ヤシ

Palm tree crest marks shrine near Mount Fuji

Fujisan_shrine_crest2_shuro_Trachycarpus
私のパートナーがシュロの家紋を見つけました。富士山の神社の家です。

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.

Fujisan_shrine_crest_shuro_Trachycarpus

Native palm trees in Chichijima

Noyashi_Chichijima

小笠原に自生するヤシの種類は二つあります。ビロウヤシはうちわ形の葉があって、辺りの植物より背が高いです。ノヤシは羽のような葉と木の幹に金の輪があります。

Ogasawara has two native palm trees. Both have very simple common names in Japanese: biroyashi, which means fan palm or Chinese fan palm,  and noyashi, a feather palm that uses the “no” of Nakano, which means field or rustic. The noyashi has beautiful, almost golden leaf bases on its trunk.  Below, in a nature sanctuary on the east side of Chichijima, the biroyashi rise above the low scrub on steep cliffs.

Biro_yashi_Chichijima

Winter palm and white camellia cover Tokyo residence

palm_camellia_koenji
生い茂ったサザンカと背の高いシュロのヤシが明るい冬の風景を作っています。高円寺で。

I love this winter scene of rampant white camellia and tall native palms, with plenty of dead fronds still attached to the crown. The wild landscape makes the house cozy and bright in the cold weather.

Convenience store landscape lights up the evening with coconut palm tree

たくさんの外国人は、日本のデザインが上品でシンプルだと信じています。天皇陛下の別荘がある葉山という町で、コンビニの前にある大きい電気のヤシの木を見ました。

Everyone says how Hayama is where the Emperor has a summer home. No one mentions the Hayama Lawson’s giant, light-up coconut tree. Public landscapes reveal that design in Japan is often neither minimal nor elegant.

The beach is a fast train ride away in Chiba

千葉の御宿に着くと、きれいなヤシの並木が見えます。細くて背が高いです。カリフォルニアに人気なメキシコのヤシみたいです。急行で行くと、東京から御宿は近いです。電車からの東京湾の景色が大好きです。

I love how this row of skinny palm trees greets visitors to Onjuku, Chiba right from the station. They look like Mexican fan palms (washingtonia robusta) which are very common in California.

Onjuku is an 80 minute ride on the express train, and the beach is a 10 minute walk away. It’s great to visit the beach even for an afternoon. The trip by train is also fun. I love to see the port buildings and activities.

Palm trees in San Francisco, rare and common

東京に引っ越しする前に、サンフラシスコで耐寒性のあるヤシを育てていました。サンフランシスコは一年中寒いので、育つヤシと育たないヤシがあります。最近、昔の庭を訪れたとき、木が大きくなっていたので、うれしかったです。

Before I moved to Tokyo four years ago, I grew cold weather palm trees in San Francisco. On a recent visit, it was great to see the trees getting larger. Above is a pritchardia minor from high altitude Hawaii. Below is the far more common queen palm, a native of South America that has been deemed invasive in Florida and Queensland.

Palms are unexpected feature of Tokyo gardens

自然に生えているシュロというヤシが大好きです。東京の中で、ヤシはちょっと意外で、すてきだと思います。

I love the semi-wild shuro palm, and how it pops up unexpectedly in Tokyo gardens. This is at the “forest house” in Nakano, looking up towards the sky. Utility lines are also a common Tokyo landscape element.

Tokyo palm tree looks desolate in heavy snowfall

近所の駐車場にあるシュロというヤシはいつも寂しい感じです。雪の日は、もっと寂しそうです。うるう年2012年。

I love how this sad parking lot palm tree looks especially desolate in snow. Leap Day, 2012.

Lone palm looks radiant in twilight

夕暮れに一本のヤシが素敵に見えます。

Lone palm looks radiant in twilight. I had to stop my bike to take this photo. Gaien-Nishi Dori between Aoyama and Jingu-mae.

Update: Identified by @jasondewees as Washingtonia, or Mexican fan palm. This tall skinny palm also grows well in San Francisco (and possibly LA, too).

Wild palm is allowed to grow in manicured landscape

日本庭園の剪定はカンペキです。東京体育館のような公共施設にもツツジが波の形にしてあって、木が高いプードルみたいです。ですから、そこで自然に生えたシュロを見て驚きました。ヤシは「外人」だから、大丈夫なのでしょうか。

Japanese garden maintenance is precise and skilled, even in public facilities. Because of this, I was all the more surprised and delighted to see a self-sown shuro palm disrupting this heavily manicured and idealized landscape behind the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium. The azaleas on the slope are pruned to suggest waves, and the trees pruned as if they were posh poodles.

Maybe because it’s a palm tree, this intruder is allowed to thrive.

The places between spaces enchant

建物の間の狭いところが私をひきつけます。密集した都市のこんなスペ—スは、とても楽しいと思います。狭いのに、十五メートルの高さの竹と冬に葉を落としている木とシュロというヤシが元気そうです。

I was captivated by this narrow green space between residences in Omotesando. The places between spaces have a tremendous appeal in dense Tokyo. This tiny space supports 15 meter tall bamboo, a tree shedding its leaves for winter, and the ubiquitous shuro palm tree that self-seeds throughout Tokyo.

Dutch embassy opens its doors for Culture Day

文化の日にオランダ大使館が一般公開されました。大使公邸と庭を訪ねるためにたくさんの人が来ました。東京の中で、たくさんの庭と自然が通常は住民に開かれていません。オランダ大使館の庭は和風と洋風の特徴が混ざっています。よく手に入れされた庭にも、自然に生えたシュロというヤシもあります。シュロというヤシは、江戸時代に多くの用途がありました。オランダ大使館を散歩しながら、長い貿易と鎖国の時代を想像しました。

On Japan’s Culture Day, the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo opened the doors to its magnificent ambassador’s residence and garden. Hundreds of locals took advantage of this rare inside look. It reminded me that many of Tokyo’s greatest green spaces are in private hands or inaccessible to the public like the Imperial Palace.

It’s fantastic that the Netherlands embassy opens their diplomatic outpost to the public twice a year. The house was initially designed in the 1880s and rebuilt after the 1923 earthquake. Although some say the style is “colonial,” the building reminds me of upper class residences in the United State’s northeast. From some angles, I could imagine Gatsby throwing a large garden party.

The garden is a fantastic mix of towering pines and other trees, a pleasantly irregular lawn, and a mix of traditional Japanese garden plants with plenty of imports like roses. Within this well maintained garden, I was pleased to see Tokyo’s native palm tree, the shuro, which easily self-sows and carries a history of being used for centuries in domestic life, as brooms, roofing, and sandals.

The visit also reminded me of the centuries of Dutch-Japanese history. This year I visited Dejima in Nagasaki, the sole foreign trading post during the centuries when Japan remained otherwise closed to the world. The visit conjured scenes of trading ships, cultural emissaries, and globalization in its earlier stages.