cold

Crowds visit Shinjuku Gyoen for cherry blossom viewing despite the cold

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今年の新宿御苑の花見は、寒い天気なのに、木が好きな人が集まっていました。

These photos are from this year’s rather cold cherry blossom season, which meant easier access to some of the best spots. I love the difference in scale between the old trees and the people they attract. I also love how prepared the city is to manage the expected crowds of tree lovers.

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Sidewalk cycads, wrapped up for winter, bring craft to the big city

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冬は、ソテツはわらに包まれています。こうして、日本庭園の技術が歩道で見れます。かっこいい彫刻ですね。

Wrapped in rice stalks to protect them from the cold, these tall sidewalk cycads add an element of traditional Japanese gardens to a large city street. I love the craft and care visible in the wrapping, and the shapes look almost human. I included the photo below to show off the fantastic 1960s or 1970s architecture of the residential building nearby.

cycads_wrapped2_hamamatsuchoWrapped in rice stalks, these sidewalk cycads

Elegant temple entrance on Koenji backstreet

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高円寺のお寺の長い入口は素敵です。梅も咲いています。

I bike down a back street to visit my favorite Shin Koenji coffee shop. I pass several temples with well maintained gardens. The long entrance looked particularly elegant on a cold, sunny day. Just to the side of the gate, a plum tree is blooming.

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Tanuki heats up ginkgo nuts and serves hot coffee next to the Yamanote line

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ホランダから来たビジターに、タヌキさんはエスプレッソコーヒーとホットギンナンでもてなしています。

Tanuki offers visitors from the Netherlands warm gingko nuts and hot espresso on a cold night in Yoyogi.

Summer makes me want to jump in cold river

蒸し暑い天気のときに一番涼しいところは、冷たい川の中です。@a_small_lab と @jessmantell と御嶽に行きました。東京にあんな自然がまだあります。実がついたバナナを見て、驚きました。

In summer’s heat and humidity, the best place to be is in a cold river. Recently I met up with @a_small_lab and @jessmantell at the Tama river up in the foothills of western Tokyo. At Mitake, you can feel that you are in the mountains while being still in the city. It’s about an hour and a half by train from central Tokyo, and the water is cold!

I was very surprised to see bananas growing by the river. The fruit is now forming.

Lupinus re-made into showy annual. It’s only barely recognizable from American species.

この冬は長くて寒いですね。最近、自転車でホーム・センターに行って、花をたくさん買いました。ルピナスと言う花はキャンディーのような色です。北米の起原だけど、日本のは全然違います。ベランダに置きました。素敵です。

This winter seems to never end. So I biked over to the local home center recently, and loaded up on bright flowers including daffodils, tulips, stock, and this amazing lupinus. I am familiar with it as a very handsome deep blue flowering perennial, native to North America, that becomes a bush. I’d never seen it in candy colors and bred for maximum floral display. It’s at once familiar, odd, and just the right antidote for more cold days.

Winter pond reflects landscape and sky in Shinjuku Gyoen

寒い日でも、新宿御苑を歩くことは楽しいです。落葉した桜の枝も池に映った逆さまの景色も冬の風景です。

Even on the briskest cold days, it’s such a pleasure to cross Shinjuku Gyoen. The bare cherry tree in the foreground, reflections, and upside down landscape and sky are dazzling on a clear day.

Winter citrus brightens cold days in Tokyo

東京に来たとき、柑橘類の木を見て驚きました。冬に果物が熟成しますが、寒すぎるのではないかと思いました。最初、このハッサクは食べれないと東京の人はみんな言いました。去年カナダ人の友だちが、閉鎖された公立学校の庭でハッサクを収穫して、商店街の人たちと一緒にマーマレードを作りました。装飾にも食用にもなります。

Freezing temperatures and icy streets are keeping me indoors. But I am always amazed at how much still grows in Tokyo’s winter months. The most spectacular and surprising is this large citrus called “hassaku.”

For years I believed general comments about how the fruit is too sour to eat. Then I participated last year in Edoble’s hassaku marmalade-making. This tree can be seen everywhere in Tokyo, so it must be well suited. I like how it’s both decorative and edible!

Streets are icy. Please don’t slip!

東京にはあまり雪が降りません。いつもすぐに溶けてしまいますが、最近は超寒くなったので、東京の道に氷が多いです。チャリに乗っているときや歩いているときに、ご注意ください。

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.

White daisies brighten up balcony garden in winter

冬の庭で、白い花に惹かれます。雪を想像させるだけでなく、寒い日に明るさを添えてくれます。

I am drawn to white flowers for winter gardening. They evoke snow, and also add brightness to the cold days.

Snow begins to cover Mount Fuji

寒い季節は、空が澄んでいることが多いです 。今富士山にはいっぱい雪があります。あけましておめでとう。

The cold weather brings clear skies. You can watch as the snow gradually starts out as icing on Mount Fuji, and then covers it entirely for winter.

Happy new year!

Looking at the balcony garden from the living room

マンションは小さいので、ベランダの庭がいつも見えます。寒いときには、多くの時間をなかで過ごします。

One advantage of a very small apartment is that two of our three small rooms face the balcony with a wall of windows. You don’t need to make a special trip to observe what’s going on in the garden. It’s always there. As it gets cold, I spend more time inside.

50 plus cactuses kept by local real estate office

小さな不動産屋さんには、大きなサボテンの庭があります。最近は雨が降ると、オフィスの人が中にサボテンを入れるのだそうです。プラスチックで覆われた外にずっとおいてあるサボテンもあります。
オフィスの人は寒い夜に外から事務所の中にみんなサボテンを入れると言いました。五十個以上の種類があります。重くて危ないし、とげがあるので、大変ですね。園芸家としての情熱と苦労に感心します。

Near the gallery where the Shiho ceramic show is held each year, there’s a small real estate office with an amazing collection of at least 50 cactuses. This year, I noticed that when it rains the realtor brings most of them inside, and covers a few outside with plastic.

The office definitely has more cactuses than customers. I am delighted by this plant lover’s dedication. When it’s cold, he brings many in for the night. Given how heavy and thorny the plants are, he’s obviously very dedicated to his passion.

Like a brief tropical holiday at very low cost

寒いときには、温室に来るのが熱帯林への安い休暇みたいです。夢の島熱帯植物館を訪れました。戦後、たくさんのごみで作られた島です。外でパパイアの並木を見ました。この果物を東京で育てることができますか。

The same week I participated in the Umi no Mori tree planting, I had the opportunity to re-visit Yume no Shima, Tokyo’s most famous artificial island made of waste. This urban development started in the 1950s. Now it’s a vast area with a sports club, botanic garden, playing fields, semi-wild palm landscape, a marina, and a still functioning incinerator. It’s showing its age with deferred maintenance and sparse usage.

I love how it’s named “Dream Island.” This time I visited the botanic garden. On the outside is a row of papaya trees, which I thought too tropical to grow outdoors in Tokyo. There’s also a row of ceramic frog planters leading to the front door. A green house is a great place to go on a cold day, like a brief tropical holiday at very low cost.