My interview about a new waterfront high-rise is now online and in many free real estate magazines distributed around Tokyo’s stations

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最近、芝浦についての私のインタビューが出ました。この三井不動産のプロジェクトは、住宅と同時に公共の公園も作り、新い住人と今住んでいる住人とのコミュニティーを作ろうとしています。画期的な計画だと思います。緑と水は人をつなげられます。

In August, I began working with Mitsui Real Estate, Recruit, and a small NGO to introduce a new luxury high-rise residential tower in Shibaura, a less known waterfront area between Shinagawa and Hamamatsucho. It’s near where the base of Rainbow Bridge is located.

In this online interview (in Japanese) and in real estate brochures distributed around Tokyo, I relate my experience working in the neighborhood at Shibaura House, where I led gardening and fieldwork workshops for locals and international visitors, adults and small children.

The new tower, which is just now breaking ground, contributes to the restoration of Edo-era canals by creating a public waterfront park. This park contributes to the developer’s goal of creating a resilient community that includes new and existing residents. Providing greater access to the waterfront also restores a vital part of Tokyo’s history that was neglected in the 20th century.

Snowfall behind the dormant green curtain

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先月、雪がたくさん降りました。外に人が少なかったから、都市が静かになった。

A heavy snowfall last month briefly slowed down the city and produced an unusual quiet. I loved seeing how fast it accumulated.

View of Shinjuku at twilight, wide road and narrow sidewalk

この新宿の景色には、道路は広いですが、人と植物の空間が少ないです。もっと想像力を使えば、良かったと思いませんか。
This view towards Shinjuku demonstrates how wide the road is and how little space is allocated to people and plants. What a lack of imagination.

Lotus flowers growing in buckets at Araiyakushi temple in Nakano

バケツの中で育っている蓮は新井薬師神社にあります。夏の風が吹いて人が少ないとき、ここは静かです。

These lotus flowers look so perfect at night I had to check that they were real. It was charming to see them blowing in the warm summer wind in front of the main temple at Araiyakushi in Nakano. I was even more surprised to realize that this mini-field was growing in a dozen over-sized buckets. Below you can see the entrance to the temple from the street, with lanterns and gates.

Pine tree filling out between winter’s hard prune and summer’s heat

この杉の葉は大きくなっています。冬は極端に切りつめて、日差しを増やします。夏は影を作ります。古い監視カメラがあるので、人の作った庭だとわかります。けれども、だれも見ていないと思います。

I like how this pine tree is starting to fill out. It was hard pruned for winter, which allows more sunlight into the apartments. By summer it provided thick shade. Somehow this dubious security camera adds to the charm of this very orderly tree.

“We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” That’s the welcome message for prospective students.

.@ilynam とユキさんと一緒に農大に来て、強い雨に降られました。入口に、「すくう人。環境学生』のポスターを見て、うれしくなりました。鈴木先生のために、海外に作られた日本庭園のことについて学べるサイトを作ります。デザインと庭と画像と土を一緒にするので、このプロジェクットは楽しいです。

It was raining when @ilynam and Yuki joined me for the first meeting to create a website for the 500 garden database of Japanese gardens outside Japan, a project I am helping Suzuki sensei with this year.

At the entrance to the school, somehow this rainy scene was an apt start for this exciting project where we will mix design, gardens, pixels, and soil. Bringing this knowledge online will be very helpful for people around the world who are interested in knowing about and visiting hundreds of Japanese gardens in dozens of countries. And working with design stars Ian and Yuki, I am confident that we can combine simplicity and beauty in the interface.

The banner offering campus tours for new students says, “We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” The word sukuu means “scoop” and also “save.”

Seed bomb recipe for kids workshop at Shibaura House

.@ShibauraHouse の子供たちのワークショップのために、この種爆弾のレシピを書きました。五種類の種を使いました。人と動物の食べられる植物を選んで、背の高い花は見えやすいので選びました。子供が粘土と土と種を混ぜて、汚れるときが楽しかったようです。

This is the handout I made for the Shibaura House seed bomb workshop for kids. The recipe is 5 parts powdered clay, 2 parts soil, 1 part seed, and 1 part water. Thinking about the season, late spring, just before rainy season, I chose clover, soba, sunflower, hollyhocks, and watermelon.

The seed selection also responded to the theme of “eating and seeing green.” I wanted to provide food for animals as well as people, as well as flowers that are tall and easy to see. The soba and clover seeds are the least expensive and served as the seed “base.”

Corrected: Below are photos from the event, taken by Naomi Muto and written up by Shirakuma Ikuko in Japanese. It’s funny that my instructions were to make balls (dango), but the kids enjoyed making shapes like stars, bows, donuts, Jupiter, and even a black hole.

In the afternoon, the adults who attended the kick-off talk event also participated in vegetable planting on the 4th floor. Shibaura House is tweeting the growth of their new garden!