Month: March 2014

Her wedding dress is bigger than a shrub


If swans were a unit of measurement, I would estimate this dress as 2 swans. At San Francisco’s most famous wedding backdrop, the Palace of Fine Arts.


Cherry blossoms will start popping on March 31 in Tokyo


桜開花の地図はとても詳しいと思いませんか? 日本だけです。

I love the obsessive forecasting of cherry blossom season, and its progression from south to north across the archipelago.


This San Francisco sidewalk garden reminds me of Tokyo

The simplicity of a garden made of pots, the tiered stand for packing more plants in a small space, and the generosity of the gardener remind me of Tokyo.

San Francisco winter full of sun and palm trees



The mild San Francisco winter has been delightful. Palm trees add to California’s allure. This is the top of the palm tree trunk in the previous photo.

With the fence down, the view out back looks like a deep jungle


The palm on the left side comes from high altitude Hawaii, and is uniquely suited to San Francisco’s cool ocean-side climate.

Reusing old wood to build a new fence


I’ve been wanting to rebuild my small back fence, and wondered about using recycled wood. Then I realized that I could reuse some of the old fence. Thanks to Kap, my amazing gardener, for rebuilding the fence using old materials turned from vertical planks to horizontal orientation.

Fall and spring trees coexist on San Francisco streets



After living in Japan, seeing autumn foliage in background, and plum blossoms in foreground is a confusing mix of seasons. In California, there’s a wet and a dry season, with little temperature difference from month to month. It’s odd to see both plants from 2 season regions like the Mediterranean, South Africa, and Australia, and also from 4 season regions.

Is this just across the water from Chiba?

ここは千葉の反対側? サンフランシスコの冬はだいたい夏より暖かいです。不思議でしょう。家から海まで自転車で行けます。

San Francisco is often warmer in winter than summer. The ocean is just a bike ride away.

Do you know the expression “snowbird”?




Even my California friends misunderstand this term. They think it might be a bird that loves the snow. No, it’s an expression in the US’s Northeast to describe often elderly people who spend the winters in Florida.

This year, I’ve prematurely become a Pacific snowbird, spending the winter working in San Francisco, where I lived almost my entire adult life before moving to Tokyo. Living in two Pacific Coast cities is very stimulating.

Dramatic sky in Nakano


The sky appears to be on fire. Unfortunately, the new building blocks our old view of Mount Fuji.

Palm tree crest marks shrine near Mount Fuji


My spouse found this shuro family crest, which is displayed at a shrine near Mount Fuji. The shuro palm is native to Japan and grows wild in Tokyo. I’ve been delighted to find it in parking lots and formal gardens. This year we are planting seeds to see if we can grow it on the balcony.