Month: October 2013

The mailbox, buzzer and family name are all that’s left after Nakano demolition

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取り壊しの後には、メールボックスとブザーと表札しか残っていません。

This is the end of the demolition series. I took this photo with my iPhone as I was leaving Nakano for a trip to San Francisco on September 1. I am curious whether the mailbox will still be there later this week when I return.

Construction worker poses on top of truck, in front of his job site

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 毎週、現場を通りかかると、同じ青年がいつも声をかけてくれました。仕事にとても誇りを持っているようでした。

For weeks, each time I passed the demolition site, the teenage worker would greet me. He seemed eager to pose for photographs. Here he is on top of the truck that hauls out metal scrap.

The same Western house, now deconstructed

nakano_demolition_70s_sideview

真夏に、洋風の家を取り壊しています。鉄骨構造と中庭が見えるようになりました。

In the heat of summer, the young workers dismantled the 1970s house seen in the last post. The demolition reveals the steel structure and large internal courtyard.

Western style home from the 1970s also getting scraped

nakano_demolition_secondhouse_detail

二番目に取り壊される家は洋風です。玄関の上に、古風な機械が置いてあります。

The second house seems somewhat more recent and more Western in style, with lots of fancy metal work and a mix of brick and concrete. During the demolition, archaic machines were perched above the front entry.

At the start, the demolition truck is still empty

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取り壊しの初め、トラックは空っぽです。青いタイルの家も左隣の家ももうすぐ取り壊されます。

The houses to be demolished are the Showa-era one with blue roof tiles and the neighboring house on its left.

“These are Japanese tabi,” announces the young demolition worker

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とてもフレンドリーなガテン系の青年は靴を指差して「ジャパニーズ足袋」と言いました。これから、中野にある住居の取り壊しのシリーズをはじめます。取り壊しの時に、住居の中が見えます。真夏なのに、若いガテン系さんは一所懸命に働きます。

On my way to the station, I first notice a large truck parked in front of an old house. A minute further down the small street, this orange-haired youth greets me, and points at his shoes, saying “these are Japanese tabi.” Tabi are the mitten-like shoes worn by Japanese construction workers and farmers. He very willingly posed for his portrait, with the demolition site in the background.

This is the start of a series on the demolition of two adjacent Nakano houses. One was, at one time, an elegant and understated Showa-era home, with clean lines and a few blue ceramic roof tiles as decoration. It’s neighbor is a more international-style home from perhaps the 1970s. The demolition took place during the heat of summer in August.

Home demolitions give you a rare peak inside the homes of strangers, allowing you to see interior courtyards, old kitchens, and other “private spaces.” The demolition requires weeks of dismantling and trash sorting. There’s some machinery for the heavy lifting, but much of the energy for these small projects comes from youth.

Balcony garden has been relocated due to building maintenance

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空っぽになったベランダを見て、びっくりしました。ベランダの二百種類くらいの植物が東京の家族の小さな庭に移転されました。パートナーがこの写真を取って、Say Hi というサイトに載せました。ビルメンテナンスのために、二ヶ月以上、家に庭がありません。

It’s a shock for me, too, to see this photo of my empty balcony.  The 200 or so plants on my Tokyo mid-rise balcony have been relocated to my in-laws’ small garden.

Our building is undergoing a two and a half month exterior renovation to patch cracks, replace drainage pipes, and otherwise maintain this 40 year old building. My spouse Shu Kuge took this photo and posted it to Say Hi.

In the garden’s absence, I’ll be focusing more on photos and stories about my neighborhood and Tokyo. Next up is a blog series documenting the demolition of two neighboring homes near my apartment.

My interview about a new waterfront high-rise is now online and in many free real estate magazines distributed around Tokyo’s stations

braiterman_ad_mitsuifudosan_recruit_suumo

最近、芝浦についての私のインタビューが出ました。この三井不動産のプロジェクトは、住宅と同時に公共の公園も作り、新い住人と今住んでいる住人とのコミュニティーを作ろうとしています。画期的な計画だと思います。緑と水は人をつなげられます。

In August, I began working with Mitsui Real Estate, Recruit, and a small NGO to introduce a new luxury high-rise residential tower in Shibaura, a less known waterfront area between Shinagawa and Hamamatsucho. It’s near where the base of Rainbow Bridge is located.

In this online interview (in Japanese) and in real estate brochures distributed around Tokyo, I relate my experience working in the neighborhood at Shibaura House, where I led gardening and fieldwork workshops for locals and international visitors, adults and small children.

The new tower, which is just now breaking ground, contributes to the restoration of Edo-era canals by creating a public waterfront park. This park contributes to the developer’s goal of creating a resilient community that includes new and existing residents. Providing greater access to the waterfront also restores a vital part of Tokyo’s history that was neglected in the 20th century.

This Edo morning glory is white with pink veins

pink_white_edo_morningglory_nakano

ベランダの江戸のアサガオは白色で、ピンクの線は静脈みたいです。8月の真夏。

Taken in mid-summer. This is the end of the summer balcony detail series.