magical

I put my new year’s shimekazari decoration on my bike’s “grille”

bike_shimekazari

大晦日に自転車を掃除しました。自転車用のミニしめ飾りを作って、まえに飾りました。銭湯に夜行くとき、神様を迎えられます。

I cleaned my bike with magical pink solution on new year’s eve, and Shu helped me attach the mini-shimekazari to the front.  For the next week, this bit of rice, pine, paper, and berrry may give the gods some place to rest as I bike to the late night sento.

Sumida river sparkles at night. Is Tokyo best experienced by dark?

日中より、夜の東京のほうがきれいですね。国技館を出て、橋を渡るときに見える隅田川や神田川やスカイツリーはロマンチックな感じがあります。

Tokyo looks more magical at night. Walking across the Sumida River after seeing a sumo tournament, we admired the retro modern view of the bridges, elevated freeways, railway tracks, and inky black river. Even Sky Tree, the latest addition to this skyline, projects a futuristic image that is oddly familiar.

The green neon marks the Kanda river’s last bridge before joining the Sumida river. This river starts at Inokashira park in Kichijoji, west of where we live and winds for 26 kilometers before joining the Sumida and flowing into Tokyo Bay. A few years ago, I co-wrote an article about the Kanda river’s history and potential for new urbanism in Tokyo. You can download the 6 MB document in PDF form here.

At the bottom, you can see that there are still pleasure boats parked at the bottom of the Kanda for river dining and drinking. I’ve never been on these smaller boats.

Just before summer starts, river in Nakameguro is magical

夏がはじまる前の、今の東京の季節が大好きです。桜で有名な中目黒の川です。もう水に足を入れたい気分です。

Just before summer starts is one of my favorite seasons in Tokyo. This is the river in Nakameguro famous for its cherry trees. I already want to put my feet in the water.

Getting close to the water in Shibaura. With mysterious tiny canal that pre-dates recent developments.

三度目に芝浦に行ったとき、きれいな水に近づける運河を見つけました。道路と水の間を歩けます。地下に、小さな古い運河の出口も見つけました。

On my third trip to Shibaura, I discovered that there is one canal that provides wonderful, up-close access to water. It’s the first canal when entering from the JR Yamanote station. There’s even paths below the bridges and just above the water. On a drizzly afternoon, it was magical to be below the roadway.

Most of Tokyo’s rivers are buried, and the few remaining ones, including much of the Kanda and Zenpukuji rivers, are channeled 10 meters below street level to manage flooding. Sometimes I hear ducks echoing in these canyons, but the distance between people and water is a missed opportunity.

At the Shibaura canal, I found a tiny canal opening that seems to do pre-date the more recent developments. I like the old stones at the entrance. All that’s missing from this canal is space to get your feet wet, or even go in for a swim.

Night view and fallen petals conclude cherry blossom season

花見の季節は終わり、最後の夜の花びらの写真です。

I love this multi-petal and super-pink cherry tree growing outside my apartment building. At night, it is magical against the clouds and electric power lines. I like that the tree has been trimmed into a lollipop shape. The sight of the petals pooling up in the gutter is also strangely captivating: so pink and so transient.

Fortunately, once cherry trees have finished blooming, there is a burst of spring flowers: azalea, dogwood, lilac, iris, jasmine, and soon roses.

Magical temple garden in Takanawa

Magical temple garden in Takanawa

Walking through Takanawa, I stumbled upon this magical temple entrance with a long winding path. Buddhist and Shinto temples are often the only dedicated land uses that escape the endless cycle of destruction and over-building that is so common in Tokyo. Few small temple gardens are this beautiful.

After passing these wooden guards, I saw only a stray cat. Not a single visitor or monk.

Magical temple garden in Takanawa

This is the path that invites one to find the temple.

Magical temple garden in Takanawa

Although a small total space, many angles make you feel that you have entered a splendidly edited jungle. I love the cloth apron on this statue.

Magical temple garden in Takanawa