Residences

Shu Kuge draws our Tokyo balcony garden, now online and for sale in print

kugecomics_balcony_excerpt My husband Shu Kuge‘s 8 page comic about our Tokyo balcony just got published. I am thrilled that our tiny garden measuring 1 by 5 meters, often featured in this blog, inspired Shu’s story about life in Tokyo today.  Shu’s creativity and perspective always amaze me. The inimitable drawer Luis Mendo invited Shu to participate in a special issue of architecture magazine MAS Context devoted to Tokyo and illustrators. It was Luis who suggested using our balcony as the focus of Shu’s story.

You can see the whole comic online. www.mascontext.com/issues/24-tokyo-winter-14/shu-kuge/

Print copies can be found at Chicago Design Museum in Chicago, IL | www.chidm.com, and Avril 50 in Philadelphia, PA | www.avril50.com, and soon online at www.mascontext.com/purchase/

Winter plants taken home by bike

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自転車で持ち帰った冬の植物です。チューリップの球根やキャベツやクレマチス。

Tulip bulbs, decorative cabbage, and a winter clematis.

Mixing colors, shapes and origins on Tokyo balcony

layers_balcony_tokyo

ベランダにあるこの四つの植物はそれぞれに別の色や形や起源があります。起源は、フランス、オーストラリア、フィリピン、東京です。

This balcony vignette includes contrasting colors and shapes with plants from France, Australia, Pilipinas, and Tokyo (lavender, formium, banana, and kanamemochi).

Leopard plant makes me think we have a damp creek on our Tokyo balcony

tsuwabuki_balcony_fall
秋の花では、日本庭園のツワブキが大好きです。ツワブキのおかげで、東京のベランダは小川のある湿地みたいです。

One of my favorite Japanese fall flowers is “leopard plant,” called tsuwabuki (ツワブキ) in Japanese. Many traditional gardens use it, and it looks like it could be growing wild by the stream.

Wide streets and big skies in San Francisco

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

I’ve been enjoying wandering through my old haunts in San Francisco. I lived on this block for ten years during and after graduate school.

Compared to Tokyo, I always wonder, where is everybody? It seems they are either indoors or in their cars.

I miss the endless city views from our Tokyo balcony

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH
サンフランシスコのアパートは一階です。東京のベランダから見える、終わりのないような都市景色が懐かしいです。

In San Francisco, we live on the ground floor. I miss the endless city views from our Tokyo balcony.

Banana tree offers a tropical vibe on a narrow Tokyo balcony

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

東京のベランダで、バナナの木は熱帯の雰囲気を作り出します。狭い庭なのに、ニュージーランドやいろいろな太平洋の国からの植物があります。

On our Tokyo balcony, late summer clouds, Edo-style morning glory, New Zealand flax, and a banana tree are a mix of Pacific Ocean geographies.

A rose named “hope” sounds cheesy but is actually a super-rose

lespoir_rose_balcony_nakano
説明どおり、レスポワールというバラは東京のベランダで育てやすかったです。家に、すごく元気になりました。香りもいいです。

In May, I went to the “home center” (Nakano Shimachu) and bought the most expensive rose (about US$ 30). It’s name is L’Espoir, or Hope. It scores a perfect 5 in every attribute: grows well in pots, size of flower, scent, bloom frequency, and ease of growing. It’s also dedicated to the Tohoku March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

I am generally skeptical of industrial gardening, but I gave Hope a try. It turned out great on the 10th floor balcony. It may not have grown that tall, but it required no pesticide and bloomed often. I love the scent. To me, scent is essential in roses.

lespoir_rose_balcony_nakano_label lespoir_rose2_balcony_nakano_label