entrance

Traditional Japanese garden meets modern-day teens

basketball_dance_pine_snow_rope_yoyogipark
代々木公園の和風モダンの景色です。冬の日本庭園の前で、Re-Vibeというグループがパスケットボールと一緒に踊っています。

Named re-vibe, these teens were preforming a dance style that involves basketballs. Behind them, in the entrance to Yoyogi Park is a gorgeous pine tree, protected for winter by precisely spaced ropes.

Tea cup balconies and giant chef’s head decorate entrance to Kappabashi, Tokyo’s Kitchen Town

cups_kappabashi

合羽橋を知っていますか。台所に必要なものが何でもあります。最近フライパンを買いました。大きなシェフの頭とベランダのカップが面白いと思いませんか?

Between Asakusa and Ueno is Kappabashi, or Kitchen Town, a great place to buy everything from pots and pans to kitchenware and even the plastic foods restaurants use to advertise their menus outside. I’d seen the giant chef’s head online, but was completely surprised by the red, white and blue teacup balconies across the street and next to the police box.

chef_kappabashi

Narrow staircase leads up the scaffolding

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マンションの入り口の隣に、狭い足場の入り口もあります。

Next to the building’s front door, there is also now the entrance to the scaffolding. It’s narrow and partially hidden.

Elegant temple entrance on Koenji backstreet

koenji_temple_winter
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.

koenji_temple_plum_winter

Entrance to Shibuya from Roppongi is a river of auto traffic

六本木から渋谷に来ている車の流れが50年前の都市デザインを保ち続けています。東京はいつ21世紀の都市デザインをはじめることができるでしょうか。

Layers of auto traffic rush towards Shibuya station. Has any global city maintained its aging urban auto infrastructure as thoroughly as Tokyo? Planning wise, Tokyo today can feel like it’s reliving the 1960s, as if nothing has changed in terms of mobility, urban design, and creating maximum value in dense cities.

Lotus flowers growing in buckets at Araiyakushi temple in Nakano

バケツの中で育っている蓮は新井薬師神社にあります。夏の風が吹いて人が少ないとき、ここは静かです。

These lotus flowers look so perfect at night I had to check that they were real. It was charming to see them blowing in the warm summer wind in front of the main temple at Araiyakushi in Nakano. I was even more surprised to realize that this mini-field was growing in a dozen over-sized buckets. Below you can see the entrance to the temple from the street, with lanterns and gates.

Lone line of wild grass on sidewalk near Shinjuku station

この草は自然にまかれた種から育ちました。長い線の形を描いています。去年もこの新宿駅の近くにある景色が好きでした。

This grass seeds itself alongside the guardrail leading up to Shinjuku Station’s JR South entrance. Exactly the same time last year, I was also captivated by this linear lawn at night.

Fantastic garden entrance for Suginami residence

この自宅の入口はすばらしいですね。庭は背が高くて濃いです。

It is amazing that this house and tall garden still exist in Tokyo. I love how thick the garden is, and how open the entrance is to the street.

“We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” That’s the welcome message for prospective students.

.@ilynam とユキさんと一緒に農大に来て、強い雨に降られました。入口に、「すくう人。環境学生』のポスターを見て、うれしくなりました。鈴木先生のために、海外に作られた日本庭園のことについて学べるサイトを作ります。デザインと庭と画像と土を一緒にするので、このプロジェクットは楽しいです。

It was raining when @ilynam and Yuki joined me for the first meeting to create a website for the 500 garden database of Japanese gardens outside Japan, a project I am helping Suzuki sensei with this year.

At the entrance to the school, somehow this rainy scene was an apt start for this exciting project where we will mix design, gardens, pixels, and soil. Bringing this knowledge online will be very helpful for people around the world who are interested in knowing about and visiting hundreds of Japanese gardens in dozens of countries. And working with design stars Ian and Yuki, I am confident that we can combine simplicity and beauty in the interface.

The banner offering campus tours for new students says, “We are people who scoop. Environmentally active students.” The word sukuu means “scoop” and also “save.”

Clothing boutique has unusual garden entrance

代官山にあるフランスのブティックは珍しい庭の入口があります。森のトンネルみたいです。

I recently stumbled upon this garden entrance to the APC boutique in Daikanyama. It’s nice to see outdoor retail space dedicated to a garden path, unusual plant selections, and lovely night-time lighting. It’s like a forest tunnel.

Springtime at Omotesando Koffee. The small garden and old house make you feel like you’re on a country lane.

Omotesando Koffee の入口はとても素敵です。美味しいコーヒーが飲めるだけじゃなくて、小さい庭が四季を感じさせてくれます。春に、桜とモクレンが咲いていて、金属製の花瓶には毎週、違う花がいけてあります。おしゃれなお客さんは三年以上の常連で、バリスタオーナが東京に来る前に、大阪のカフェにも行きました。

This is the lovely entrance to Omotesando Koffee. It would be enough just being one of Tokyo’s best espresso coffee bars. O K also sells a single pastry that is eggy and square and incomparable. And O K has a micro-garden that is incredibly charming, with many traditional Japanese plants including maple and a lovely drooping cherry tree with long stemmed flowers.

The fashionable gentleman in the photo explained to me that he used to drink coffee at the Osaka coffee bar run by the same owner, before he moved to Tokyo three years ago. In the foreground is a lovely, metal sculpture and flower vase with understated petals.

Visiting Omotesando Koffee you feel like you’re on a country lane, not in the middle of a mega-city.

Snowy cherry tree outside elementary school. Heavy snow makes Tokyo oddly quiet.

大雪のときに、東京は異常に静かになります。車も人の数も少なくなります。この桜は近所の小学校の入口で、もう一ヶ月くらいで咲くはず。

Less than one week later, it feels like a spring afternoon. Tokyo becomes oddly quiet during heavy snowfall. Fewer cars, fewer people outside. This cherry tree outside my local elementary school will be blooming in just one more month.