Biking through Yoyogi Park you never know what you’ll run into. One weekend, Shibuya Camp appeared with gorgeous tents and folk music. This truck brings a Buenos Aires Bar to Tokyo in fall. Based on the men’s fall outfits, you might think you’re at the start of a mountain trail in South America.
Whenever biking towards Shibuya or Aoyama, I make sure now to bike through Yoyogi Park. The weather has been beautiful, the leaves just starting to fall, and plenty of others enjoying the sunshine.
In the park next to Higashi Koenji.
The kilometers of mature gingkos lining Omeikaido make this wide and busy boulevard much more enjoyable. The yellow leaves are now, of course, all gone. But since I am posting more film photographs, I want to share some of my favorite fall photos that were recently developed. Fallen gingko leaves, school uniforms, umbrellas, face masks, and a slow-moving sidewalk bike are a perfect urban scene.
I stopped at the local shrine today to offer thanks for my visa renewal. The gate and the ginkgo leaves made me stop.
An amazing, tropical place to spend a cold day. Yesterday, I enjoyed watching the park’s fall foliage through the enormous glass walls.
On a wide boulevard normally devoted to multi-lane auto traffic, nothing could be more beautiful than the site of elegant ladies in matching kimonos and hats dancing in synchronized movements. The summer and fall Shinto festivals transform business Tokyo into a series of village parties evoking an agrarian culture rarely sensed inside the megalopolis.
Below are photos from the Shiba matsuri. The sub-group near my friend Bas’ home displayed photos from the 1945 festival, just a month after the end of the war in which the entire neighborhood and much of Tokyo was burnt to the ground. The last photo shows a man who is both telling stories and selling bananas, a continuation of an Edo-era festival character.
In the photos you can see how on a special holiday, the streets, overpasses, convenience stores, and other mundane urban spaces are transformed into a very social and well dressed public environment.
The view from Tatsumi pool.
I’ve had this camellia for a few years, and just added some fresh soil. I want it to be super healthy for fall so that it produces a lot of winter blooms.
This shrine offering seems the essence of fall. I’m probably off from the official symbolism, but the potato makes me think of warm soup and the tall blue rindou flower (scrabra in Latin) signals the start of fall.
This shrine, near Akebanabashi station, is wedged between a wide road and the Shuto elevated freeway.
I picked up three short kikyou plants at the home center, without knowing much about them. Later I learned that kikyou, also known as bellflower, are one of Japan’s seven fall flowers (yet oddly active in summer). Kikyou is also related to campanula, which spread rapidly in my shady San Francisco garden with abundant purple flowers.
In the (film) photo background, you can see the sprouts of New York tomatoes that I grew from seeds. I’ve shared the seedlings with many friends already.
I also discovered these cool black and white Japanese crests (kamon) based on kikyou. (Source: Wikipedia).
I recently learned the word hanafubuki (花吹雪), which means flower blizzard. At the end of cherry blossom season, city pavement becomes a pink carpet. Along with watching the petals fall from the tree, this carpet is one of the best parts of hanami.
This photo is from a small park in Tatsumi, between Tokyo Bay and the southern edge of Shitamachi. It also borders Yumenoshima. Now that I discovered an Olympic pool in Tatsumi, I will be spending more time in this strange zone caught between nature, industry, trucking and warehouses, new and old housing, and stacked freeways.
From last year, I like these images of the balcony garden in late fall, still crowded and with leaves turning color, the previous year’s purple salvia re-bloom, and new pink gerber daisies as highlights.