Mount Fuji

Dramatic sky in Nakano

sunset_nakano
中野の空が燃えているみたいに見えます。新しく建ったビルのせいで、ベランダから富士山はもう見えません

The sky appears to be on fire. Unfortunately, the new building blocks our old view of Mount Fuji.

Palm tree crest marks shrine near Mount Fuji

Fujisan_shrine_crest2_shuro_Trachycarpus
私のパートナーがシュロの家紋を見つけました。富士山の神社の家です。

My spouse found this shuro family crest, which is displayed at a shrine near Mount Fuji. The shuro palm is native to Japan and grows wild in Tokyo. I’ve been delighted to find it in parking lots and formal gardens. This year we are planting seeds to see if we can grow it on the balcony.

Fujisan_shrine_crest_shuro_Trachycarpus

Fall clouds float by in big puffs towards Mount Fuji

fall_clouds_nakano

雲が富士山に向って浮いています。秋の雲が一番きれいだと思います。サンフランシスコに行っているあいだに、パートナーが東京でフィルム写真を撮りました。

This is the view towards the west, towards the mountains and away from Tokyo Bay. Fall clouds are the best. My husband Shu took this film photo and a few others when I was in San Francisco.

Domesticated Mount Fuji in today’s Edo

mtfuji_clothespins_nakano_b

江戸時代から、富士山と都市は一緒にイメージされています。最近、富士山の噴火に関する記事が多いですね。

Recently, there have been several reports that Mount Fuji may erupt and cause an earthquake, or vice versa. What I love about this giant volcano is its utterly domestic and urban nature. Today’s urban views, completely with laundry drying, are an extension of hundreds of years of Edo visual representation.

Seeing Mount Fuji reminds me that I am in Tokyo

いつも富士山を見るたびに、私は東京にいるなあと思います。

I am always delighted to see Mount Fuji from our balcony. In the morning, it glistens with snow, and at  sunset the backlighting and colors are extraordinary. Seeing Mount Fuji reminds me that, yes, I am in Tokyo.

Rare summer view of Mount Fuji

夏のもやで、あまり富士山が見えません。ところが、晴れた日に、富士山の上に雪の残りが見えます。

Summer’s humid haze often blocks views of Mount Fuji. It’s amazing to see the last bits of snow on the volcano.

Snow begins to cover Mount Fuji

寒い季節は、空が澄んでいることが多いです 。今富士山にはいっぱい雪があります。あけましておめでとう。

The cold weather brings clear skies. You can watch as the snow gradually starts out as icing on Mount Fuji, and then covers it entirely for winter.

Happy new year!

Setting sun as big as Mount Fuji

たまに家の事務所からすばらしい景色が見えることに気がつきます。富士山の夕焼けはいい年末の写真だと思います。良い年をお迎えください。

Sometimes I am aware that my home office has a sublime view.

Dramatic clouds and Mount Fuji

空と都市の対照がきれいです。この雲は本当か偽物のどちらでしょうか。

Fall brings clear skies and dramatic clouds. How come the top looks like a natural wonder and the city below is littered with antennas, utility poles, and a giant incinerator?

Mount Fuji at end of road at sunset

よくこの道を自転車で行きます。突然に道の終わりに富士山が見えて、驚いた。もっと注意深く観察しなければなりません。

I bike down this road so often, and suddenly I am surprised to see Mount Fuji at the very end. How come I am seeing it here for the first time? Maybe it’s the red of the sky against the traffic and brake lights.

Itsukaichi Kaido is one of the main Edo roads connecting Tokyo with western Japan. Near the city, it connects Koenji with Kichijoji while veering across and away from the Chuo train line. It also crosses the Zenpukuji river, which is a lovely greenway far from the train stations and mostly enjoyed by the neighbors.

Mount Fuji in the recycling shelves

リサイクルの場所に、富士山が見えるのでびっくりしました。

In my apartment building’s enormous recycling and garbage area, I found this lovely image of Mount Fuji staring at me. Only in Japan do residents neatly fold and lovingly display used items destined for shredding and recycling. This image is not of the artistic quality of Hiroshige (広重)’s 36 Views of Mount Fuji, it’s a lovely reminder of nature in an unlikely place.

Origami Mount Fuji celebrates 125th anniversary of Shinjuku station

折り紙の壁画が世界で一番大きい駅の125周年を祝っています。

This giant origami mural celebrates Shinjuku station’s 125th anniversary. Tokyo boasts many mega-stations, including Tokyo Station, Shibuya, Shinagawa, and Ikebukuro. Yet Shinjuku station is the most used station in the world, with an estimated 3.4 million daily riders on train lines operated by five different rail companies.

I love how the anniversary is commemorated with this origami art work composed of thousands of cranes. The images chosen are iconic for Tokyo: Mount Fuji, a cherry tree, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government’s twin high-rise from the 1980s, and a rainbow. The only thing missing is the station itself; however, with no main entrance, the station is less a destination than a passageway to other places.

Recently in San Francisco, my friend told me about his rapid transit station’s 40,000 riders, which is a significant number. That figure is just over 1% of Shinjuku’s traffic. It is impossible to overstate the role of trains in making Tokyo function as an efficient and low carbon city.

Shrine shelters two enormous trees in Roka-koen

木のあいだから、富士山が見える。神社のおかげで、このふたつの木は大きくなりました。

Recently I was helping my friend Matt making bonsais in his Roka-koen apartment in Setagaya when I saw this incredible sunset. This is his view looking west from his fifth floor apartment. It’s amazing how dense Tokyo is, and how far the city spreads out from the center.

A small Shinto shrine is the reason that these two giant trees are still there. Dating back perhaps to just after the war, these trees seem to be an important stepping stone for neighborhood and regional birds. With the clear winter skies and the leaves gone, you can see Mount Fuji through the trees.

Why aren’t mature trees recognized as a vital urban resource? How can these small islands of nature be connected with larger parks and other micro-green spaces? What is the role of Shinto as a religion and as thousands of property owners in supporting urban wildlife?