New Year

Lucky rakes help your business in the new year

kumade_tori_no_ichi_hanazono - Version 2

酉の市の熊手について、「ザクザク」という言葉を今年に勉強なりましたが。

This year I learned that the sound the rakes make in collecting your prosperity is “zaku zaku” (ザクザク). You can still get your lucky rake at Hanazono shrine in Shinjuku on Friday November 21 and Saturday November 22 from 10 pm until dawn.

 

Seven spring greens in a soup pot

sevenspringgreens_package

お正月のすぐ後に、春の七草と一緒にスープを作りました。

I like how my neighborhood supermarket sells a combination pack of all seven spring greens. I bought this just after new year, added some mushrooms and made soup. It was good!

sevenspringgreens_cuttingboard sevenspringgreens_soup_pot

Have you seen a new year decoration on a car or bike?

bike_shimekazari_shinjuku

車か自転車につけられたしめ飾りを見たことがありますか。これは、手仕事屋久家で作ったぼくの手作りです。新宿で。

I made this one at Kuge Crafts.

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.

Six men on ladders prepare for new year

tree_pruning_yoyogi_park

はしごの上で、六人がお正月の準備します。代々木公園の松はきれいでしょう。

The pine trees should look their best for the new year. At Yoyogi park.

tree_pruning2_yoyogi_park

Front door decorations made by hand celebrate the new year

shimekazari_nakano_frontdoor
マンションのドアに、手作りのしめ飾りを飾っています。萩原さんのワークショップで作りました。楽しかったです。

Here is the new year’s decoration (shimekazari) I created at Shiho studio for our front door. Although there’s a common look to commercial ones, including these at Muji, there’s a lot of variety in terms of shape and materials.

Below is Kuge sensei’s lovely arrangement at the entrance to her studio. The tiny black ball with three colorful petals is a traditional toy played with a badminton-like shuttlecock.  shimekazari_kuge_studioLongtime Shiho studio student Hagiwara-san led the workshop and provided these amazing materials, including red berries, pine, paper, and seed pods.

hagiwara_shimekazari kuge_yoshiko_meg_shimekazari

Tokyo dog welcomes the new year on a busy corner

shimekazari_dog_takaido_onsen
賑やかな街角で、犬が新年を迎えています。銭湯に行く途中に、ファマリーレスや古い自宅があります。ポストの上の犬としめ飾りが一緒なので、陽気な気持ちになります。

On my way to the sento, I passed this old house on a busy corner, across from a “family restaurant” featuring its own parking lot. In addition to a large sidewalk garden, the home features a welcoming dog above the mail box. I think the dog looks good with the new year decoration hanging above him.

Back to business in Tokyo after the new year

salarymen_tokyometro

お正月が終わったら、日常生活が戻ります。このメトロの写真に、男性はみんな黒いスーツを来ているので、庭のより東京人のほうがもっと型にはまっていると思います。

Uniformity and order can be even more stylized in Tokyo human environments than gardens. How is it that every passenger in this frame is a man in a black suit? Can that small screen transport us somewhere more magical and more vivid than our surroundings?

New year decorations of pine and bamboo at local shrine

nakano_shrine_newyear_decoration

地元の神社には素敵な新年の飾り付けがあります。今年、写真をもっと上手になりたいので、新しいプロジェクトを探しています。

I love the simple pine and bamboo strapped to the entry gate of my local shrine. This is where we start the new year a few minutes past midnight with the neighbors drinking amezake and enjoying a small fire. Even the graffiti is cute. This new year, I will try to improve my photography, and seek a greater capacity for identifying the path of least resistance.

Making new year’s ornaments at Shiho

史火陶芸教室の生徒さんの一人、萩原さんがしめ飾りの作り方を教えました。材料はとても素敵だったと思います。様々なマツ、松ぼっくり、紙垂、稲穂、リボン、縄、ベリー、バラの実、乾燥した葉や花を使いました。お店で買ったしめ飾りよりずっと素敵です。萩原さんはこのブログをいつも読んでくれています。ありがとうございます。

Fellow Shiho ceramic studio student Hagiwara-san organized a new year ornament or shimekazari workshop. It was so fun to work with beautiful, fresh materials, including several types of pine needles, pine cones and woody seed husks, Shinto folded paper, rice, ribbons and ropes, berries and rose hips, even dried chocolate cosmos and other leaves.

In past years I’ve bought them from Muji or even the supermarket. It was fun how all of the hand-made shimekazaris turned out differently. Some had circular and oval bases made of twigs and bamboo, others were tied together in a bunch. I used wires to attach the mini pine cones and even a yuzu.

Hagiwara-san is also a loyal Tokyo Green Space reader. Thank you!

Did anyone see Sky Tree lit up for the new year?

大みそかにスカイツリーは特別な照明をつけました。観れなくて残念だったけれど、マザちゃんという写真家のブログにこのきれいなイーメジが載りました。

am sorry I didn’t see Sky Tree lit up for one of the first times this new year’s eve. Fortunately, the fantastic photographer and blogger Muza Chan shared this lovely image.

Mini farm on concrete pad with plastic sacks

都市の中で食べ物を育てて、庭を持つことは無理だと思う人が多いです。東大の近くで、素晴らしいミニ農園を見つけました。コンクリートの受け台 の上です。植木鉢はビニール袋 で作られています。ところで、日本で夏にイチゴを買うことができません。ルバーブと一緒に煮たいなら、自分で育てなければなりません。

So many people think they can’t grow food or have a garden in the city. Near the University of Tokyo, I spotted this amazing mini-farm on a concrete pad. I love how they are using recycled and simple materials, like plastic sacks as container pots. It seems mostly cherry tomatoes, bitter melon, and shiso, with some incredible hand-made supports.

Speaking of growing your own, my mother in law was talking about cooking with rhubarb, and I naturally suggested strawberries. Apparently it is very difficult to find commercial strawberries in summer in Japan because it’s become known as a new year fruit. It seems like there’s an opportunity there for some local summer strawberries without the hothouses.

Welcome rabbit sumo wrestling for 2011

うさぎの相撲は楽しいかな。

Pink Tentacle has assembled a collection of historic new year’s cards (年賀状, nengajou) from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Seeing all these different rabbits featured in vibrant designs with national and cultural messages is a delight and inspiration. The one above is from 1927 1915 (via Twitter’s @hizaga). I wonder whether we’ll be seeing more rabbits this year in Tokyo: as food, companions, or wildlife?