自然

Wide canal packed with with boats, bridges, elevated highways, and a trace of pre-industrial Edo

shibaura_ichome_canal_showa_cluster

この運河の景色は素敵ですね。戦後の建築の歴史が見えます。幅が広い運河は産業革命前の江戸時代を呼び起こします。自然な感じがします。都市は有機体だと思い出させてくれます。大きい都市はいつも少しずつが変わっていきます。芝浦一丁目で。

I love this canal view, the layers of visible history in buildings, and the wide water that evokes pre-industrial Edo life. Even the regrettable additions, like the elevated freeways, show how Tokyo constantly evolves not through great design but by continual addition to what was already there.

There is so much transportation infrastructure on this wide canal in Shibaura Ichome. I also love how the small post-war house at the corner has been built up over the years with additions, and then surrounded by a taller modernist office and more recent, larger buildings that are more about function than form. There’s something very calming about seeing this large expanse of water, and a view of how Tokyo became layered with new structures over time.

Atami, a nearby onsen town uses nature characters to appeal to tourists

bender_atami_cartoon_sign

熱海で、自然をモチーフにしたキャラが観光客を呼ぼうとしています。新幹線で、東京から一時間未満で来れます。車のない若い人を引き寄せて、町づくりができるでしょうか。

These woodchucks with their ice cream cones and hair ribbons are irresistible. I also like the heavily shadowed angel fish which decorates a car parking tower also sponsored by “Happy & Sunlight” pachinko. With the ease of public transportation from Tokyo, I imagine Atami is ripe for reinvention for the post-automobile young people.

atami_parking_tower_happy_sunlight_shading

Tokyo Fruit Layers article, in Italian and English, included in Limno’s 76 Libbre e XVI Soldi

最近イタリアで出版された本に、私たちの「東京フルーツ・レイアー」という短い記事が出ました。図表と写真も一緒に載っています。この本はベネチアの砦についての記事が中心ですが、全体の話題は、文化と自然が重なる層についてです。「東京フルーツ・レイアー」の日本語のバーションもあります

My Tokyo Local Fruits partners Chris Berthelsen and Jessica Mantell and I responded to an open call from Limno, an independent Italian research center that investigates landscapes. They included us in their elegant book 76 Pounds and XVI Coins (76 Libbre e XVI Soldi) that investigates the cultural and natural layers of Venice’s Forte Marghera, built by Austrian and French invaders. Our article on Tokyo Local Fruit ends the book.

Iconic New York City public spaces

ニューヨークのハイラインという新しい公園もセントラルパークも象徴的な公共空間です。自然と都市の関係がうまくできていて、気分がいいです。1934年から1980年まで使われていた電車の高架線路を公園にしたのが、ハイラインです。

On a recent trip to New York City, I took my film camera to some iconic parks. Above is the reservoir in Central Park, a place for exercise, leisure, and path between Upper East Side and Upper West Side.

Below is the High Line, a more recent park created from a dis-used elevated train line west of Chelsea. I love how in both environments, you can enjoy nature and feel connected to an urban landscape.

Palms are unexpected feature of Tokyo gardens

自然に生えているシュロというヤシが大好きです。東京の中で、ヤシはちょっと意外で、すてきだと思います。

I love the semi-wild shuro palm, and how it pops up unexpectedly in Tokyo gardens. This is at the “forest house” in Nakano, looking up towards the sky. Utility lines are also a common Tokyo landscape element.

Interview in the Japan Times about Tokyo Green Space

Japan Timesという日本で一番大きい英語新聞に、Tokyo Green Space のインタビューが出ました。丸井の屋上の庭でインタビューが行われて、ちょうどその時、店員さんが芝生に掃除機をかけていました。都市生活と自然が完璧にミックスしてました。

The Japan Times, Japan’s largest English language newspaper, published an interview about Tokyo Green Space online and in print. The interview took place on Marui’s roof garden, and when we met there, a staff member was vacuuming the lawn. A perfect mix of city life and gardening. I hope you find the interview interesting.

Here’s the print version of the newspaper, where the blogroll interview is positioned on the “Techno Times” page. You can click to make it larger.

Rough Guide to Tokyo travel book cites Tokyo Green Space

.@skidgel が、新しい英語の東京の旅行ガイドに Tokyo Green Space がのせられたことがわかりました。観光客も東京で、自然を体験してもらえるかもしれないので、うれしいです。

Thanks to @skidgel, I saw that the current edition of The Rough Guide to Tokyo travel book features Tokyo Green Space on the second page of “what to do” under the heading of “towards a greener Tokyo.” It’s great to see that visitors are interested in experiencing nature in Tokyo.

Bromeliads add easy indoor color in winter

もう一つ、植物の室内撮影。アナナスが大好きです。簡単に自然の色を室内に添えてくれます。長いあいだ持ちます。冬にはとても素敵だと思います。

More indoor plant portrait photography.

I like bromeliads, which brings color indoors easily. This one still looks good after I bought it in November. They are especially lovely in winter. The white ceramic I made at Shiho ceramic studio.

Abandoned housing project is nature island of fruit and foliage

神宮前の路地を歩いているときに、廃墟の団地を発見しました。おそらくここに高級マンションが建てられます。この風景が破壊されるまでは、自然の島のようです。柿や紅葉や野生生物がいます。

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.

Ceramic flowerpots at Shiho student show

この写真は史火陶芸教室の展示会です。盆栽植木鉢と普通の植木鉢と壁用の花瓶を発表しました。黒粘土と赤粘土の上にかけた白い釉薬が好きです。自然で中間色だからです。来年、もっとエアプラントを入れた小さな植木鉢を作りたいです。

These photos are from the Shiho ceramic show last month. I exhibited bonsai pots, regular pots, and wall vases. I like white glaze on black and red clay because it seems earthy and neutral. Next year I want to make more bonsai pots, and use them with air plants.

Dutch embassy opens its doors for Culture Day

文化の日にオランダ大使館が一般公開されました。大使公邸と庭を訪ねるためにたくさんの人が来ました。東京の中で、たくさんの庭と自然が通常は住民に開かれていません。オランダ大使館の庭は和風と洋風の特徴が混ざっています。よく手に入れされた庭にも、自然に生えたシュロというヤシもあります。シュロというヤシは、江戸時代に多くの用途がありました。オランダ大使館を散歩しながら、長い貿易と鎖国の時代を想像しました。

On Japan’s Culture Day, the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo opened the doors to its magnificent ambassador’s residence and garden. Hundreds of locals took advantage of this rare inside look. It reminded me that many of Tokyo’s greatest green spaces are in private hands or inaccessible to the public like the Imperial Palace.

It’s fantastic that the Netherlands embassy opens their diplomatic outpost to the public twice a year. The house was initially designed in the 1880s and rebuilt after the 1923 earthquake. Although some say the style is “colonial,” the building reminds me of upper class residences in the United State’s northeast. From some angles, I could imagine Gatsby throwing a large garden party.

The garden is a fantastic mix of towering pines and other trees, a pleasantly irregular lawn, and a mix of traditional Japanese garden plants with plenty of imports like roses. Within this well maintained garden, I was pleased to see Tokyo’s native palm tree, the shuro, which easily self-sows and carries a history of being used for centuries in domestic life, as brooms, roofing, and sandals.

The visit also reminded me of the centuries of Dutch-Japanese history. This year I visited Dejima in Nagasaki, the sole foreign trading post during the centuries when Japan remained otherwise closed to the world. The visit conjured scenes of trading ships, cultural emissaries, and globalization in its earlier stages.

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.