Visiting Shimokitazawa last week for a meeting, CScout Japan‘s Michael Keferl pointed out the (fake) forest surrounding the north entrance to the Shimokitazawa train entrance. It’s funny how I had failed to notice this endless forest.
It extends on three walls from the station all the way past the horizon.
Construction is a constant in urban Japan. It seems the rail line, landlord or construction company wants to add a natural “feeling.” Recently I saw a construction wall lined with real bamboo.
Are there other low-cost ideas for temporary construction? Something that can be re-used from site to site?
Just outside Shibuya station, next to the famous Hachiko statue, is a single train with wonderful photographs of how the station area has evolved in the past hundred years. What amazes me is that in crowded Tokyo, a museum train prompts most visitors to relax and behave as if they were in a real train. Apart from one woman studying the exhibit and one man representing the exhibit, the other “passengers” are acting like typical Tokyo train riders: two salary men sleeping, two people reading books, and a couple talking with eachother. Below gives you an idea of the context of this non-moving, perhaps hyper-real experience.
I have posted before with some sympathy for how ordinary Tokyo people express their desire for public, urban nature, even with fake flowers and real ivy in plastic bottle containers in such unlikely places as a Metro men’s room. I have more ambivalent feelings about the widespread retailing use of fake leaves to signal fall.
Above is a photo from my neighborhood supermarket. Is nature not signaling seasons clearly enough? Are plastic plants the best the supermarket can do to mark seasons. What about seasonal foods and vegetables? Are these leaves stored, washed, and brought out the next year?
The second image is from a neighborhood pachinko parlor. This one mixes an abundance of fake flowers and sexy female imagery to attract attention and customers. I have a feeling that these flowers might have looked better when first installed, and that they may remain next to the Metro station for many more years to come.