clothes

The laundry line is a familiar part of Tokyo apartment living

balony_fromlivingroom_nakano_home
東京の小さなマンションに、洗濯ひもは必須です。

With a southern exposure, it’s great to be able to line dry our clothes. The laundry becomes integral to the balcony garden view.

Morning glory green curtain still blooming

琉球朝顔がまだ咲いています。狭いベランダでは、庭と洗濯物が一緒です。
The morning glory green curtain continues to bloom and provide some vertical greening on the narrow balcony. In previous years, September hurricanes meant taking down the curtain early. The short-lived flowers keep popping up in different places. I also like how the garden co-exists with other domestic functions like clothes drying. We finally took the summer wind chime down a few weeks ago.

Let’s cover Tokyo in winter lavender

東京を冬のラベンダーでいっぱいにしよう。

It’s the second day of the new year. I am enjoying the blue sky and the realization that there is so much winter gardening that you can do on a Tokyo balcony. This lavender continues to bloom under the clothes rack. I can enjoy the beautiful color from my kitchen desk, and my clothes can brush up against the scented leaves as they dry.

Tokyo has a special feeling during the first days of the year, when many residents are still celebrating the holiday with their families outside the mega-city. In this quiet time, I wonder about covering a Tokyo building with lavender plants, or creating small lavender city farms on a scale large enough to allow Tokyoites and international visitors to bring lavender gifts home to their families.

Two young Nodai alumni

Suzuki Hokuto Nodai alum makes traditional gardeners' clothes

During the Tokyo University of Agriculture’s fall festival, the Garden Design Lab of the Landscape Architect Sciences department hosted a reunion for alumni under 35. I met two fascinating alumni who had studied at Nodai in the late 1990s. Alumnus Suzuki Hokuto (鈴木北斗), has a shop called Kyouen Store that sells traditional Japanese gardeners’ clothes and supplies, made of denim and using a special dye that repels mosquitos. There are even cool explanations of the different components, including tabi, kyahan, jyouba, harakake, momohiki, koikuchi, and tekkou. The site is in Japanese but the photos give you a good idea of what the clothes look like. The photo above is jyouba and below tekkou, which I have seen Kobayashi Kenji Sensei of Sinajina use. His landscape design firm is Kyouen.

Suzuki Hokuto's tekkou at Kyouen Store

I also met  Satou Koutarou (佐藤光太朗), who has a landscape business Iloha 1128 and also creates art from unbaked soil. It seems related to ceramics but somehow is not fired. He has a cool blog, and a gallery of his art work.

Satou Koutarou art gallery