University of Tokyo

Mini farm on concrete pad with plastic sacks

都市の中で食べ物を育てて、庭を持つことは無理だと思う人が多いです。東大の近くで、素晴らしいミニ農園を見つけました。コンクリートの受け台 の上です。植木鉢はビニール袋 で作られています。ところで、日本で夏にイチゴを買うことができません。ルバーブと一緒に煮たいなら、自分で育てなければなりません。

So many people think they can’t grow food or have a garden in the city. Near the University of Tokyo, I spotted this amazing mini-farm on a concrete pad. I love how they are using recycled and simple materials, like plastic sacks as container pots. It seems mostly cherry tomatoes, bitter melon, and shiso, with some incredible hand-made supports.

Speaking of growing your own, my mother in law was talking about cooking with rhubarb, and I naturally suggested strawberries. Apparently it is very difficult to find commercial strawberries in summer in Japan because it’s become known as a new year fruit. It seems like there’s an opportunity there for some local summer strawberries without the hothouses.

Creative use of sidewalk to grow bitter melon awning

東大の前のレストランはゴーヤを育てています。歩道と車道のあいだの狭いスペースに植わっていて、夏のグリーン・テントのようになっています。一度、ゴーヤが歩道を越えれば、二階の窓のグリーンカーテンになります。ほとんどスペースのないところで、食べ物と日陰を提供します。

Directly across from the University of Tokyo, I was delighted to see this green awning of bitter melon (also known as goya) growing up the guard rail and then over the sidewalk. The restaurant owner or manager is using a very narrow space to grow the vegetable, and then extending it with simple nets into a canopy. Once across the sidewalk, the goya forms a very tidy green curtain for the second floor window, providing some shade in this hot and humid summer.

University of Tokyo moves old ginko tree for construction

東大法学大学院の新しい図書館ができるまで、成熟したイチョウの木を移動しています。 東大は木の価値に気がついていて、うれしいです。本郷のキャンパスの背の高い木や三四郎池はとてもすてきです。

It’s wonderful to see how the University of Tokyo is carefully removing two mature ginko trees as it breaks ground for a new law school library. The Hongo campus is gorgeous, both for its brick buildings that are vaguely ivy league and art deco, but also for its stunning trees and Sanshiro pond.

The frantic pace of construction and reconstruction has left Tokyo with an inadequate tree canopy. It’s great that these two trees will survive the new building, and that the University of Tokyo demonstrates that it values its natural environment.

Tree full of giant purple flowers

東大前の駅から出てきて、この木に咲くむらさきの花を見ると、しあわせになります。

Coming out of the Todaimae station on my way to teach at the University of Tokyo, this tree full of giant purple flowers makes me very happy.

Mega-Cities syllabus for University of Tokyo

これが巨大都市の東大セミナーのシラバスです。興味のあるかたは、ダウンロードしてください。

Several people have asked me about the syllabus for the Tokyo University graduate seminar I am teaching this summer. The course title is Mega-Cities: Design Anthropology and Urban Landscapes. You can download the syllabus here (86kb pdf). Please let me know what you think.

Teaching a graduate seminar at University of Tokyo

明日から、東京大学大学院でセミナーを教えます。ワクワクします。
Starting tomorrow I will be teaching a graduate seminar at Tokyo University. The course title is “Mega-Cities: Design Anthropology and Urban Landscapes” in the Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies. This master’s and PhD program is taught in English to foreign students, mostly from East Asia. I am very excited to see Tokyo through the students’ eyes. They will be closely observation urban life and documenting it online. My challenge to them is to connect experiential learning with history, comparative study, and theory.