Old housing “danchi” has rare mix of gardens and wildness in posh Aoyama

青山団地には、珍しい庭と荒地が混ざっています。ここに来ると、いつも@a_small_lab を思い出します。

Always reminds me of @a_small_lab

Bicycle coffee brings Oakland business to Tokyo’s farmers market


I like the simplicity of the concept and logo: hand-roasted coffee from sustainable farms, delivered by bicycle. I love the gear motif in the pour-through ceramic. The concept is from Oakland, California.

This tiny coffee trailer comes with its own mini-roaster



At Aoyama UNU farmers market. The coffee tastes good, too.

What fruit is in season in Japan’s winter? Fragrant yuzu.


日本の冬は、どんなフルーツがシーズンでしょう? 良い香りのユズです。レモネードやドレッシングやお風呂に使います。特別な味と香りがします。

There’s giant ones and small ones at this Aoyama UNU farmers market stall. It’s good for lemonade, salad dressing, and bath water.

This farmers market seller stands behind his product


I like to shock Japanese friends by skipping rice, sometimes. This Aoyama farmers market seller clearly has another opinion.

Where the soup comes from. The weekend farmers market.



This fall I started going to the farmers market every week. Usually by bike, and sometimes meeting my friend Luis. This beautifully arranged stall is where I stop first to pick up turnips, carrots with their leaves still attached, green and red peppers, yuzu, lemons, celery, and sweet potatoes. At United Nations University farmers market, in Aoyama, which is open every Saturday and Sunday.

Gorgeous lettuce shows edibles can be very ornamental in small spaces


How do you have room to grow food on a small balcony? I particularly love edibles that are also super ornamental. This lettuce looks and tastes great! It’s from the United Nations University farmers market stall that specializes in heirloom vegetables. It’s been easy to grow during winter.

Pomegranate fruit getting ripe in small Aoyama shrine


This tiny shrine in crowded Aoyama, next to the Comme des Garcons flagship store, is full of trees, including a mature pomegranate tree. I must remember to come back and try one of these fruits.

A boot made of flowers celebrates Dr Martens opening in Aoyama


Store, bar, and even ramen shop openings often feature sidewalk flower displays. I love the inventiveness of this special pink and red boot for the Dr Marten store opening in Aoyama.

Lush green wall in posh Aoyama shopping district


Walking to meet a friend for lunch, I passed this beautiful, lush green wall in Aoyama. Is this the wall designed by Frenchman Patrick Blanc? There seem to be several types of stores here, plus a faux church wedding mill in the back.

Twilight cherry blossoms at Aoyama cemetery


The road through Aoyama Cemetery is lined with gorgeous old cherry trees. I went there for AQ‘s office hanami party, and on the way home I took this photo at twilight.

Streets are icy. Please don’t slip!


In Tokyo, it rarely snows, and when it does, it’s usually gone within minutes or at most a day. It’s been super cold recently, and there’s been ice on the roads for some time now. Please be careful on bike or on foot.