door

The captain and crew shut the door of the Ogasawara Maru

officers_departure_ogasawaramaru

船長と他の制服を着た乗務員が小笠原丸のドアを閉めます。今回で、小笠原の写真ツアーは終わりです。また今度、もう一度、小笠原丸に乗りたいです。

I thought there’s no better end to this travelogue about Ogasawara than this photo of the captain and crew getting ready to shut the door to the ship prior to departure.

Tiny garden door leads to mini-forest in Harajuku

I was startled by this tiny garden door, not much taller than the bike’s handlebar. It’s amazing that in Harajuku there are still some old houses with their lush gardens. Most have been torn down and converted into multi-family buildings with minimal green space. While the wall prevents a full view, the small forest rising up and out of the property seems full of mystery and life.

New year decorations

Above is a kadomatsu, or new year’s decoration that rests on the ground. These large ones are usually in front of businesses. This one is in front of one of my favorite Tokyo haunts: the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium constructed for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and open to the public now in central Tokyo.

The materials are bamboo, pine, straw and red berries. I love the decorative rope flower and the splayed straw at the base. Below is the shimekazari hanging outside of our apartment door. Notice the folded paper and rice stalk. After the holiday, these plant-based new year’s symbols are  burned at shrines. So different than the un-ceremonial sidewalk dumping of US Christmas trees.

Happy new year! Best wishes for a bright new decade.