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.
My balcony garden is starting to perk up for spring, but this persimmon bonsai is still dormant. I remember the day I brought it back two years ago. My neighbor asked me what I have, and then gave me a sad look. “You know it takes eight years for persimmons to fruit, don’t you?” she asked me. I am more patient than I look.
Walking in the back streets in Jingumae, I came across this fantastic abandoned housing project. Soon the lot will no doubt be scraped and redeveloped into luxury residences with minimal landscaping. Until then, it’s an island of nature, full of persimmons, fall foliage, and wildlife.
There are many urban sights in Tokyo that are jarring to newcomers, perhaps none more so than the giant electricity poles. Well, there’s also garbage incinerators with tall chimneys in every neighborhood, elevated freeways, endless rows of fluorescent lights stacked high on exposed residential hallways, and the zeal for paving over almost all surfaces.
This photo was taken near Shin Koenji where the elevated main power line crosses Itsukaichi Kaido, a road that dates back to Edo and maybe earlier. You can just make out a silhouetted ripe persimmon fruit. Sometimes these unattractive elements create their own rhythm and patterns in urban life.
Many foreigners are surprised just how full of persimmons Tokyo is in the fall. Maybe you’d miss them if you stick to inside the newest malls and corporate developments. But it must be one of the most popular residential trees, and a true marker of fall.
This one is behind Shiho ceramic studio, and the funny story is that my in law teachers say that this year there aren’t so many fruit. Despite being an off year in a two year cycle, there’s actually still quite a lot of fruit. My mother in law is a great cook, and she uses these fall persimmons and also small sour plums in summer for food she shares with students and friends. She didn’t plant these trees but has gotten a lot of use from them in the past ten years.
Some persimmon trees produce fruit that’s best eaten raw, others dried, or cooked into jam or other sweets. For me it’s an acquired taste, but seeing these orange globes dangling across Tokyo is undeniably beautiful.
I am a big fan of espaliered trees. By pruning a tree into a 2D shape, it fits into the dense urban landscape. Here’s a mature, espaliered persimmon tree in front of a public school in Aoyama. I wonder if the kids will eat the fruit.
I am going to be posting this week different fall fruit trees I’ve seen over the past few weeks. What is your favorite urban fruit tree?
I am surprised to see Tokyo fruit in December:
cherries (crab apples) and baby persimmons on a major boulevard.
I did not expect to see
cherries crab apples and mini-persimmons in Tokyo during December, and particularly not on the major boulevard near my home. In the small strip of land between the sidewalk and the road, someone has created a flower pot garden that includes these winter fruits. I wonder if the gardener is a shop owner, shop employee, or apartment building resident. Thanks to Twitter’s @hizaga for first spotting them, and @JasonDewees for identifying them.