Month: February 2013

Rice ball and coins outside small Nakano shrine

shrine_onigiri_coins_nakano
お供えに、おにぎりはどうですか。

Saying a brief prayer at my local shrine, I was startled to see that another visitor had left a saran-wrapped onigiri (rice ball) next to a small pile of coins on the threshold. I guess the local gods enjoy earthly food as well as currency.

Snow covers small shrine near our apartment

local_shrine_nakano_omeikaidodoro
ちょっとしたお祈りのために、この家の近くにある小さな神社にたまに行きます。

This is my go-to place for rapid spiritual consultations. The shrine looks best in snow and during festivals.

An old danchi housing from the 1950s being replaced with “The Garden Residence”

garden_residence3_nakano

家の近くで、古い団地が新しいマンションに建て替えられています。Garden Residenceという英語の名前はありふれていると思います。

A large parcel in my neighborhood is being excavated for a new housing project, called “The Garden Residence.” Who doesn’t like gardens, but couldn’t they have come up with a more unique name? I am curious what landscape will be visible to the neighbors.

garden_residence2_nakano garden_residence_newconstruction_nakano

Plum blossoms on pedestrian path give off intoxicating scent

plum_blossoms_nakano
寒い日に、梅の花が濃くて甘い匂いを出しています。冬の歩行者通路をきれに見せてくれています。中野で。

On a cold overcast day, these white plum blossoms provide a thick sweet fragrance. It reminded me of narcissus and early spring, although we’re still in mid-winter.

This Tokyo duck has seen finer days

duck_passed_out_nakano_street
この東京のカモは元気がなさそう。

I am not sure why this used furniture shop thinks the duck is going to inspire shopping. The duck looks like a cautionary tale of some sort.

Who’s in your back pocket? Mine is Kotooshu.

kotoshu_laundryline_nakano
後ポケットに、いつもだれがいますか。私のポケットには、琴欧洲がいます。洗濯ひもは家と外の間にあって、庭のまんなかにあって、台所の机からいつも見えます。

The laundry line in our Tokyo flat is ever present, in the middle of the garden and directly in view from the kitchen table desk. Whether decorative or not, the laundry line is a porous border between inside and out, home and neighbors.

My handkerchief collection now includes the Bulgarian Kotooshu, one of the longest serving ozeki sumo wrestlers, as well as Asashoryu, the Mongolian yokozuna forced out of the profession a few years ago for bad behavior. Given the function of handkerchiefs, perhaps it’s not the most appropriate form of hero worship.

Fruit tree and old home covered in thick snow

showa_home_snow_fruittree_window

柿の木と昭和時代風の窓は、大雪の下で魔法にかけられたように見えます。

The Showa-era home and its old persimmon tree I always pass on the pedestrian path look magical under thick snow.

Four season Nakano garden under snow

snow_iishi_nakano
駅に行く途中にある狭い庭は、どの季節もきれいです。今回、大雪の下で、魅力的です。

Ishii-san’s garden is interesting in every season. Here it sits under heavy snowfall. His white camellias survived and were still flowering when the snow melted.

A solitary thrill to leave the apartment in fresh snow

apt_lobby_snowy_day_nakano
外に出る瞬間、特に大雪の日は、ワクワクします。

I am a bit of a shut-in during winter, but there’s something exciting about leaving the apartment lobby and entering fresh snow. It’s a solitary thrill.

Snow piled up on balcony flowers, but everything survived storm

carnations_snow
雪がベランダの花と野菜の上に積もったけれど、皆、負けませんでした。

Last month, the snow covered the balcony plants. Somehow all the flowers and vegetables survived this heavy snow.

Snowfall behind the dormant green curtain

snow_green_curtain_nakano
先月、雪がたくさん降りました。外に人が少なかったから、都市が静かになった。

A heavy snowfall last month briefly slowed down the city and produced an unusual quiet. I loved seeing how fast it accumulated.

Up-potting radish seedlings, with some thyme on the corners

radish_up_pot_nakano_balcony
冬の暖かい昼に、ラディッシュの苗を大きい植木鉢に入れました。角に、タイムが二つ種類あります。

I took advantage of a warm winter day to up-pot the radishes into a one big rectangular pot. The larger plants on the ends are two types of thyme. Despite the cold temperatures, they’re growing a little every day.