future

Sky Tree at night, with willow tree in foreground

skytree_night_from_asakusa

浅草から、柳とスカイツリーが一緒に見えます。

Viewed from Asakusa, not only is Sky Tree bigger, but you can see more details of the lighting scheme.  From Nakano, you hardly notice the blue light, and the more subtle red trim. I also like how the willow references Tokyo’s Edo past, and Sky Tree, although newly built, appears to be a 1960s’ vision of the future.

Vote Tanuki Party, for next leader of Japan

vote_for_tanuki_--------

タヌキ党に一票を!鎖国より、愛を。核燃料棒より金玉を。みんなの明るい未来。

More love, less isolation. Golden balls, not nuclear rods. A better future for everyone.

Tokyo University Sanshiro-ike garden in fall

On a beautiful warm November day, I discovered Tokyo University’s Sanshiro-ike garden. I had a few moments before a meeting, and saw on the campus map that there was a central garden on the main campus. I had assumed it would be a formal garden.

I was very surprised to descend a small hillside and encounter this natural looking pond. Looking in all directions, one sees only trees, water and sky, despite the compact size of the garden. Even on a warm weekend day with early fall foliage, few visitors were there. I was enchanted by the incredibly natural and removed-from-the-city feeling in this garden inside central Tokyo and Japan’s most famous university.

It takes a lot of artifice to make a city garden look so natural. The waterfall is amazing.

Continue reading to see some more images from Tokyo University, aka Todai.

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Inujima: Reclaiming the Past to Envision the Future

Inujima: Reclaiming the Past to Envision the Future

In spring the sustainability director of ARUP showed me the incredible designs for Inujima Art Project, and I had known immediately that I wanted to visit and see it for myself. In an earlier post, I discussed its zero energy use through a creative natural cooling, heating and lighting system, and its wastewater recycling program.

Also listed was the the architecture by Sambuichi Hiroshi, art by Yanagi Yukinori using elements from Mishima Yukio’s house and writings, and the benefactor Fukutake Soichiro, Benesse‘s owner and the creator of nearby Naoshima, another island in the Seto Inland Sea.

Inujima: Ruins and Forest

Visiting Inujima on a beautiful fall day in October and spending the night in a school house closed many years ago and converted into a hostel was an incredible experience combining nature, recent history, art, and questions about Japan’s industrial past and its 21st century future.

Inujima: Reclaiming the Past to Envision the Future

Inujima in the early 20th century was a small island with over 3,000 inhabitants in the early 20th century. In a brief period of ten years, Inujima was the site of a massive seirenshou, or copper refinery, placed in the Seto Inland Sea to keep the intense pollution away from Japan’s population centers. With the collapse of copper prices after only ten years, the refinery closed and the island entered a long period of decline.

Inujima: Reclaiming the Past to Envision the Future

Today there are approximately 50 residents, with an average age of 70 or more. The chimney built just before the refinery closed now serves as an integral part of the zero emissions temperature system in the new museum structure. Earlier chimneys had less structural integrity, and large parts of the refinery, including its original power station, are now being reclaimed by thick forest.

After the jump, a discussion of the art work and the island today.

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Speaking at Anthropology of Japan in Japan conference

Speaking at Anthropology of Japan in Japan conference

This weekend I will be presenting a talk, “Urban Gardeners and the City of the Future,” in an Urban Japan panel at the Anthropology of Japan in Japan conference. It will be held at Temple University‘s Japan campus, and my panel is Saturday November 7 from 1 pm to 3 pm along with papers on urban bicycling, geisha, street festivals, and gender inequality.

This year is a tribute to Stanford Anthropology Professor Harumi Befu, a scholar of Japanese identity, nationalism and globalization. The conference theme is “Civil Society and Citizenship in MultiNational/MultiCultural Japan.”

A Statue of Liberty amount of waste, every hour

Terrefuge, Statue of Liberty, waste

Terrefuge, a New York City urban-eco design collaborative, has created this visual of the amount of waste produced by New York City every hour. To reach a goal of carbon negative cities, this collaborative explores future designs and urban planning that increase the production of energy, food and public health. It is an interesting mix of architects, ecologists and artists.