cat

Air plants in small containers sit on widow box

airplant_bonsai_shu_drawing_windowbench_home

窓際においたベンチの上の小さな植木鉢の中で、エアプラントが元気そうです。右は、手仕事屋久家でぼくが作った盆栽の植木鉢です。左は、衆生の猫の絵です。

Easy to move around, the tiny scale of air plants are a perfect fit for a Tokyo apartment. I made the bonsai pots on the right at Kuge Crafts. The cat drawing on the left is by Shu.

airplant_shu_drawing_home

Why are neighborhood parks so sad?

Why are neighborhood parks so sad?

I am struck by how poorly maintained and under-used many of the residential neighborhood parks are. This one, close to where I live, is large, has many mature trees facing the street, and has almost no usage. To call it uninviting and unloved would be an understatement.

Why are neighborhood parks so sad?

The street side is almost promising. There is a long row of mature trees and a community bulletin board. Next to the bulletin board, and also on the far end of the park, are designated areas to leave your trash. Unfortunately, there is no receptacle for the bagged garbage, so crows and cats pick through the bags and the contents start to disperse.

Why are neighborhood parks so sad?

The entrance to the park reveals vast areas of gravel, unplanted beds, and few amenities or attractions. The size of the park only underscores the waste of so much public space going unused. Given how avidly neighbors tend to their tiny gardens and occupy small strips of public space, why are local governments unable to harness this human resource for beautifying and maintaining public space?

I can imagine many other uses for the park: community vegetable gardens, flower contests, rice field, bee hives, food stand, children’s play area, public art-making space. Given limits to local government budgets, maybe there would be a way to attract corporate sponsors and neighborhood volunteers. If more people were attracted to enter the park, I am sure it would be cleaner and more inviting.

After the jump is a photo inventory of the current park assets, mostly aging structures with a surprising amount of trash. During my visit I noticed a small garden crew and two people on a bench.

Continue reading

Maximizing floral impact

Maximizing floral impact, spring

This small house on a typical Nakano side street is over-flowing with plant life. The owner is clearly maximizing space with hundreds of potted plants on the top, the inside and the outside of the cinderblock wall. Using every centimeter of space, the effect is dazzling from all angles. And somehow, there is still room for a cat to take a nap on the wall.

Below is a view of the front entrance. It is a floral jungle that shelters the home and delights passers-by.

Maximizing floral impact, spring

Even the steps on the side of the building, leading to an upstairs apartment, have been intensively planted.

Maximizing floral impact, spring