日本庭園

Leopard plant makes me think we have a damp creek on our Tokyo balcony

tsuwabuki_balcony_fall
秋の花では、日本庭園のツワブキが大好きです。ツワブキのおかげで、東京のベランダは小川のある湿地みたいです。

One of my favorite Japanese fall flowers is “leopard plant,” called tsuwabuki (ツワブキ) in Japanese. Many traditional gardens use it, and it looks like it could be growing wild by the stream.

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.

The Shuro palm is Tokyo’s most loved weed. You can find it in formal gardens and back streets.

shuro_backyard_palm_nakano
日本庭園から路地の庭まで、東京のどこにでも、自然に生えるシュロというヤシの木があります。手間がいらない木です。
From humble backyards to formal gardens, it seems Tokyo-ites cannot resist the self-sowing Shuro palm tree. This fan palm was used for making strong rope in Edo times, and its resilience and lovability makes it visible almost everywhere in Tokyo.

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

Insect skirt made of rice stalks decorates pine trees at traditional Japanese gardens

insect_skirt_hamarikyu_pine

日本庭園で見かける、こも巻きという藁の腹巻きは、季節を思わせる、きれいな手法ですが、実際は、松を守ることに効果的じゃないそうです。悪い虫を食べる良い虫も駆除してしまうからです。皇居の庭では、この手法は、もう使わないそうです。

This rice stalk skirt is a beautiful and seasonal Japanese garden craft. The intent is to naturally attract and remove harmful insects, although now it seems that some famous gardens no longer use it because it traps both harmful and beneficial insects.

Forest house flanked by modern stucco and “twin tower” high rise

毎日この森の家をすごいと思います。隣の漆喰の家がつまらなく見えます。通りの向こうには伝統的な日本庭園があります。背景に、新しい中野のマンション「ツインタワー」が見えます。

I like how unlike the “forest” house and its bare stucco neighbor are. Across the street are a few traditional Japanese gardens. At the end of the road is the new, supposedly sold-out, twin tower high rise near Nakano JR station. I like the contrast in shapes and styles, and also in the intensity of human effort versus bio-organic growth.

“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.”

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.

Woody and stylized nature at Shinjuku Gyoen

どんな理由があっても、新宿御苑を通り抜けるのが大好きです。植物と景色が多いです。モミジが池に映っていて、人のいない自然みたい。竹で作られた柵があるから、人が作った場所だと分かりますが。近くに日本庭園があります。園芸家のおかげで、様式化されています。両方の景色が好きだから、一緒に見るのはすばらしです。

With any excuse, I like to cut across Shinjuku Gyoen. There are so many different plants and landscapes to see there. I like the contrast of these photos. Above late summer maple trees are lush green, and reflected in a pond. Only the wooden edge suggests that it is a garden and not a natural wonder. Below is the Japanese garden, with a path through the pond and gardeners hard at work styling nature into a very specific shape. I love seeing both woody and stylized versions so close to each other.

Hayashi Fumiko house and garden wonderfully preserved in Shinjuku

東京にはあまり古い家と庭がありません。ほんの75年前に建てられたのですが、新宿区にある林芙美子の家は訪ねる価値があります。大江戸線で行けますが、上品な建築と日本庭園は京都みたいです。入場料は安いです。よく維持されています。

Most of Tokyo is efficient, dense, and forward-looking. It’s great to travel in the city in a setting that evokes other places and times. Hayashi Fumiko was a famous woman novelist of the first half of the 20th century, and this is the home she lived in for the last ten years of her life.

Although the house is less than 75 years old, it evokes a very different Tokyo with its spacious garden. It’s a wonderful time capsule that has been well maintained. Admission is only 150 yen, and in summer the ticket seller offers mosquito spray and hand fans.

Omotesando Koffee has perfect traditional Japanese garden

隠れたところにある『Omotesando Koffee』というカフェに、小さくて完璧な日本庭園があります。ムクゲやモミジやアジサイのような伝統的な植物はたくましくて、育てやすいです。歴史もあります。コーヒーはとても美味しいです。

Minimal and superb Omotesando Koffee is a modular cube inside an old Omotesando house. It’s supposed to last one year, after which the building may be “reformed” as the Japanese call it.

In addition to delicious coffee in a nearly hidden spot, Omotesando Koffee has the most perfect Japanese garden with two benches for seating. I love the stone path, old light fixtures, and the very Tokyo odd mix of wood, bamboo, and the ubiquitous cinder block.

It’s a very small garden, with many traditional and resilient Japanese plants, including hollyhock, maple, and hydrangea. Worth finding if you’re in the area. Hollyhock is becoming my favorite late summer flower.

For those far away, I have included an image of the sign outside (it looks like a black frame), and the clever way they turn standard paper bags into a lovely and minimal branded object.

A walk through Harajuku backstreets on a hot summer day

原宿の路地を歩くと、いろいろな庭を見ることができます。おしゃれな建物のグリーンカーテンや戦前からある伝統的な日本庭園もあります。私が好きな庭はシンプルで、たくましくて、さりげないです。大きな青山団地でトマトとゴーヤを見つけました。

With @luismendo visiting from Amsterdam, my Tokyo DIY Gardening pal Chris and I took him on a tour of Harajuku backstreets looking at gardens, eating tonkatsu, and stopping for some excellent cold coffee.

Harajuku is fun because the residential area has houses and gardens from all or almost all the past eight decades. The Harajuku gardens that appeal to me are similar to ones elsewhere in Tokyo for their simplicity and easy adaptation to urban life. Some results are clearly unintentional.

My photos include a three story garden of ivy and bamboo that covers one house and provides a buffer with its neighbor, a sleek concrete building’s balcony green curtains that are just starting to fill out on two floors, a blue flowering vine that somehow became a giant bush, a tiny entrance garden outside a pre-war house that has been converted into the very elegant Omotesando Coffee.

We also explored the enormous Danchi that between 246 road and Harajuku. This sprawling bauhaus-like public housing project has a wonderfully chaotic and varied set of gardens created by generations of residents. In July, we spotted lots of tomatoes, vertical bitter melon, and these purple gloves on top of an ad hoc garden support.

Giving a talk at the Portland Japanese Garden

ポートランドの日本庭園で、「都市グリーン」というプログラムに参加します。5月26日、私は「東日本大地震後の東京グリーン・スペース」の発表をします。24日は、品品の小林先生が盆栽ワークショップを教えます。26日は、小林先生の盆栽の展覧会が催されます。

I am very excited to travel to the Portland Japanese Garden next week as part of their Urban Green program. My good friend Kobyashi Kenji, of Tokyo’s Sinajina, will be leading a bonsai-making workshop on May 24, and opening his bonsai exhibit on the 26th. As part of the opening, I will give a talk on Greening Tokyo after Tohoku.

It’s a great honor to participate in the excellent cultural programming at the Portland Japanese Garden, and to explore connections between two global cities whose residents are reinventing urban life for the 21st century. If you know anyone in Portland, please let them know about these events! Thank you.