Former support beam, made of redwood, is featured in garden seating re-design

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庭には家の中にあった柱の一つが置いてありましたが、それを座れるベンチにしました。重いレッドウッドの柱が浮いているみたいに見えます。「レッドウッド」は「セコイア」とも呼ばれます。カリフォルニアにたくさんある木で、虫やカビに強いから、建築に使われます。

In the thirteen years that I have taken care of this San Francisco garden, the former support beam from the basement has always been part of the landscape. This visit, I excavated below the beam, so that it’s floating and providing a place to sit and face the kitchen steps. The home was built in 1907, after the big 1906 earthquake.

View towards Koenji from hallway makes me wonder where are the trees?

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高円寺の方角の景色はきれいだけど、木が見えませんね。

The opposite side of the apartment from our balcony is a hallway with an enormous view of inner west Tokyo, including the Chuo and Sobu line trains. There’s a serious shortage of trees and open space.

Double Face condo billboard offers city and nature, in image only

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家の近くに、「ダブルフィイス」というビルが建てられています。看板のまんなかに、モデルさんがいて、背景の半分は建物で、もう半分には森があります。実際には、木は1つも植えないみたいです。ところで “double-faced” は英語で「偽善」という意味もあります。

I assume Double Face has no specific meaning in Japanese. It’s hard to imagine the phrase being used in marketing when confidence and reputation are at stake.

Near my house is another new construction, Double Face in katakana or just Face Face in English. The concept is city and nature. But from what I see the building itself will contribute almost zero natural benefits to the sidewalk or community. Not even a single tree outside the mid-rise building. Again, I can sort of understand the concept, but the execution as a billboard and as a property leave much to be desired.

At this point in construction, what they’re offering the public is a vending machine, one of many drink machines along this boulevard.

Camphor tree gets mossy in Izu, and stands tall in central Tokyo

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最近、クスノキという巨大な木について知りました。中伊豆で見たものは、幹に苔がいっぱい生えていました。東京のオフィス・タワーの前にも、もっと乾燥したクスノキを見つけました。とても素敵だと思います。

I recently noticed this giant evergreen tree called camphor (or kusunoki in Japanese). A single, well cared for tree can easily become a local landmark. The above tree is in a mountaineous area of Izu. Below in front of a glass and metal tower in Shiba, across from Tokyo Tower.

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The loquat tree by the Royal Host is full of almost ripe fruit

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お店で枇杷が5個で700円で売られているのを見たばかりです。JR中野駅の南に、大きい枇杷の木があって、フルーツがほとんど熟しています。食べられると思います。

I just saw a small plate of 5 loquats for 700 yen at the store. On the south side of Nakano’s JR station, next to the Royal Host on Nakano Dori, there’s an enormous loquat tree full of fruit. It’s right above the pedestrian path, and seems to be free for the eating.

Showa window visible through the fruit trees

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歩行者路で、昭和時代風の窓が柿と梨の木の後ろに見えます。中野で。

I pass this house frequently on the way to the station. The metal fence is truly ugly, but somehow from this angle, there is a beauty and mystery to this old home. They’re growing persimmons and pears.

Unharvested persimmons and big moon over Nakano

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日没に、収穫されなかった柿と大きな月が、同じ木みたいです。

These persimmon fruits are well past ripe, and just clinging to the branches. At dusk, the moon seems to be the same size as the fruit.

An endless cityscape of houses with minimal tree canopy

東京ではあまり木が見えない。背が低い家がつくる模様はクモの巣のようです。

Tokyo is super dense. I love how so few of the houses are lined up in this irregular web of small streets.

Convenience store landscape lights up the evening with coconut palm tree

たくさんの外国人は、日本のデザインが上品でシンプルだと信じています。天皇陛下の別荘がある葉山という町で、コンビニの前にある大きい電気のヤシの木を見ました。

Everyone says how Hayama is where the Emperor has a summer home. No one mentions the Hayama Lawson’s giant, light-up coconut tree. Public landscapes reveal that design in Japan is often neither minimal nor elegant.

Scenic combination of Showa window and Chinese parasol tree with pods

昭和時代の窓と大きいアオギリの木は素敵です。今、薄緑色の花がたくさんついています。東京にはもっと古い建物と熟成した木がいります。

Near our apartment is this older house with a deciduous tree that fills out in the summer. I love the bunches of light green pods it produces. Sadly there are not enough old houses or old trees in Tokyo. When you see this combination in Tokyo, it’s at once nostalgic and perhaps futuristic.

Ever resourceful Jason at Flora Grubb Gardens identified it by photo as a Firmiana simplex, Chinese parasol tree in English or aogiri (アオギリ) in Japanese. A quick visit to Wikipedia taught me that it’s an ornamental tree related to cacao. It’s within the same plant family as cotton, okra, hibiscus, and abutilon.

Tokyo Tower at sunset, rising above thick canopy of trees

今年はスカイツリーが注目を集めているが、東京タワーもまだきれいな建物です。 芝公園から見ると、この素敵な木の上からそびえています。

Sky Tree is getting all the attention this year. But Tokyo Tower remains a beautiful structure. I especially like seeing it from leafy Shiba Koen with its magnificent trees.