Month: January 2012

Lone palm looks radiant in twilight

夕暮れに一本のヤシが素敵に見えます。

Lone palm looks radiant in twilight. I had to stop my bike to take this photo. Gaien-Nishi Dori between Aoyama and Jingu-mae.

Update: Identified by @jasondewees as Washingtonia, or Mexican fan palm. This tall skinny palm also grows well in San Francisco (and possibly LA, too).

Small birdhouse adds charm to Marui department store’s roof garden

丸井の屋上の庭に、かわいい巣箱があります。鳥が入ったでしょうか。
This small birdhouse adds charm to the Marui department store roof garden. I wonder if any birds have found their way inside. Shinjuku san-chome.

Four mature trees growing in 25 centimeters of earth outside Nishi Azabu home

二十五センチぐらいのスペースに、高くてかっこいい庭になりました。大好きです。

I love how this Nishi Azabu corner house has maybe 25 centimeters of space and a three-story tall garden of mature trees and bushes. The deciduous trees provide summer shade, and in winter the bare branches have a different appeal.

Olives on Roppongi Hills trees. I wonder how they taste!

六本木ヒールズでオーリブを見つけました。味はどうかと思います。

I was excited to see these olives on the trees outside Roppongi Hills Tower. I don’t think anyone’s going to eat them since they are shriveling up now. How do you think they taste?

Seoul’s transformation into livable city. Makes Tokyo look stunted.

去年の夏、ソウルを訪れて驚きました。短い期間で、東アジアの他の醜い都市から離れて、魅力的で住みやすい都市になりました。ソウルを見たときに、なぜは東京政府と都市計画は、過去でなくて、未来を見つめないのでしょうか。

In the past five years, Seoul has gone from one of East Asia’s ugliest mega-cities to one of its most livable and attractive. The transformation has been rapid. While I think Tokyo is often stunted by its autocratic government and urban planning, Seoul shows that East Asian cities can be dynamic and forward-looking.

On a visit last summer, I toured new city parks (the Cheonggyecheon river and Seonyudo island), visited art galleries, experienced the mix of old and cutting edge architecture, and met meta-designers, Seoul’s city brand manager, and a national environmental researcher.

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Wild palm is allowed to grow in manicured landscape

日本庭園の剪定はカンペキです。東京体育館のような公共施設にもツツジが波の形にしてあって、木が高いプードルみたいです。ですから、そこで自然に生えたシュロを見て驚きました。ヤシは「外人」だから、大丈夫なのでしょうか。

Japanese garden maintenance is precise and skilled, even in public facilities. Because of this, I was all the more surprised and delighted to see a self-sown shuro palm disrupting this heavily manicured and idealized landscape behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The azaleas on the slope are pruned to suggest waves, and the trees pruned as if they were posh poodles.

Maybe because it’s a palm tree, this intruder is allowed to thrive.

White daisies brighten up balcony garden in winter

冬の庭で、白い花に惹かれます。雪を想像させるだけでなく、寒い日に明るさを添えてくれます。

I am drawn to white flowers for winter gardening. They evoke snow, and also add brightness to the cold days.

Pink, purple & red in balcony garden. Flowers & foliage.

去年の写真でベランダの紅葉を見られます。前の年の紫色のサルビアと新しいピンク色のガーベラもあります。

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.

Deep red vine in winter adds charm to concrete residence in Harajuku

冬の深い赤色のつるはコンクリートの住宅を魅力的にします。去年の写真とくらべると、緑のつるは感じが違います。

This Harajuku residential buidling is bordered by tall bamboo and covered in a thick vine. I posted a photo of this building last summer shaded in dense green foliage. Now it’s turned red in early winter, and the contrast is very pleasing.

Please contribute to Tokyo Local Fruit study

東京の地元で出来た果物を食べたり、育てたり、分け合ったりしていますか。地元で取れた、非商業の果物に関する話を集めています。あなたの話を聞かせてください。

アンケート:http://bit.ly/yVlIOI

Do you eat, grow, or share local fruit in Tokyo? We are collecting stories about Tokyo local, or non-commercial, fruit. Please share yours.

Survey: http://bit.ly/yVlIOI

Image: Jess Mantell. Project partners: Jess Mantell and Chris Berthelsen.

Ginkos connect an old street with decades of layers

青梅街道は江戸時代からある道で、昔ここに農園がありました。今はイチョウの木がたくさんの種類の建物をつないでいます。廃墟化した戦後の建物や商業用の建物や住宅やさらには軽工業のビルがあります。

Ome Kaido is a large boulevard in my neighborhood that dates to Edo times when this area was largely fields. I like how the ginko trees provide a unifying element to a heterogenous streetscape of  abandoned post-war buildings mixed with newer commercial, residential and even light industrial buildings from every decade since.

Directly across the street from this corner is a ten story office building. I noticed the roof-top sports facility years before I recognized the logo at the entrance that marks it as the headquarters of one of Japan’s leading adult content companies.

Year round flowers in Tokyo

東京には四季があるけれど、冬も花がよく見られます。駅に行く途中で、この白色のツバキの前を通ります。庭が小さいのに、いっぱい植物を育てていて、どの季節もきれいです。

I like how Tokyo has four seasons, but even in winter there are flowers. This well trimmed camellia is part of a wonderful residential garden that I pass on my way to the JR station. The space is small, but the gardener has dozens of species that are attractive in all season.