Month: June 2013

Marigolds provide spots of color in hand-made ceramics

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スーパで100円で買ったマリーゴールドはきれいな色です。5年前に、手仕事屋久家で、このしっかりとした陶芸の植木鉢を作りました。

These were some of the first ceramic flowerpots I made at my in-laws studio, Kuge Crafts. Here I’ve added some bright yellow and orange marigolds that I picked up at the nearby supermarket for 100 yen each. The ceramic are thick and heavy, which makes them ideal for a sometimes windy location. And the white glaze makes them easy to match with different flowers and herbs.

Morning glory on green curtain blooms longer in the rain

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雨の日は、昼まで琉球アサガオが咲いています。いっぱいです。

For four years, this Okinawa morning glory returns each year. While the annual Edo morning glories are just starting to climb, the Okinawa morning glory is already blooming and extending its reach to all corners of the narrow balcony.

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First article about Tokyo Green Space in Chinese: 東京都市學,衝突新美學

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ペイユン・リンさんのおかげで、初めてTokyo Green Spaceについての中国語の記事が出ました。『Green』は台湾の建築関係の雑誌です。記事の題名は、「東京都市學,衝突新美學」です。

Thanks to Peiyun Lin, an article about Tokyo Green Space appears in this month’s Green magazine, a Taiwanese architecture magazine. The title is “東京都市學,衝突新美學,” which the author translates as Tokyo Green Space: The City Full of Conflicts. The photos are mine, and Peiyun’s story based on this blog.

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The view from the kitchen out to the balcony and the city. A floating sky jungle makes me feel at home.

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台所から見えるベランダの庭と都市の景色は、空を流れているジャングルみたいです。植物のおかげで、くつろげます。

Our kitchen has sliding glass doors that open out to the balcony. By early summer, the green curtain and shrubs have filled out, providing some privacy and the feeling of a floating sky jungle. The plants make me feel at home.

Yes, you can spend more than US$ 200 for a watermelon in Tokyo

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外国人は、こんなに高いフルーツに驚きます。伊勢丹デパ地下で、21,000円のスイカが売っています。もちろん、珍しいひょうたんの形で、王様の椅子に座っています。

Foreigners who imagine Tokyo is expensive always mention over-the-top fruit. Even if it were in a gourd shape, as this one is, who in the US or Europe would spend over $200 for a watermelon? In Japan, few purchase these trophy fruit, but they are always available at places like Isetan’s food emporium.

Which hydrangea do you like best? I love all types.

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6月の梅雨で、一番きれいな花はアジサイでしょうか。色と種類が多いですが、僕は全部、大好きです。最近、伊豆の小さな田んぼのよこで、アジサイが咲いていたのを見ました。

I love all types of hydrangea. They are always so oversized, and particularly well suited to Japan’s rainy season. I like the elegant ones that bloom more sparingly, and also the giant pom pom types that come in so many different shades. Recently we saw hydrangea planted on the border of small rice fields in Izu.

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Selling small fig trees at local flower shop

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いつも行く中野の花屋さんは、このかわいいイチジクを売っていました。もちろん、ベランダに一つ買いました。たったの700円!

I couldn’t resist buying one of these tiny fig trees for sale at a Nakano flower shop I frequent. Only 700 yen!

Madam K hamburgers does not make room for new development

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東京には、新しい開発に譲らない小さな建物もあります。昭和時代のMadam K ハンバーガーのサインが残っています。

It’s fun to see the small Tokyo hold-outs that refuse to become integrated in new developments. Long live, Madam K hamburgers.

Koenji has a mix of styles from different decades

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高円寺のルックという商店街には、違う時代からのいろいろな建物とサインのスタイルがあります。

On Koenji’s Look shopping street, the mix of building styles and signage is fun.

Local groups assemble in Shinjuku ni chome for Hanazono festival

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新宿の花園神社の祭りで、路地にそれぞれ違う町内会の服装が見えます。このリーダは僕にピースサインをしています。

Two different groups are occupying a Shinjuku ni-chome side street. At first I wondered why the leader was pointing at me. Then I realized he was giving me the peace sign. The in-between ritual time is just as fascinating as the heavy lifting of the portable shrines. I wish the streets were this lively every day.

Festival outfit mixes easily with mama-chari bike and cellphone

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はっぴを着ている人は、携帯を使いながら、ママチャリを乗っています。祭りでは、昔のものと現代のものが混ざります。

I missed all the shrine carrying, but what I really enjoy is the mix of the old and new, all taking place on streets full of people and closed to traffic. I like how this guy is casually wearing his happi jacket and no pants while talking on the phone and balancing on the prototypical Tokyo bike with kids seat and basket.

Some “downtown” characters form part of the organizing committee

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三社祭のまとめ係の人は、下町っぽいです。

These gentlemen look like they’ve participated in the Asakusa sanja matsuri many times before. They seem very much at home in Tokyo’s shitamachi, known for its traditional, Edo-influenced culture.

Wood and string toy provides old-fashioned challenge

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剣玉は、伝統的な遊びです。

It’s nice to see the young people at the matsuri giving their smartphones a rest and enjoying some old-fashioned games, like kendama which involves catching a ball tied to two wood cups with a string.