Between Kyodo station and Nodai’s campus, a few old mansions remain with large yards and mature trees. The bicycling student’s brown hair matches the wood fence.
On the long walk from Kyodo station to Nodai (Tokyo University of Agriculture), there’s a house and large garden where the residents are always gardening. This year they created a huge, two meter high trellis of fusenkazura (フウセンカズラ). The name is literally balloon kudzu, and despite looking delicate, it’s very hardy. The vine produces lots of white flowers, followed by a multitude of green balls that then turn orange. This year, I’m growing two specimens on our balcony.
Leaving Nodai one December day, I was struck by the bright yellow color of this ginko tree, and how it dwarfs the small street. This is the main street connecting Nodai with the Odakyu line, and the numbers of pedestrians and bicyclists far outnumber cars.
Much of Nodai’s built enviornment are 1950s Bauhaus-style six story buildings, including the one in our lab, with some newer buildings also. Outside of the library is a beautiful quad with old trees that give you a sense of the age and history of this Meiji era campus.
It was raining last Friday when I came for the Garden Lab bonenkai, or end of year party. In the middle of winter, Tokyo is very dry so I am trying to enjoy the last rain.
On my way to the Kyodo train station from Nodai, my Research Fellow colleague noticed a two-story bitter melon green curtain. We were impressed by how full it is, how tidy and well trained. There were a number of large bitter melons on the vines. Bitter melon is certainly hardy, and the whole large vegetable garden is growing out of two medium sized plastic tubs, and taking up minimal space in the car park area of someone’s home.