charm

Two types of morning glory cover summer balcony

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空の状態によって、アサガオの色がいつも変わります。この二つは対象的な色ですね。それぞれの花は半日くらいしかもたないので、もっときれいに思えます。

The colors of these two morning glories depend on the sky and change during the day. They are always contrasting: pink and violet, red and blue. Flowering for less than a day, their impermanence adds to their charm.

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Kintsugi pot adds metallic charm to balcony garden

金継ぎという技術はこわれた器を直す方法で。史火陶芸教室の久家先生の専門です。ベランダに、銀色と花が素敵ですね。

This kintsugi pot adds a bright metallic shine to the balcony garden. Here I’ve planted this long-blooming flower. I like the pink-red flowers, which have bloomed for months. Kintsugi, which is the decorative repair of usually old pottery, is a specialty of my teacher at Shiho ceramic studio.

I don’t know the name of this plant, and frankly bought it as “filler.” The husband thinks that “filler” is a harsh name, but don’t most gardens also rely on having a few plants purchased for their immediate appeal with minimal money and thought? Since it’s thrived so long, I should probably learn its name.

Update: The Japanese name is Seroshia (セロシア), and it’s called Celosia argentea, plumed cockscomb, and Prince of Wales Feathers and Flamingo Feathers.

Pine tree filling out between winter’s hard prune and summer’s heat

この杉の葉は大きくなっています。冬は極端に切りつめて、日差しを増やします。夏は影を作ります。古い監視カメラがあるので、人の作った庭だとわかります。けれども、だれも見ていないと思います。

I like how this pine tree is starting to fill out. It was hard pruned for winter, which allows more sunlight into the apartments. By summer it provided thick shade. Somehow this dubious security camera adds to the charm of this very orderly tree.

Small birdhouse adds charm to Marui department store’s roof garden

丸井の屋上の庭に、かわいい巣箱があります。鳥が入ったでしょうか。
This small birdhouse adds charm to the Marui department store roof garden. I wonder if any birds have found their way inside. Shinjuku san-chome.

Deep red vine in winter adds charm to concrete residence in Harajuku

冬の深い赤色のつるはコンクリートの住宅を魅力的にします。去年の写真とくらべると、緑のつるは感じが違います。

This Harajuku residential buidling is bordered by tall bamboo and covered in a thick vine. I posted a photo of this building last summer shaded in dense green foliage. Now it’s turned red in early winter, and the contrast is very pleasing.

A day trip to Karuizawa with moss forest and bikes

夏の軽井沢は涼しいです。自転車でまわって、苔の森や小川や池を見ました。東京から日帰りでも楽しいです。ジョンレノンとヨーコオノがよくたずねた喫茶店を見つけました。

In the heat of summer, Karuizawa remains cool and elegant. We found a moss forest, streams, and a small lake. It is just an hour from Tokyo by bullet train, and easy to rent a bike near the station. We passed many tennis courts, but did not meet any royalty. By accident, we met the charming proprietress of a coffee shop frequented by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1977.

CNN on Tokyo’s green streets and vertical gardens

CNNのインタビューです。みんなが小さな緑をたくさん作って、東京生活を楽しくしています。路地と区役所のイノベーションについて話しました。@KyungLahCNN さん、 ありがとうございます。

CNN broadcast their interview with me about how neighborhood gardens make Tokyo life so enjoyable. Focus on small green streets & local government innovations. Thanks @KyungLahCNN

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Small lane in Nakano Fujimichou

I love this tiny lane in Nakano Fujimichou that extends two blocks between a larger building and a series of small residences. The proportion of pavement seems just right: soil, pavement, soil in almost equal thirds. The lane serves as access to residences, bicycle storage, laundry drying, garden, and public passageway.

I wonder if the land is officially part of the ward or the residences. In any case, I imagine that it is the residents who maintain it and set informal rules about usage. The charm of this type of small semi-public semi-private space seems impossible to create by government planners or real estate developers.