西新宿

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

kanda_river_nishishinjuku_contrasts

「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.

Yamamomo tree near Tokyo Metropolitan Government building

ヤマモモというフルーツの味はどんなでしょうか。このきれいな実のなる木はよく公園と道路で育っています。

Commonly called Japanese bayberry, this fruit tree near Tokyo Metropolitan Government was full of yamamomo fruits. This tree is apparently often planted along roads and in parks. I love how the fruit is at once edible and very ornamental.

Real estate image of forest doesn’t match surroundings

最近、贅沢な不動産開発が自然のイメージを広告に使っています。広告の中の田舎の森や現場から離れた風景を見ていると妙な 気持ちになります。本当の都市の森を作れば、不動産の価格はもっと上がります。西新宿で都市の森はどんな風に見えるだろう。

I’ve noticed recently more and more real estate advertising at construction sites and at recently completed buildings that show images of forests or famous urban landscapes that are nowhere near the location. A new luxury development rising at Jingumae 3 chome #37, the site of the former Harajuku Danchi, shows a photo of the ginko trees turning yellow on Icho Namaiki (いちょう並木).

Above is Nishi Shinjuku, which has several new office towers and new apartments on Ome Kaido, towards Nakano Sakaue. Following regulations, these buildings have planted street trees. But it is comical to see the image of a path meandering through a forest that’s half way up the new apartment building.

On the one hand, it’s good to see city people still dream of forests. On the other hand, these wealthy developers and the City of Tokyo regulators could increase the value of their properties by actually turning this marketing image into a reality.

What could an urban forest look like at this intersection?

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.