Is this just across the water from Chiba?

ocean_beach_sf_winter
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”?

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「雪鳥」という英語の表現を聞いたことがありますか。カリフォルニア人も使いません。雪が好きな意味ではありません。ニューヨークの高齢者は冬、フロリダ州に行くという意味です。私はまだ高齢者ではないですが、冬が苦手です。

今年の冬、サンフランシスコで仕事をしていました。太平洋の「雪鳥」になりました。東京に引っ越すの前は、大学院生のときから、ずっとサンフランシスコに住んでいました。太平洋の二つの都市に住むことは刺激になります。、

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

succulent_rose_darkpurplecolor

サンフランシスコでよく見かけるアエオニウムを東京のマンションで育てています。冬は、部屋の中の方がいいと思います。形や色が大好きです。カナリー諸島から来た植物です。

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

basketball_dance_pine_snow_rope_yoyogipark
代々木公園の和風モダンの景色です。冬の日本庭園の前で、Re-Vibeというグループがパスケットボールと一緒に踊っています。

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

cycads_wrapped_hamamatsucho
冬は、ソテツはわらに包まれています。こうして、日本庭園の技術が歩道で見れます。かっこいい彫刻ですね。

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

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冬のあいだも、グリーンカーテンは自然な仕切りになって、目を楽しませてくれます。

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

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クリスマスローズという花は冬の終わりのしるしです。この植木鉢は、東高円寺のトンキという大好きなトンカツ店の外にありました。

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

condensation_window_camellia_nakano_home
冬がきらいですが、ツバキが大好きです。最低限の世話でも雪でも、鮮やかな花が長いあいだ咲きます。

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

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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

camelia_meltedsnow_ishii_nakano
雪が解けたときに、石井さんの庭で白いツバキが咲いていて、そばの路地で子供たちが遊んでいました。

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