Is this just across the water from Chiba?

ここは千葉の反対側? サンフランシスコの冬はだいたい夏より暖かいです。不思議でしょう。家から海まで自転車で行けます。

San Francisco is often warmer in winter than summer. The ocean is just a bike ride away.

Do you know the expression “snowbird”?




Even my California friends misunderstand this term. They think it might be a bird that loves the snow. No, it’s an expression in the US’s Northeast to describe often elderly people who spend the winters in Florida.

This year, I’ve prematurely become a Pacific snowbird, spending the winter working in San Francisco, where I lived almost my entire adult life before moving to Tokyo. Living in two Pacific Coast cities is very stimulating.

From Canary Islands to Tokyo apartment



I see this aeonium succulent often in San Francisco, and decided to grow it in my Tokyo apartment. I love its shape and the its origins in the Canary Islands. I’ve kept mine indoors in the winter.

Traditional Japanese garden meets modern-day teens


Named re-vibe, these teens were preforming a dance style that involves basketballs. Behind them, in the entrance to Yoyogi Park is a gorgeous pine tree, protected for winter by precisely spaced ropes.

Sidewalk cycads, wrapped up for winter, bring craft to the big city


Wrapped in rice stalks to protect them from the cold, these tall sidewalk cycads add an element of traditional Japanese gardens to a large city street. I love the craft and care visible in the wrapping, and the shapes look almost human. I included the photo below to show off the fantastic 1960s or 1970s architecture of the residential building nearby.

cycads_wrapped2_hamamatsuchoWrapped in rice stalks, these sidewalk cycads

Even dormant, green curtain provides an extra wall for small apartment living


This small green curtain on the balcony, even when dormant, creates an extra space in our tiny apartment by setting a porous garden edge.  This living curtain provides some privacy and some charm. Soon it will be leafing out.

Lush pink potted hellebore signals end of winter, outside tonkatsu restaurant



This potted hellebore, pronounced kurisumasu rouzu in Japanese, looks super lush outside my favorite tonkatsu restaurant, Tonki in Higashi Koenji. These flowers signal the end of winter.

I appreciate camellias for their indestructible and garish winter color


Camellias can be seen everywhere during Tokyo’s winter.

I am not a fan of winter, so I particularly appreciate camellia’s for proving indestructible color in bright pink on the coldest days. Whether pruned into a hedge, or placed in a plastic container, camellias are resilient to snow and require minimal care. The neighbor’s camellia has turned into a 5 meter tall tree.

balcony_city_winter_flowers_nakano_home camellia_balcony_closeup_nakano_home camellia_balcony_nakano_home camellia_balcony_snow_nakano_home neighbor_camellia_winter_nakano

Two succulents in hand-made ceramic add craft to new window bench

小さな二つの多肉植物(エケベリアとセダム)が冬のベランダで元気になりました。最近、窓ぎわの新しいベンチの上に置きました。この陶器の植木鉢は4年前に、義理の両親の工房『手仕事屋 久家』で作りました。

This small succulent pair has grown well all winter long on my balcony. I brought it inside for a few days on our window seat. This is one of the first ceramics I made at my in-laws’ crafts studio, Kuge Crafts. I’m working with them now to create a new website for their studio.

Melting snow and white camellias in four season garden


Ishii-san’s garden nearby always look good, in all seasons. With the snow melting, a family enjoys walking down the street.