静か

Forest house and Nakano Twin Towers on my walk to the station

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中野駅までの静かな路地は、歩きやすいです。

The house with the orange vine, aka forest house, is where I think Totoro is hanging out with tanuki. This quiet alley rarely has cars, and it makes for a calm walk to the station.

School kids in a gaming trance on a station platform. Is this a “still city”?

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昨年末から、オランダの「Still City」という東京についての研究とアートのプロジェクトに参加しています。「Still City」の主題は成長後の都市です。中学生たちが電車のホームでDSで遊んでいる写真は、静かな都市のイメージの一つだと思います。東京は巨大なのに、公共の場所は平穏です。安全なので、包括的です。

Since late last year, I’ve been involved with a research and art project called Still City, based in Amsterdam. Over 25 Dutch urbanists, designers, and artists came to Tokyo to create a guide book exploring the idea of Tokyo as a Still City. The main meaning of “still city” is post-growth.

This image of two school kids lost in a daze of handheld gaming on a train station platform also make me think of a still city. Tokyo is a “still” mega-city that is remarkably quiet despite the crowds of people, and with few exceptions, disarmingly safe. Tokyo is also a place where public functions, from transit and streets to bathing and swimming, are clean, efficient, and open to everyone.

Snowfall behind the dormant green curtain

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先月、雪がたくさん降りました。外に人が少なかったから、都市が静かになった。

A heavy snowfall last month briefly slowed down the city and produced an unusual quiet. I loved seeing how fast it accumulated.

Forest path in Shinjuku connects department stores, Golden Gai, and male host zone

この森の路地は、新宿のデパートやゴルデン街やホスト街をつなげます。静かなので、きれいです。

I love this path that starts at Shinjuku Dori, near the department stores, cuts between Kabukicho and Golden Gai, and ends up at the start of the male host zone in eastern Shinjuku. I wish all my city walking could be done on this narrow green path with mature trees.

Lotus flowers growing in buckets at Araiyakushi temple in Nakano

バケツの中で育っている蓮は新井薬師神社にあります。夏の風が吹いて人が少ないとき、ここは静かです。

These lotus flowers look so perfect at night I had to check that they were real. It was charming to see them blowing in the warm summer wind in front of the main temple at Araiyakushi in Nakano. I was even more surprised to realize that this mini-field was growing in a dozen over-sized buckets. Below you can see the entrance to the temple from the street, with lanterns and gates.

Cherry blossoms rising above giant buddha in Shinjuku Ni Chome temple

この新宿の二丁目のお寺は静かで広いところです。ここの桜が人を引き付けます。仏陀の赤い服はよだれかけみたいです。見ていると、お腹が減ってきます。

This temple in Shinjuku’s Ni Chome is a quiet open space in a crowded part of the city. It’s a great juxtaposition of the sacred and ordinary, nature and the built environment.

This day, the cherry tree in bloom seems to have enticed more people to enter. I am always charmed by the red cloth bibs place on buddha and ojizo statues. The bibs make me think the statues are preparing for a meal.

Snowy cherry tree outside elementary school. Heavy snow makes Tokyo oddly quiet.

大雪のときに、東京は異常に静かになります。車も人の数も少なくなります。この桜は近所の小学校の入口で、もう一ヶ月くらいで咲くはず。

Less than one week later, it feels like a spring afternoon. Tokyo becomes oddly quiet during heavy snowfall. Fewer cars, fewer people outside. This cherry tree outside my local elementary school will be blooming in just one more month.