Mini apples in flower arrangement


Does your local florist include mini-apples in their arrangements? It’s very common now in Tokyo, and I think it adds a fun element. This wall vase I made at Shiho ceramic studio.

More unknown fruit


These fruit, too, also quickly appeared and then they were gone. The short tree is extremely thorny, and the fruit look like apples. I wonder if they are edible.

Thanks to Janet at Suiseki Art for the help with yesterday’s Chinese quince or “karin” in Japanese.

Studying firefly habitat in Gunma with a Tokyo middle school





なかのビレジ」というホテルに泊まりました。内側は和風モダンで、外側は山の一部 みたいです。湯名な坂倉建築研究所はホテルを作りました。


Tokyo University of Agriculture Professor Suzuki is planning a firefly habitat at a junior high school. Each year, teachers and students from the Tokyo school visit Gunma to study fireflies. This year I was also invited.

Fireflies need clean water and darkness. According to Professor Suzuki, creating habitat in the city also requires a “social design.” The temple, cemetary, and senior center near the school are also invited to participate.

When we arrived at Kawaba-mura, the school girls weeded a rice field and played with frogs and crabs in the creek. Even though they are city kids, the students are very brave.

At night, we saw Genji fireflies and Heiki fireflies. There are a lot of fireflies on the edge between the forest and the rice field.

We stayed at a hotel called “Nakano Village” which on the inside is Japanese modern style, and on the outside the building looks like part of the hillside. It was designed by the famous Sakakura Associates.

Kawaba mura has many apple orchards, and recently they are also growing blueberries.

The trip made me think of the following:

  • How can gardens be created in multiple connected sites?
  • How can all city and country kids learn about each other’s environments and lives?
  • How can cities begin to value darkness as essential to their vitality?
  • How can kids and adults create habitat and support wildlife where they study, work, play, and live?

New Apple prototype store to have trees inside

An interesting article about Apple’s new prototype store in Palo Alto, the center of Silicon Valley. It will have a transparent glass facade and trees growing inside. According to the developer, “the store is a commons for the applicant’s community to gather.” Apple is a global trend leader in retail space.

I like the “commons” image of cutting edge retail space as a community space, and the design concept that trees will make people feel more relaxed, more likely to linger, and more ready to learn. The architect is Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, who designed NYC’s Fifth Avenue store, seen above. Maybe the trees will be apple trees?