Month: August 2012

Misters on vertical garden cool plants and people

背が高いの円柱の庭にある霧吹きは、植物のためにも人のためにいいと思います。100歳のれんがも素敵です。丸の内のブッリックスクエアに。

I like how the misters on these giant green columns benefit the plants and overheated people below. There’s also a lovely effect of plants and mist against early 20th century brick, preserved as part of the Marunouchi Brick Square development by Mitsubishi.

Triangular building lacks greenery and adds odd pattern to Kabukicho

なぜこの緑の全くない建物に興味があるのかわかりません。三角形で、あき窓が面白い様式をします。歌舞伎町に。

I am not sure why I find this building so fascinating. It’s built on a triangular lot, and has no visible greenery. The middle of the facade is a staircase and hallways, covered in a wall used partly for signage. The five floors of open air, window cut-outs create an ornamental pattern.

The beach is a fast train ride away in Chiba

千葉の御宿に着くと、きれいなヤシの並木が見えます。細くて背が高いです。カリフォルニアに人気なメキシコのヤシみたいです。急行で行くと、東京から御宿は近いです。電車からの東京湾の景色が大好きです。

I love how this row of skinny palm trees greets visitors to Onjuku, Chiba right from the station. They look like Mexican fan palms (washingtonia robusta) which are very common in California.

Onjuku is an 80 minute ride on the express train, and the beach is a 10 minute walk away. It’s great to visit the beach even for an afternoon. The trip by train is also fun. I love to see the port buildings and activities.

Ivy covers a parking tower in Kabukicho

パーキングタワーに広がる夏のツタが涼しい気分にしてくれます。厚く育っているので、何も生き物がいるかもしれません。歌舞伎町で見つけました。

Just looking at this parking tower covered in thick ivy makes me feel a little cooler. I wonder what creatures might be living inside.

東京ローカルフルーツについて記事がGreenz Japanにでました

@a_small_lab @jessmantell と一緒に、Greenz Japan東京ローカルフルーツの研究の話をしました。@SayakaFelixさんのおかげで、持続可能性に興味を持っている日本人の方たちと会話ができます。

@a_small_lab, @jessmantell, and I spoke with Greenz Japan about our research on Tokyo Local Fruit. I was glad to see our ideas, images, and preliminary research results published in Japanese. Greenz is an online magazine and community focused on sustainability in Japan.

Girl in yellow dress uses a water can in Kabukicho graffiti

歌舞伎町に、面白い園芸に関する落書きを見つけました。女の子はじょうろからぽつぽつと水を注いでいます。黄色の手袋もブーツを持っていて、いかりの入れ墨を腕にして、電気ボルトのワンピースを着ています。

I love this horticultural graffiti on the Korea Town side of Kabukicho. A girl pours a few drops from a watering can. She’s wearing matching gloves and shoes, with an anchor tattoo on her arm and electricity bolts on her dress. I wonder what she’s growing.

Pine trees and lawn create a silent landscape

皇居の前に、黒松がたくさんあって、芝生は広いです。空っぽな感じがします。こんなに完璧な芝生を見ると、使われている有害な農薬のことを考えてしまいます。活気のない印象があります。

On the East Side of the Imperial Palace, there are hundreds of black pine trees in a vast field of lawn. Although the surrounding streets are full of cars, there’s an eery silence and emptiness in the park. Maybe it’s also the perfect quality of the lawn that also strikes me as life-less and full of harmful chemicals.

At Imperial Palace, few landscape elements create grand exterior

いつも自分の庭に新しい植物をもってきます。皇居の近くで、数は少ないけれど大きな規模に感動しました。松と水と石は本当に素敵です。

As a gardener, I am a maximalist with my own small space. Approaching the Imperial Palace from the Marunouchi business district, I am struck by the grandeur of using few elements at an enormous scale. Pine, water, and stone.

Old “snack” bar in Hamamatsuchou has simple window garden

この窓にある小さな庭はシンプルで厚みがあります。花やつる植物やしだれている植物やゴヤやシソがあります。浜松町の古いスナックの二階で。

I love the simplicity of this window garden in an old snack near Hamamatsuchou Station, an area better known for sleek new office towers and a port. In almost no space at all, this garden has climbers like bitter melon, pink flowers, herbs, and plants trailing down. It seems like the Hiro snack bar has been long out of business, yet someone is still enjoying living upstairs.

Summer makes me want to jump in cold river

蒸し暑い天気のときに一番涼しいところは、冷たい川の中です。@a_small_lab と @jessmantell と御嶽に行きました。東京にあんな自然がまだあります。実がついたバナナを見て、驚きました。

In summer’s heat and humidity, the best place to be is in a cold river. Recently I met up with @a_small_lab and @jessmantell at the Tama river up in the foothills of western Tokyo. At Mitake, you can feel that you are in the mountains while being still in the city. It’s about an hour and a half by train from central Tokyo, and the water is cold!

I was very surprised to see bananas growing by the river. The fruit is now forming.

Kikyou flowers on summer balcony

偶然にホームセンターでキキョウを買いました。後で、サンフランシスコの庭にあったcampanulaという花と関係があると知りました。ネットで、キキョウの家紋を見つけました。写真の背景には、種から育てたニューヨーク・トマトの芽が見えます。もういろいろの友だちに苗木をあげました。

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).

Morning glory adds natural curtain to balcony apartment

毎年この琉球アサガオは狭いベランダにきれいな色と影を作ってくれます。プライベートな空間ができます。

In mid-summer, the morning glory provides color, shade, and privacy on my one meter wide (3 feet) apartment balcony. The smaller jasmine leaves provide a nice contrast. Also on my green curtain are Edo morning glory (vs the Okinawa one above) and cucumber.