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This lovely shiso plant is growing in a small crack in the sidewalk

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駅の途中にある小さな庭はいつの季節でも楽しいですが、そばの舗装の亀裂からシソが育っています。おいしそうです。

The four seasons micro garden I often pass on the way to the station has a new summer addition. Shiso is growing from a crack. Almost all the other plants are in pots, so I wonder if this was planted or just sprung up naturally. It looks delicious!

Kitchen, balcony, and city in one frame, plus new summer fig tree

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この視点から、台所やベランダや都市景色が枠のなかに見えます。前景には、今年の夏に買ったイチジクがあります。

This is the view from one end of our narrow balcony to the other, facing east towards Shinjuku. The twin towers are the Tokyo Metropolitan Government buildings, and to the right is the Park Hyatt hotel from the movie Lost in Translation. In the foreground is the fig tree, a new addition this summer.

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Tanuki visits famous Musashino Art University

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タヌキさんは有名な武蔵野美術大学を訪れましたが、新しくてすてきな図書館で勉強する大学生は彼を無視しています。

And all the students in the fancy new library ignore him.

Madam K hamburgers does not make room for new development

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東京には、新しい開発に譲らない小さな建物もあります。昭和時代のMadam K ハンバーガーのサインが残っています。

It’s fun to see the small Tokyo hold-outs that refuse to become integrated in new developments. Long live, Madam K hamburgers.

A tropical escape from Tokyo winter in Shinjuku Gyoen reflects park and clouds

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寒いときに、新宿御苑の新しい温室を勧めます。温室のなかで、熱帯の植物を楽しみながら、外の東京の風景を楽しめます。全部ガラス張りなので、外側に反射している風景もすてきです。

The best place to escape Tokyo’s winter is inside the new greenhouse in Shinjuku Gyoen. I love exploring all the tropical plants, and seeing the fall and winter park landscapes through the glass walls. From the outside, the building reflects the giant trees and clouds.

New greenhouse at Shinjuku Gyoen opens. A warm escape from winter.

新宿御苑に、新し温室が開けました。

An amazing, tropical place to spend a cold day. Yesterday, I enjoyed watching the park’s fall foliage through the enormous glass walls.

Another old house and garden surrounded by new construction in Shibuya

この渋谷で見つけた自宅と庭園も昭和時代の生き残りです。隣の建物の規模とはとても対照的です。

I like how this Showa house, with its manicured garden, has somehow survived in Shibuya. Near NHK headquarters. The difference in scale with its neighbors is striking.

Cranes loom over cemetery as new apartments replace old danchi above Myoenji temple and graveyard

背の高い建設用クレーンと限りなく続く墓石と卒塔婆がおたがいに対話をしています。妙円寺はきれい木が多いですが、新しいマンションはどんなランドスケープを計画する予定でしょうか。

Tokyo is always under construction. Yet it is uncanny to see the building cranes echoing the hundreds of grave stones and wooden memorials below. The site is the former Harajuku Danchi public housing, which is being replaced by luxury apartments, directly above from Myoenji temple and graveyard. The temple has some very lovely, old trees. I wonder what type of landscape the new building will offer its neighbors.

The end of the walkway is approaching

友だちに会うために、最近に辰巳に行きました。運河がきれいで、新しいマンションが建設されています。しかし、公共のインフラは不全なままです。改良して、水辺に近づけるほうがいいと思います。東京湾をもっと感じたいです。

I recently visited Tatsumi, a landfill island near Yumenoshima in in Koto-ku for a house party. There are lot of new housing developments alongside the canals and neighboring old housing complexes. It’s sad that the public infrastructure is so incomplete. This neighborhood would be much more appealing if the canal-side sidewalks and parks were continuous. This lack of access to the Bay makes me often forget that there is a Tokyo waterfront.

Hardy salvia

最近ベランダの植木鉢の土が弱くなっていると思っています。ところが、悪い状況なのに、サルビアはいつも大きくなって、咲いてくれるので、大好きです。ひょろっとしていて、根から新芽が出ます。たくましくて、美しい植物が好きです。

Recently I have been thinking that the soil in my balcony container garden must be getting depleted. That’s another reason I love my two salvia plants: continually growing, blooming, getting leggy, and sending out new growth from the roots. A flowering plant that loves sub-optimum conditions is a joy.

Lush second floor garden on Shin Koenji shopping street

高円寺ルックという商店街の、フランス風の家庭用品の店は二階に庭を作っています。植木鉢は長くて深いので、植物の種類は多いです。このきれいな庭は、すでにあるものをさらに良く見せています。この商店街は古いものと新しいものを組み合わせることに成功しています。

On my favorite Koenji shopping street called “Look,” a shop selling feminine French homewares just built a lush second floor garden. By attaching two long and deep planters, they have transformed this older building with new life. I love the variety of plants, and the way the garden adds onto what is already there.

The shop is called Malto and they are online, too.

7-Eleven quickly replaces light bulbs at local store

セブン・イレブンがすばやく電球を変えています。節電のために、LEDは大切です。百万人以上が新しい照明を見ることができるでしょう。この近所の店では、施工中なのに、店舗は営業しています。LEDのほうがきれいだと思いますか?

It’s very impressive how quickly 7-Eleven can install new lighting. LEDs are a huge shift in lighting, and this very prominent example will influence millions of consumers.

Many companies have agreed to large energy reductions, up to 20 and 25 percent. I noticed this van outside my local 7-Eleven yesterday. They changed the store’s lighting to LEDs without closing the business. Another store I passed yesterday in western Tokyo was also updated. I wonder how soon all the 7-Elevens will be using these very low energy lights.

I think the new strips of small lights produce a more pleasant light than the old fluorescent tubes. What do you think?

New leaves welcome new school year

東京の小学校で、ケヤキの若葉が新しい学期を祝っています。

The new leaves on this old zelkovia welcome a new school year at the elementary school in Nakano. In Japan, the school year, new hires, and the new fiscal year all start on April 1. Most schools have a cherry tree which is often in full bloom at school start. The zelkova leaf out in the following weeks. More subtle than cherry blossoms, new leaves are a lovely spring sight.

I’ve taken photos of the same tree in late winter last year.

More neighborhood cherry blossoms

うちの近所には、学校や駅や小さな路地に桜があります。子供たちも気がついています。東京ではシュロという椰子の木と一緒に桜が見れます。

Maybe you don’t associate cherry trees and palm trees. They are an odd pair, with this type of palm tree being a self-sower in Tokyo, and the cherries being selected from nurseries and carefully tended for decades.

By now, the cherry blossoms are ending. The petals pool up in a pink carpet, and new leafs shoot out from the dark branches. Once there’s more green than pink, this cherry mini-season is officially over.

Here are some photos of cherry blossoms seen walking and taking the train in my neighborhood. A dusty elementary school soccer field is bordered by shuro palm trees and cherry trees in full bloom. Waiting for the JR train, the platforms face into a canopy of mature trees. On a small street, fallen blossoms attract a child’s attention.