fast

Biking fast through asphalt and concrete corridors

bike_freeway_yamate_operacity

東京を自転車で走るとき、大きい道路を行くのが一番早いです。山手通りの幅が広い歩道を自転車で乗ります。このオペラシティの前の交差点はちょっと怖いでしょう?

For moving quickly through the city, nothing is faster than using a bike on the main boulevards. This intersection, in front of Opera City, is particularly ugly. I stick to the wide sidewalk on Yamate Dori.

Snowfall behind the dormant green curtain

snow_green_curtain_nakano
先月、雪がたくさん降りました。外に人が少なかったから、都市が静かになった。

A heavy snowfall last month briefly slowed down the city and produced an unusual quiet. I loved seeing how fast it accumulated.

The beach is a fast train ride away in Chiba

千葉の御宿に着くと、きれいなヤシの並木が見えます。細くて背が高いです。カリフォルニアに人気なメキシコのヤシみたいです。急行で行くと、東京から御宿は近いです。電車からの東京湾の景色が大好きです。

I love how this row of skinny palm trees greets visitors to Onjuku, Chiba right from the station. They look like Mexican fan palms (washingtonia robusta) which are very common in California.

Onjuku is an 80 minute ride on the express train, and the beach is a 10 minute walk away. It’s great to visit the beach even for an afternoon. The trip by train is also fun. I love to see the port buildings and activities.

Cherry petals become dark red mush as leaves fill out. Magnificent long path of cherries.

十日後、花吹雪のピンクの花びらは濃い赤色になりました。花びらと茎が分解していて、若葉がまだらの光を作っています。

In just ten days, this lane of cherries in Tatsumi has gone from pink to a dark red, with petals and stems decomposing on the pavement. I like how the leaves are growing fast, and providing shade as the weather warms up.

Perpetual Yamanote

My artist and product design friend Pierre Alex, whom I blogged about earlier, created this funny “anti-design” video about Tokyo’s most famous rail line, the Yamanote that circles central Tokyo. The idea is that it’s a single train in perpetual motion.

How is this relevant to Tokyo Green Space? An extraordinary transit system is a basic requirement for a sustainable city that values public transit over private vehicles, and shared spaces over individual or members-only spaces. Tokyo’s transit system is truly the best in the world, for the area it covers, frequency of trains, cleanliness, on-time performance, and safety.

A fast, comfortable and convenient transit system is a place where all social groups intersect, and is the backbone of a walkable city. No matter where I travel in Tokyo, I am always amazed at how many friends I bump into.

I also believe that artistic visions are necessary for us to imagine and create post-industrial cities that are creative, desirable and serving human aspirations. Plus, the video is cool.

Pierre’s statement about the Yamanote (in French):

La Yamanote, c’est le mur d’enceinte version société industrielle.
La ligne de train circulaire entoure la ville et la protège de sa banlieue.
Mais comme me le disait Raphaël, dont j’aime les trëmas sur le prénom, c’est aussi Zazie dans le métro.
On se paye un ticket pour un petit tour d’une heure à regarder la ville.
C’est l’hiver, les sièges sont chauffés, il y a même la télé. On peut voir le golf, ou un cours d’anglais. Mais c’est souvent de la pub. Il y en a une, pour la bière suntory, où tout est en noir et blanc sauf les boissons. Chaque fois que je la vois, j’ai soif.
Ca tombe bien, la yamanote est une ligne aérienne, comme la ligne 2 à Paris vers Stalingrad.
Et quand on sort, entre Kanda et Ueno, on trouve sous les arcades les bars les moins chers de Tokyo.