couple of top-bar hives, built specially for cerana, but he needs more swarms to get them started. I'm not sure why he started with the log-hive. Maybe just to be traditional for the heck of it.
Despite being 100% feral, they are apparently quite gentle.
Cool pics. It almost looks like a Zen garden setting. I like how they blend the hives amongst the landscaping. They use every inch of space in Japan because land is so scarce and expensinve. The tops on the log gums are different. Each looks like either something they scrounged up to throw on top or its purposeful/artful in a way I don't understand. The old Japanese guy looks like a bee-keeper though.
Apparently, being on a roof, the hive overheated. Bees could not keep it cool, honey came pouring down, bees came pouring out. Bees are on outside of log hive (as of yesterday). Shade being considered as well as a move off the roof.
It already had afternoon shade. So perhaps the roof is not the answer.