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/
Tulip bulbs, decorative cabbage, and a winter clematis.
This balcony vignette includes contrasting colors and shapes with plants from France, Australia, Pilipinas, and Tokyo (lavender, formium, banana, and kanamemochi).
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.
New condos are popping up all over SF for the well-paid tech industry workers. Homeless are also omnipresent.
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.
In San Francisco, we live on the ground floor. I miss the endless city views from our Tokyo balcony.
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.
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.
Maybe because it’s so retro, this scene is so cool.