Month: January 2014

Viewing Tokyo from within the gates of the Imperial Palace

marunouchi_view_from_imperialpalace_emperor_birthday

皇居の中から、丸の内を見るのは不思議な感じがします。前年、二回、皆が入ることができます。

A strange feeling to be leaving the Emperor’s home after his birthday address, with a view of the Marunouchi and Tokyo Station district from inside the imperial gates. The public is invited inside only twice a year.

I mistook this rampant winter “crow’s cucumber” for passion fruit

winter_fruit_vine

冬でも、生い茂ったカラスウリが電気線にからまっていました。

This weed-like vine is full of fruit, hanging from the power lines near the Odakyu rail tracks. In Japanese, it’s called “karasuuri,” and some varieties are used in Chinese medicine. I love how rampant it is, even in winter.

Seven spring greens in a soup pot

sevenspringgreens_package

お正月のすぐ後に、春の七草と一緒にスープを作りました。

I like how my neighborhood supermarket sells a combination pack of all seven spring greens. I bought this just after new year, added some mushrooms and made soup. It was good!

sevenspringgreens_cuttingboard sevenspringgreens_soup_pot

A city view without people

opera_city_from_below_freeway
東京にはディストピアな場所もあります。例えば、このオペラシティーの前の交差点。よく自転車で通ります。
Often I bike under this maze of freeways, and sometimes I look up and see the Opera City tower rising 50 floors above. A city view without people and plants seems sad to me.

Have you seen a new year decoration on a car or bike?

bike_shimekazari_shinjuku

車か自転車につけられたしめ飾りを見たことがありますか。これは、手仕事屋久家で作ったぼくの手作りです。新宿で。

I made this one at Kuge Crafts.

Traditional Japanese garden meets modern-day teens

basketball_dance_pine_snow_rope_yoyogipark
代々木公園の和風モダンの景色です。冬の日本庭園の前で、Re-Vibeというグループがパスケットボールと一緒に踊っています。

Named re-vibe, these teens were preforming a dance style that involves basketballs. Behind them, in the entrance to Yoyogi Park is a gorgeous pine tree, protected for winter by precisely spaced ropes.

Framed just right, this Tokyo house looks like it was magically transported from another place and another time

wood_house_nakano

木製の家は田舎らしいですね。実は、これは東京で見つけた廃墟となった家です。

This abandoned house is two houses from my Tokyo apartment. I am always amazed to see that it remains standing.

Simple materials create rustic shrine in the mountains

shrine_bell_rope_izu
階段の上に、簡素な材料で作られた神社は祈る場所を提供してくれます。

At the top of the stairs stands a simple shrine in Izu.

This farmers market seller stands behind his product

no_rice_no_life_farmers_market_UNU
日本で育たなかったので、たまにしかご飯を食べません。ファーマーズマーケットの売店の方はちがうみたいです。

I like to shock Japanese friends by skipping rice, sometimes. This Aoyama farmers market seller clearly has another opinion.

Jumbo sizes in shocking colors at farmers market

colorful_daikon_unu_farmersmarket

こんなに大きなサイズで、こんな色がありますか。見たことのない赤い色のを買いました。

I bought a red daikon because I’d never seen it before. It tastes good in soup.