Iran

Wild tulips from Hiyoko in Amsterdam

このかわいいピンクと黄色のチューリップは もともとトルコとイランから来た 原種だそうです。ヒヨコさん、アムステルダムから球根を持ってきてくれてありがとうございます。たぶん昔のトルコとイランのチューリップはこんな風に小さくてきれいだったのでしょう。

I love these species tulips that Hiyoko brought from Amsterdam last fall. They are small and simple, with a great combination of pink and yellow. This type of tulip is closer to its wild origins in Turkey and, before that, Iran. Thanks, Hiyoko, for bringing these bulbs to Tokyo!

Pomegranate also grows well in Tokyo

ザクロも東京で育つことができます。もともと中央アジアのペルシアから来て、地中海地方で人気です。酸っぱくて柔らかいの種が美味しいです。東京では、だれもこの木の果物を食べないから、鳥はうれしいだろう。たまに小さなザクロを盆栽に使っています。

Native to Persia (what is now Iran), pomegranates remind me of the Mediterranean. I was surprised to see a neighbor’s pomegranate tree full of fruit. I guess the neighbor is not eating them, since they are bursting open. The birds are probably happy to eat the delicious seeds, and then distribute them as they travel.

Last year I also took photos of neighborhood fruit trees, including a miniature pomegranate. There are special varieties used in bonsai making.

Operation Flower, crime prevention in Suginami

Suginami Operation Flower

A friend in San Francisco sent me this Reuters news story about a municipal government program in Suginami ward to plant flowers facing the street as a crime prevention measure. The article cites a city official saying, “The best way to prevent crime is to have more people on the lookout.” According to city officials, encouraging street flowers has lowered burglaries by 80% from 2002 to 2008. Read the full article.

Update: Suzuki-sensei at Nodai kindly provided me with the Yomiuri news story from June 6, 2009 which provides more detail. Apparently, before turning to flowers, the Suginami ward government tried security cameras, which worked but only for a short period. The local government than did a survey that found that only 2 of the 100 homes that experienced robbery had plants outside. Suginami achieved this remarkable crime reduction by spending 6,000,000 yen (about $65,000) per year on plants, and organizing 109 “Flower Blooming Troops” (花咲かせ隊)  groups with 872 residents participating. The effectiveness is attributed to the plants bringing more people into small alleys and to neighbors interacting more with eachother.

Governments from Shizuoka, Okinawa, Fukuoka and seventeen other Japanese prefectures have visited Suginami to study this crime success. It is also interesting that this news story spread to the China Daily, Brunei Times, Australia’s ABC, Times of India, and the Iran Daily.

Yomiuri article on Suginami Operation Flower