Planning a small garden at a new house in Nakano

nakano_new_house_landscaping
駅の途中、最近できた家の外に、小さな庭を作るようです。楽しみです。

I was so happy to see that the new neighbors are putting in a small garden. They built their house on a lot that used to have weeds and summer-time bats, after holding a Shinto ceremony. I am excited to see what they plant.

Seniors exercise in park in early morning with NHK radio exercise program

elderly_NHKradio_stretch_sugiyamakoen_shinnakano

日曜日の朝早く、駅の近くの公園で、お年寄りの方達が一緒にラジオ体操をしています。

In the very early morning on a Sunday, these seniors are enjoying the local park for exercise and community.

This lovely shiso plant is growing in a small crack in the sidewalk

shiso_sidewalk_4seasongarden_nakano
駅の途中にある小さな庭はいつの季節でも楽しいですが、そばの舗装の亀裂からシソが育っています。おいしそうです。

The four seasons micro garden I often pass on the way to the station has a new summer addition. Shiso is growing from a crack. Almost all the other plants are in pots, so I wonder if this was planted or just sprung up naturally. It looks delicious!

Four season Nakano garden under snow

snow_iishi_nakano
駅に行く途中にある狭い庭は、どの季節もきれいです。今回、大雪の下で、魅力的です。

Ishii-san’s garden is interesting in every season. Here it sits under heavy snowfall. His white camellias survived and were still flowering when the snow melted.

Tanuki arrives in Azabujuban and stores his bike in his scrotum

麻布十番に来たときに、タヌキは自分の大きな睾丸の中に自転車を保管しています。駅の辺りをきれいにしています。

Tanuki doesn’t clutter the Azabujuban station area with his bike. He stores his bike in his giant scrotum.

Rice field at sunset in Onjuku, Chiba, near the ocean

駅のホームで、東急の電車を待っているときに、この田んぼの写真をとりました。濃い緑の映像を東京に持って来るといいと思いました。

I took this image on the Onjuku station platform, waiting to take the express train back to Tokyo. After spending the afternoon on the beach, the sight of the deep green rice fields was a happy image to bring back to the city.

Miniature four season garden extends into the street

駅に行く途中で、石井さんの庭をいつも見ます。小さな場所なのに、伝統的な四季の植物がたくさんあります。路地に植木鉢をおいて、車がゆっくりすぎるようにしているそうです。
This miniature four seasons garden I also included in the Plant Journal article. I pass it almost every day on my walk to the station, and I am enchanted that such a small space can accomodate almost all of the classic Japanese garden plants, including bushes and trees. Ishii-san also explained that he places the flower pots in the street to slow automobile traffic. A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of Daisuke Hamada taking a photo of Ishii-san.

A gathering of tanukis and other animals inside Yurakucho station

.@jessmantellと@a_small_labと「動物建築」の打ち合わせの後で、有楽町駅でタヌキの集まりを発見して、楽しかったです。日常の風景を変えられる自由が、東京の働くひとにも住民にもあります。

After an “animal architecture” work meeting with @jessmantell and @a_small_lab, it was a fun surprise to see this gathering of tanukis and their frog and turtle friends in the Yurakucho station.

It’s not uncommon to spot plants and flowers in the Tokyo train and subway stations that appear to be the work of staff seeking to cheer up their environment, even their bath rooms.

I like seeing how Tokyo workers, along with residents, have such freedom to decorate and improve their everyday landscapes.

Nakano station remodel connects riders to 1970s Sun Mall

駅の新しい改札口がオープンしたときに、大きい花のディスプレイを送るのは、たぶん日本だけだと思います。JR中野駅北口のために、桜祭り協会もサンモールの協会も花を送りました。中野駅、おめでとう。

I love how there are huge flower displays celebrating the opening of the remodeled Nakano JR north exit. It’s a commercial tradition, extending to the opening of ramen shops and bars, too. These huge flower displays are from the Sun Plaza merchants association and the Nakano sakura festival organizers. I hope the redesigned plaza opens soon with a lot of new trees and plants!

