Month: February 2013

Rice ball and coins outside small Nakano shrine


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


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”


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


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


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.


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



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


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


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


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

Snowfall behind the dormant green curtain


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


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.