I was stunned that a Tokyo taxi driver doesn’t know where the Kanda river crosses a major boulevard

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「神田川で止めてください」タクシーの運転手にお願いしました。すると「どこですか」と言いましたから、驚きました。本当に東京の人は神田川を忘れたのでしょうか。夜に、はるか下のコンクリートの水路に鴨の声がまだ聞けます。

I love this view of the Kanda River, the older low-rise Nishi Shinjuku neighborhood, with the new towers rising in the background. It’s sad that the river is so dis-used that many people probably do not recognize it. Still, at night, I hear ducks quacking far below the street in this concrete channel.

Night view from balcony, shot on new Canon 6D

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ベランダから見た都市の夜の景色です。最近、新しいCanon 6Dというカメラを買った。写真をもっととりたいです。

The Canon 6D is the entry level for “full frame” cameras. I am still learning my way with it. I’ll still use film during the day, but it allows me a lot more opportunity for indoor and night photography.

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Tamabi campus at night

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有名な多摩美のキャンパスを訪れました。夜の芝生はとてもきれいです。

 

有名な多摩美のキャンパスに訪れました。夜の芝生はとてもきれいです。

Attending a guest lecture by permaculture designer Cecilia Macaulay gave me a great chance to see one campus of the famous Tamabi art school. This was taken in November so perhaps the lawn and trees no longer so lush.

Tanuki visits the imperial State Guest House at nite. You can visit the garden tomorrow during the day.

夜、タヌキさんは皇族の迎賓館を訪ねます。明日の日中、文化の日のおかげで、誰もがその庭を見れます。楽しみにしています。

You can spot tanuki’s tail sticking out of the guard house at this imperial entrance. Through Saturday, November 3, Culture Day in Japan, the Geihin-kan, or State Guest house, will open its garden to the public. It’s about 100 yards south and slightly west of the Yotsuya station in Moto-Akasaka. I will not pass up the opportunity to enter a vast and well groomed garden that is not normally open to the public. I am curious who will show up.

Tokyo Station unwrapped and glowing at night

足場が取れて、きれいな東京駅が見えます。まだ入口と広場は工事中です。

The scaffolding has come down from the gorgeous red brick Tokyo Station after years of renovation. Still to come are the re-done entries and front plaza.

Long allée of cherry trees in Tatsumi are especially beautiful at night

辰巳の桜の散歩道は、夜が特別にすてきです。高速道路を作ったときに、公園の木を植えたのだと思います。今この林は40年以上に見えます。

This long allée of cherry trees in Tatsumi, perhaps a kilometer-long straight path, is magnificent, especially at night. I suppose they planted the cherry trees at the same time the elevated freeways were constructed. All the trees in the park are reaching maturity now, probably 40 years later.

Night view of freeway snarl at Tatsumi station

夜の辰巳は、倉庫や物流や高速道路のうなり声が、日中とは違う雰囲気を持っています。夏の夜はもっと涼しいし、影があるし、さまざまな電気がきれいな表面を作り出しています。

At night the shipping, warehouses, and freeway snarl of Tatsumi takes on a different feeling with more shadows. In the summer the air is cooler, and the mix of lighting creates a slick veneer.

“Don’t touch that poisonous tree”

廃虚化した家の前に、シキミの木が咲いています。「毒があるので注意してください」と言われました。夜は、特別に素敵です。

I’ve written before about this shikimi (シキミ) tree that’s thriving outside this wood house, long after it’s been unoccupied. The tree even jumped its pot, & the neighbors give it the occasional pruning to keep it out of the street.

At night and in bloom, it’s very alluring. But S warns me, “Don’t touch that poisonous tree.” Also known as Japanese star anise, the tree can be burned as incense. For tea, stick to the Chinese star anise, if you don’t want severe inflammation of the kidneys, urinary tract and digestive organs.

50 plus cactuses kept by local real estate office

小さな不動産屋さんには、大きなサボテンの庭があります。最近は雨が降ると、オフィスの人が中にサボテンを入れるのだそうです。プラスチックで覆われた外にずっとおいてあるサボテンもあります。
オフィスの人は寒い夜に外から事務所の中にみんなサボテンを入れると言いました。五十個以上の種類があります。重くて危ないし、とげがあるので、大変ですね。園芸家としての情熱と苦労に感心します。

Near the gallery where the Shiho ceramic show is held each year, there’s a small real estate office with an amazing collection of at least 50 cactuses. This year, I noticed that when it rains the realtor brings most of them inside, and covers a few outside with plastic.

The office definitely has more cactuses than customers. I am delighted by this plant lover’s dedication. When it’s cold, he brings many in for the night. Given how heavy and thorny the plants are, he’s obviously very dedicated to his passion.

Fragrant Angel’s Trumpet flowers remind me of San Francisco

エンジェル・トランペットはサンフランシスコを思い出させます。特に夜、香りがいいです。この植物はもともと南アメリカのアンデズという山から来ました。

Angel’s Trumpet, or brugmansia, reminds me of San Francisco. Its big flowers are particularly fragrant at night. Originally from the Andes mountains of South America, in Tokyo this wonderful bush dies back in the winter and re-sprouts every April.

Summer night’s red flowers on a side street

この赤い花が路地にこぼれ出していました。蒸し暑い夏の夜に、花に驚かされるのは楽しいです。だれかこの花の名前を知っていますか?

These red flowers nearly blocked the path as we stumbled out of a restaurant one night this weekend. I love the thick flowers and sheer exuberance. I am not sure whether it’s a vine or a tree, and welcome any reader suggestions of its name in Japanese or Latin. The humidity in August is overwhelming, so it’s nice to be surprised by night-time plants.

Twilight over Nishi Shinjuku with almost full moon

暑さと高い湿度のために、東京の夏の日中はちょっとたいへんです。
けれども、夏の夜は歩くのが楽しいです。夕暮れは特にきれいです。この写真は、数日前、月がもうすぐ満月の時でした。西新宿の上に出ていました。

Summer days in Tokyo are difficult with the heat and humidity, but evenings are very pleasant for walking and getting around. Twilight is especially beautiful now.

Night view and fallen petals conclude cherry blossom season

花見の季節は終わり、最後の夜の花びらの写真です。

I love this multi-petal and super-pink cherry tree growing outside my apartment building. At night, it is magical against the clouds and electric power lines. I like that the tree has been trimmed into a lollipop shape. The sight of the petals pooling up in the gutter is also strangely captivating: so pink and so transient.

Fortunately, once cherry trees have finished blooming, there is a burst of spring flowers: azalea, dogwood, lilac, iris, jasmine, and soon roses.