Plum bonsai in tiny but abundant home garden

梅の木の盆栽が小さくて豊富な庭に置かれました。中野駅の途中にあります。植木屋さんは季節と植物をよく知っています。植物が植木鉢で育っているので、いろいろな楽しみのために移動しやすいです。

This plum bonsai is part of a tiny but incredibly abundant garden also on the way to Nakano station. This gardener clearly knows about plants and seasons. Because almost all his plants are in pots, they can be moved around for maximum enjoyment.

Plum blossoms on pedestrian street on cold February night

東京に四季に慣れてきました。カリフォルニア州には乾季と雨季があります。不思議なことに、サンフランシスコの乾燥した冬の日はたまに霧でいっぱいの夏の日のより暖かいです。日本の四季は米国の東海岸のと似ています。子供時代を過ごした場所です。
最近、東京は寒すぎるので、冬眠しています。毎年の二月にこの梅の木が咲くのを楽しみにしています。中野駅の途中の歩行者道で見ることができます。
In Tokyo I am getting re-adjusted to four seasons. In California there’s a wet and dry season. Oddly, in San Francisco, many dry winter days are warmer than the fog-bound summer. Tokyo’s four seasons are like the Atlantic Coast of the US. I have childhood memories of this area.
It’s been so cold in Tokyo recently that I am hibernating. Each year I look forward to seeing this plum blossom in February. You can find this tree along a pedestrian path leading to Nakano station.

Year round flowers in Tokyo

東京には四季があるけれど、冬も花がよく見られます。駅に行く途中で、この白色のツバキの前を通ります。庭が小さいのに、いっぱい植物を育てていて、どの季節もきれいです。

I like how Tokyo has four seasons, but even in winter there are flowers. This well trimmed camellia is part of a wonderful residential garden that I pass on my way to the JR station. The space is small, but the gardener has dozens of species that are attractive in all season.

A freeway runs through Odaiba

お台場の駅から浜に行く途中で、この大きな高速道路を渡らなければなりません。空いた所有地のほうが開発されたものより多いです。だから、出入り口のふたつが放棄されて、そこに植物が育っています。浜からの景色は楽しいです。港やスカイラインやレインボーブリッジや小型の自由の女神が見えます。この組み合わせはちょっと奇妙です。

Exiting the subway station in Odaiba, the way to the famed “beach” with city view includes walking past vast parking lots and then over this eight lane freeway.

What’s amazing about this view is that in addition to the enormous freeway, there are abandoned ramps on both sides, that are gradually being reclaimed by plants. Is land so value-less that this waste is considered appropriate?

There are still more empty than developed parcels on Odaiba, an urban development project with mixed results. The focus on freeways, parking lots, and chain restaurants and stores often makes it feel like a generic exurban landscape.

I hear that it is a popular place for dates. But I’ve been there only three times in as many years. Most recently I was there to get a ride to Umi no Mori for a volunteer tree planting day (more on that later). But a few extra hours gave me my first taste of Odaiba itself.

Once across the freeway and past the mall, there are some beautiful public spaces including an artificial beach. There are views of the port, the Tokyo skyline with the Rainbow Bridge, and some odd built decor that includes a mini Statue of Liberty on land.

Sunflowers blooming in fall outside JR station

十月にヒマワリを見たから、驚いた。日本に来たオランダの友達によると、アムステルダムはもう冬みたいだそうです。駅周りに小さい森を作るといいと思います。今のところ、このヒマワリたちが素敵な気晴らしになっています。

I was surprised to see these sunflowers blooming in late October. Dutch visitors @tanemaki2011 reminded me that in Europe it’s already early winter, with temperatures already reaching 0 degrees. For an Amsterdam resident, Tokyo fall is like summer yet better.

There’s currently a lot of construction around the Nakano JR station, with new bus areas, exits, and plazas to support an enormous high-rise office building and tall residential towers. I hope they will radically rethink the public space around the station. It’s the center of communal life, yet now mostly revolves around autos, asphalt, and concrete. It would be great to see a livelier meeting place.

A mini-forest would be inviting. In the meantime, this small field of sunflowers is a welcome distraction.