night

Tanuki night-time portrait, with Tokyo Olympic cloth featuring attractive African American athletes

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タヌキさんが大好きな青山団地で、夏の夜にピクニックをしました。アメリカの黒人選手が写っている1964年の東京オリンピックの布は、タヌキの袋でしたが、今はカメラのふろしきとして使っています。タヌキさんの奥さんが作ったオリジナルお面は今外国人の高校生が持っています。

My super-extroverted tanuki co-conspirator, Chris Berthelsen, has relocated to New Zealand. It was touching that at our last public outing his special feature consisted of a 1964 Tokyo Olympic cloth featuring African-American athletes. Although not clear from this poor photo, the setting is Aoyama Danchi, one of tanuki’s favorite urban wild spaces.

Thanks, Chris, for all the creativity and boundary hopping. I was also super happy to hear that the original tanuki mask, made by Chris’ wife, is now in the possession of a Dutch teen in Tokyo.

Giant machine cleans the streets near my house

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なぜか分からないけど、道路を掃除している巨大な車を見たら、ワクワクしてしまいます。

I’m not sure why, but I feel excited watching this giant machine in action at night.

Sidewalk sunflowers bloom in busy Shinjuku commercial corridor

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新宿は、人工の照明ばかりなのに、この歩道のヒマワリが明るく見えます。区が植えたようではないです。誰がいつ植えたのでしょう。

I love these rogue sunflowers growing in the sidewalk of Shinjuku Dori, a busy commercial corridor. At night the flowers are brighter than all the artificial lights.

Tamabi campus at night

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有名な多摩美のキャンパスを訪れました。夜の芝生はとてもきれいです。

 

有名な多摩美のキャンパスに訪れました。夜の芝生はとてもきれいです。

Attending a guest lecture by permaculture designer Cecilia Macaulay gave me a great chance to see one campus of the famous Tamabi art school. This was taken in November so perhaps the lawn and trees no longer so lush.

Sky Tree at night, with willow tree in foreground

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浅草から、柳とスカイツリーが一緒に見えます。

Viewed from Asakusa, not only is Sky Tree bigger, but you can see more details of the lighting scheme.  From Nakano, you hardly notice the blue light, and the more subtle red trim. I also like how the willow references Tokyo’s Edo past, and Sky Tree, although newly built, appears to be a 1960s’ vision of the future.

Tanuki heats up ginkgo nuts and serves hot coffee next to the Yamanote line

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ホランダから来たビジターに、タヌキさんはエスプレッソコーヒーとホットギンナンでもてなしています。

Tanuki offers visitors from the Netherlands warm gingko nuts and hot espresso on a cold night in Yoyogi.

This small ship that goes to Tokyo city’s outer islands, including Oshima and Ogasawara

さるびあ丸という船は、東京の浜松町から小笠原島に行きます。25時間もかかる旅行ですが、行きたいです。

I like this night view of the Salvia Maru (さるびあ丸) ship that goes from Tokyo to the distant islands administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, including Oshima off the Izu peninsula and Ogaswara, which is a 25 hour trip by boat with no airplane service. This boat looks kind of small for traveling in the Pacific Ocean, doesn’t it? At the Hamamatsucho pier.

Flood gate on Shibaura canal near Hinode

逆さまの魚の絵が水門を飾っています。日の出の芝浦運河で。

By day, Tokyo’s waterfront is often underwhelming visually: a mix of port shipping, older buildings that routinely turned their backs to what used to be polluted water, and new luxury high rises. By night, the water sparkles, and the city is far more seductive.

I love how this flood gate on the Shibaura canal has a giant cartoon fish. When the gate is lowered, the painted fish descends to join the real fish in the canal. I wonder why his heading is facing up. Maybe he doesn’t want to leave the city’s bright lights just yet.

Dramatic view down Ome Kaido towards Nakano Sakaue

江戸時代に作られた青梅街道は、とてもモダンになりました。背が高いビルがある中野坂上です。

I love the dramatic clouds, and how Nakano Sakaue beams with light and activity. The building in the southwest corner of the main intersection has an awesome, transparent erector-set spine in the middle of two office columns.

Ome Kaido is one of west Tokyo’s oldest and longest streets. In its current incarnation, it is six auto lanes wide and the fastest route between Shinjuku and Ogikubo. Underneath is the Marunouchi Metro line.

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.

Lotus flowers growing in buckets at Araiyakushi temple in Nakano

バケツの中で育っている蓮は新井薬師神社にあります。夏の風が吹いて人が少ないとき、ここは静かです。

These lotus flowers look so perfect at night I had to check that they were real. It was charming to see them blowing in the warm summer wind in front of the main temple at Araiyakushi in Nakano. I was even more surprised to realize that this mini-field was growing in a dozen over-sized buckets. Below you can see the entrance to the temple from the street, with lanterns and gates.

Tokyo Station unwrapped and glowing at night

足場が取れて、きれいな東京駅が見えます。まだ入口と広場は工事中です。

The scaffolding has come down from the gorgeous red brick Tokyo Station after years of renovation. Still to come are the re-done entries and front plaza.